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Vancouver to Banff train vacation

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Santa Barbara...
posts: 16
reviews: 73
Vancouver to Banff train vacation

The price of the Rocky Mountaineer trip from Vancouver to Banff (Lake Louise), with the premium Gold Leaf Service and the Deluxe Hotel add-on comes to $4,881 per person for July, 2013. Is it worth that much, considering it does not include dinners, taxes or airfare?

Are there any Air/Train package deals available?

Also, it sounds kind of sedentary. How many hours of sitting on the train is there each day? The tour includes only one day in Lake Louise. Is that enough? It also includes two days in Banff. Is there enough to do to keep you busy?

Another choice is to fly into Calgary, round trip, then rent a car and stay in Lake Louise for around a week. What are some Lake Louise activities?

Destination Expert
for Seattle
posts: 14,827
reviews: 83
1. Re: Vancouver to Banff train vacation

I'm in the tour business and the RM is a nice train ride however as a 'tour' its dismal. They don't do much once you get off the train and your put on a series of day trips run by Brewsters that you could book yourself. If you want a tour then look at

Insitevacations run by Trafalgar for top end, or any of the major tour operators. Many don't do the RM anymore due to cost. The Jasper route is 8 hrs first day and about the same on the second. Banff run is 8 hrs the first and maybe 10 the second day.

I think many people enjoy the train but the real beauty is after you get there. Rent a car to really see the rockies. The train merely gets you there in a relaxed manner.

Banff, Canada
Destination Expert
for Banff, Banff National Park
posts: 4,407
reviews: 71
2. Re: Vancouver to Banff train vacation

For activities once you're based in Lake Louise, try the "must-sees" question in the Top Questions about Banff (top right of your computer screen). That will help you get your planning started. Also, try googling "Lake Louise activities summer" to come up with helpful web pages. As well, try going to the Lake Louise page of TripAdvisor and clicking on "Things to Do" (in green on the left side of your screen).

Edited: 5:09 pm, December 28, 2012
Lismore, Australia
posts: 198
reviews: 96
3. Re: Vancouver to Banff train vacation

Is there a cheaper way to do the train trip? And s there sleeper accommodation on the train?

Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Calgary, TripAdvisor Support
posts: 23,147
reviews: 66
4. Re: Vancouver to Banff train vacation

There are only two passenger train services through the Rockies: VIA Rail has sleepers, and is less expensive than the luxury Rocky Mountaineer; and the pricier Rocky Mountaineer, which stops for the night and you will stay in a hotel.

The Mountaineer offers Gold Leaf, Silver Leaf, and Red Leaf levels, with the Red Leaf being the least expensive.

Lismore, Australia
posts: 198
reviews: 96
5. Re: Vancouver to Banff train vacation

Thank you. All we seem to get advertised here in Australia is Gold Leaf on the Rocky Mountaineer.

Greater Sydney...
posts: 8,643
reviews: 32
6. Re: Vancouver to Banff train vacation

G'day again Ozziegiraffe,

I am one who is not in favour of the RM as I believe that it is well overpriced for what you get. A seven day Alaska cruise can cost about the same as two days on the RM. As you say, it is very heavily promoted here in Oz. Having said that my neighbour took the RM and enjoyed it, but we saw lots more, and stopped where WE wanted to, travelling by road.

Foodies, I would definitely recommend flying into Calgary, but I think that more than just a few days at LL would waste time which could be better spent, at less cost, with greater variety of things to do and see if you would spread some of your week between Banff (about 45 mins from LL) and Jasper. You have to appreciate that LL could not even be classed as a village. If is just a few spread out hotels and establishments with a tiny little shopping centre. Everything there is very pricey.

Edited: 12:51 am, December 29, 2012
Jasper, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
posts: 12,264
reviews: 85
7. Re: Vancouver to Banff train vacation

If you enjoy outdoor activities, you will find lots and lots to do in the Canadian Rocky Mountain national parks. Besides being a hiking mecca, you can go horseback or mountain bike riding, whitewater rafting, kayaking or canoeing, climbing etc. etc. Check out the national park websites for more information: www.pc.gc.ca/jasper and www.pc.gc.ca/banff and www.pc.gc.ca/yoho

Also, if you head up a couple of levels "up" to the Canadian Rockies forum, check out the collection of trip reports that is linked in the right side "Top Questions" section... you will get lots of info there. I'm sure there must be some reports there that include the Rocky Mountaineer, but these forums are definitely slanted a bit more to the independent traveller and self-drive options.

Echuca, Australia
posts: 41
reviews: 4
8. Re: Vancouver to Banff train vacation

I absolutely agree with Frommy. When I took the RM in early June 2009 I felt the journey was very overpriced. I have just gone over my photos: Kamloops, where we overnighted at a motel, divides the region's geology like a scythe - day one (which the glossies never show) is largely all arid-dry and fawn and brown and to many, boring, with bare, rocky terrain, not the mountains that I imagined. The only real relief was the mighty Fraser river , a wonderful sight ribboning its way below, and sometimes at your side.

By contrast Day two is more like it. The terrain slowly becomes more interesting, bigger and more impressive with spruce and firs ? covering the slopes. Nearing Banff the mountains are steep and spectacular. That said its a long long two-day trip, interesting enough but certainly not worth the cost.

BTW IMO I fail to see how glass above your head in the Gold Leaf carriages could improve the experience. After all it is SKY and only sky above your head! To my way of thinking it's illusory.

9. Re: Vancouver to Banff train vacation

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Calgary, Canada
Destination Expert
for Calgary, TripAdvisor Support
posts: 23,147
reviews: 66
10. Re: Vancouver to Banff train vacation

Rocky Mountaineer only runs in the summer months. VIA Rail runs year-round, but their route through the Rockies is only via Jasper, not Banff.