It’s time for a new season of Rocky Mountaineer—the luxury train that lets you experience the Canadian Rockies to see some of the world’s most spectacular vistas. I have been fortunate to make two journeys onboard Rocky Mountaineer. Once, from Vancouver to Banff on First Passage to the West and a second time from Vancouver to Jasper on the Journey through the Clouds. Both of my journeys, as a guest of Rocky Mountaineer, were with GoldLeaf Service in the beautiful glass-domed coaches. Come along for a few of my favorite moments from Rocky Mountaineer for a trip of a lifetime in the Canadian Rockies.

Early Morning Vistas Near Vancouver

On both of my trips, I enjoyed the early morning departure out of Vancouver. My trip in 2015 was bright and sunny and the day was filled with sunshine.

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First Passage to the West gets underway out of Vancouver. Photo by Susan Lanier-Graham

For my second trip in 2017, we departed Vancouver in the midst of rain. That didn’t dampen our spirits. Our onboard hosts were cheerful and I found the scenery to be some of my favorite memories.

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The Scenery Outside Vancouver on a Rainy Day. Photo by Susan Lanier-Graham

Gourmet Food and Drink on Rocky Mountaineer

Some of my favorite moments from Rocky Mountaineer are the meals. In GoldLeaf Service, we make our way downstairs for breakfast, where we dine on linen tablecloths as the landscape goes slowly past. Breakfast always starts with a little bite and breads and gives everyone a chance to settle in and you can smell breakfast cooking.

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Breakfast is served in the dining room for GoldLeaf Service. Photo by Susan Lanier-Graham

One of my favorite breakfasts on the train is eggs Benedict. For some reason, it tastes better on Rocky Mountaineer than anywhere else. I’m sure it has to do with the scenery—and the mastery of Chef Jean Pierre Guerin and Chef Frédéric Couton.

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My favorite breakfast on Rocky Mountaineer is eggs Benedict. Photo by Susan Lanier-Graham

The multi-course meal is repeated again for lunch when you return to the dining car for a 3-course culinary feast featuring locally sourced ingredients. During my journeys, I’ve enjoyed salmon, Alberta pork tenderloin, and delicious local vegetables.

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Food is always a highlight onboard Rocky Mountaineer. Photo by Susan Lanier-Graham

Of course, there’s no worry about going hungry or thirsty in between meals. During the ride in the GoldLeaf dome, the hosts serve plenty of treats and keep the drinks flowing. I enjoyed toasting the scenery as it rolled past. One of my fellow travelers, Zippy Sandler, chronicled how Rocky Mountaineer fed her foodie soul as well on Champagne Living.

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Toasting the passing scenery in the glass-domed GoldLeaf coach on Rocky Mountaineer. Photo by Susan Lanier-Graham

Watching Magnificent Scenery from the Outdoor Viewing Platform

One of the best places to catch the views onboard Rocky Mountaineer is the outdoor viewing platform on the GoldLeaf domes. While the seats inside are amazingly comfortable (they’re even heated) and the large windows provide sweeping views of the landscape, there’s something special about getting outside and having the wind blow through your hair as the train moves through the Canadian Rockies.

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Vestibule on the GoldLeaf coach. Photo courtesy Rocky Mountaineer

The hosts give ongoing stories and accounts of the scenery, so they let you know in advance when something particularly amazing is coming up. This gives you a chance to move outside to get that great photo.

I saw some of Western Canada’s great landmarks from that outdoor viewing platform. Going into Banff National Park was a huge wow moment for me.

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Banff National Park. Photo by Susan Lanier-Graham

I loved the landscape as we were at the Spiral Tunnels on the First Passage to the West, with spectacular mountain vistas.

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Spiral Tunnels on the First Passage to the West. Photo by Susan Lanier-Graham

The mountain vistas on Journey through the Clouds, which goes past Pyramid Falls and the majestic Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, is definitely a highlight and photo-worthy.

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There are many photo-worthy moments onboard Rocky Mountaineer. Photo by Susan Lanier-Graham

Spotting Wildlife

One of the highlights on the train is looking for wildlife. I had the opportunity during my first journey to see a mother bear and her cubs. It’s always a fun hunt looking for the bears. While I didn’t see any on the trip in 2017, there are still plenty of other critters to see along the way.

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Looking for bear is a favorite past time onboard Rocky Mountaineer. Photo courtesy Rocky Mountaineer

You can keep your eyes open for mountain goats, eagles flying overhead, deer, elk, an assortment of birds and even a bunny or two hopping near the train. The hosts are great about pointing out the wildlife.

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I saw deer and elk on my trips with Rocky Mountaineer. Photo courtesy Rocky Mountaineer

There are so many favorite moments to remember on Rocky Mountaineer. It truly is a travel experience of a lifetime. I am lucky to hold these memories close to my heart. People talk about the two days they spend on the train as life-changing moments. It takes them through some of nature’s most awe-inspiring scenery with a staff that is there to make certain everything is to their liking. I had so many amazing wow moments—be sure to read about even more of them here—and you can start making your own memories on Rocky Mountaineer by checking out all of the great journeys available.

For more on what to see in Vancouver, before boarding Rocky Mountaineer, check out these articles on Wander. Find more about Rocky Mountaineer on Wander here.


Note: As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with travel, accommodations, and meals for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.

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