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Riding the rails to the RockiesThanks to the railroad barons and visionaries whose dreams and hard work opened up Canada’s Rocky Mountain wilderness to travelers of all ages and interests, some of North America’s most spectacular landscapes provide the setting for this awe-inspiring trip. Prepare to be dazzled from the moment you touch down in Vancouver, blessed with a snowcapped mountain backdrop, a crystal blue harbor and cultural gems equally wondrous. Take the time for tea and a garden stroll in Victoria, both gentrifying and fortifying, and flightsee over islands brimming with old-growth forest reserves, marine reserves and wildlife. Then it’s all aboard a private rail car on VIA Rail - modernized from the days of the first trains into Canada’s pristine national parks but no less exciting - to baronial resorts and lodges that entice with scenic beauty.
Day 1: Arrive Vancouver
Tour begins: The Fairmont Waterfront at 6:00 PM. A transfer is included upon arrival from the Vancouver Airport to The Fairmont Waterfront, ideally located in the heart of the city. One of the most beautifully sited cities in North America, cosmopolitan Vancouver dazzles with scenic views of the Pacific Ocean, majestic mountains and a glittering skyline. We invite you to join us tonight for a welcome reception followed by dinner.
Day 2: Vancouver highlights and a ferry to Victoria
Chosen as the host of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games and steeped in charm, Vancouver is home to a vibrant cultural scene, rich history and abundant natural resources. View historic Chinatown, and trail-laced Stanley Park, on a guided city sightseeing excursion. Enjoy lunch on your own on Granville Island, then board a ferry for a cruise across the Strait of Georgia to Vancouver Island and Victoria, the capital of British Columbia. Stay two nights at the Hotel Grand Pacific, where your balconied, Grand Harbor View room overlooks Victoria’s waterfront.
Meals: B, D
Day 3: A day in Victoria featuring The Butchart Gardens
Throughout your stay in Victoria, you’ll discover more than a bit of British influence in its double-decker buses, horse-drawn carriages and formal gardens, all surrounded by the rustic beauty of the Pacific coast. You’ll find floral beauty in exceptional form at The Butchart Gardens, begun over a century ago. During your visit this morning, explore what has grown to encompass 55 magnificent acres of flowers and show gardens, including the Japanese, Italian and Rose gardens. The rest of the day is free to explore one of the oldest cities in the Pacific Northwest; downtown restaurants and shops and the attractions of Fisherman’s Wharf are within walking distance.
Day 4: Visit the Royal BC Museum, afternoon tea, flightseeing & all aboard "The Canadian"
Your morning is free to spend as you wish; admission tickets to the Royal BC Museum are included. Meet us this afternoon for a beloved English ritual that has become one of Victoria’s grandest traditions - partaking in Afternoon Tea in the restored Tea Lobby of The Fairmont Empress. Next up are scenic views of the Gulf Islands on a floatplane trip to Vancouver, followed by time on your own to explore historic Gastown. Later this evening, a champagne send-off signals that it’s “all aboard” VIA Rail’s The Canadian for an overnight rail excursion to the awe-inspiring national parks of the Canadian Rockies. Sleep on board the train tonight - you will be nothing less than stunned by the spectacular alpine scenery that dawn reveals!
Day 5: To Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies by rail
Sporting sleek new interiors blending modern elements with echoes of classic 1950s styling, "The Canadian" winds its way through a vast wilderness once only accessible by rail - you’ll enjoy the show from the comfort of a private domed observation car - reserved for Tauck guests only! Cross the Continental Divide into Alberta, arriving for a two-night stay at The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge on the shores of Lac Beauvert.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 6: A day as you please in Jasper National Park
Spend an entire day as you please. There are many optional activities available at your wilderness lodge, including trail riding, tennis, golf, hiking, and swimming, that enable you to truly indulge in the natural wonders that surround you; additional charges may apply. Attend a presentation by a Parks Canada official before dinner at your choice of The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge’s restaurants.
Meals: B, D
Day 7: Icefields Parkway, Athabasca Glacier and on to Lake Louise
The Icefields Parkway, linking Jasper and Lake Louise, is one of North America’s most spectacular drives. Travel the road as it winds between snow-domed peaks and immense hanging glaciers; you may see elk, deer, bighorn sheep or bears. A specially designed Ice Explorer takes you for a ride on the Athabasca Glacier, part of the Columbia Icefield. One of the largest ice masses outside of the Arctic Circle, its meltwaters flow into the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic oceans. Your destination today is The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, in the heart of Banff National Park, where you’ll stay in a lake-view room.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 8: Moraine Lake, Yoho National Park & on to Banff National Park
Journey via the Bow River Valley to Moraine Lake, and have lunch at the Post Hotel. Head through Kicking Horse Pass into Yoho National Park to see the Natural Bridge, the remarkable Spiral Tunnels and the Continental Divide, continuing to The Fairmont Banff Springs. In the early 1880s, the accidental discovery of the Cave and Basin Hot Springs by Canadian Pacific Railway workers led to the establishment of Banff National Park, the first in Canada’s history. Styled after a Scottish baronial castle, The Fairmont Banff Springs was built in 1888 as Canadian Pacific Railway opened tourism to the Rocky Mountains.
Meals: B, L, D
Day 9: Bow River float trip and a day of resort leisure
Start the day with a raft trip along the Bow River, the perfect prelude for a day spent as you wish in one of the world’s major recreation destinations. Your resort offers many amenities and optional activities from golf and horseback riding to guided hikes along miles of nature trails (additional charges may apply) - or explore the resort town of Banff. Tauck includes a Heritage Passport that offers admission to three museums including the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, interpreting the art, culture, human and natural history of the region, as well as to the Banff Park Museum National Historic Site of Canada. Please join us this evening for a farewell dinner.
Meals: B, D
Day 10: Journey home
Tauck travels from western Canada through the Canadian Rockies with a trip back to Calgary this morning (approximately 80 miles) for your journey home. Tour ends: Calgary Airport, Alberta at 10:00 AM. Direct flights to the United States will clear U.S. customs in Calgary. Tauck can arrange additional nights at The Westin Calgary for guests wishing to extend their stay in Calgary; an airport transfer is included for these bookings. Allow a minimum of three hours for flight check-in.
Flightsee over the Gulf Islands, enjoy 2 day rail journey in Tauck's private domed car to the Canadian Rockies, spend 5 nights at resorts in Canadian Rocky Mountain national parks, ride on the Athabasca Glacier
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