How to Choose the Best Rocky Mountaineer Route for Your Vacation

A breakdown of all three Rocky Mountaineer routes to the Canadian Rockies. 

Get swept away by the allure of the Rockies and embark on an unforgettable train journey with the Rocky Mountaineer. Dive into this guide filled with compelling details on the varied and magnificent routes available. In this article, you will:

  • Get an introduction to the routes: Banff, Jasper, Lake Louise, and Whistler
  • Understand departure information including timings and operating months
  • Discover highlights and landscapes unique to each route


Rocky Mountaineer itineraries offer great flexibility to suit your travel plans. Start your rail journey from Vancouver or opt for the land-based adventures first by flying into Calgary. Each itinerary is reversible, allowing you to tailor your trip to your arrival city and preferences.

Map of Rocky Mountaineer 2-day train from Vancouver and Banff

Vancouver To Banff/Lake Louise

The Rocky Mountaineer’s revered First Passage to the West connects the cosmopolitan vibrancy of Vancouver to the quaint alpine charm of Banff and Lake Louise. As you traverse this historic track, once forged by the intrepid of the Canadian Pacific Railway, you’re afforded a front-row seat to nature’s grandeur — a continuous cascade of craggy mountain cliffs, crystalline waters, and stretches of emerald forest. This route is steeped in history, not just for its pivotal role in the nation’s past but also for bringing to life the rugged beauty that defines the Canadian Rockies.

Map of 2-day Rocky Mountaineer train trip from Vancouver to Jasper

Vancouver to Jasper

On the Journey Through the Clouds route, the train embarks from Vancouver and makes its way to Jasper, a jewel amidst the sprawling wilderness. This route is a visual feast, where every turn brings a new, awe-inspiring tableau: the thundering waters of Pyramid Falls, the soaring heights of Mount Robson, and the serene beauty of Moose Lake. It’s an invitation to witness the untamed heart of the Rockies, where nature unfolds in an array of spectacular vistas, and the horizon stretches into infinity.

Jasper to Vancouver 3 day train, with stops in Whistler and Quesnel.

Vancouver, Whistler, Jasper

The Rainforest to Gold Rush route offers a unique twist to the classic Rockies exploration, diverging from the “Journey Through the Clouds” with its additional stops in Whistler and Quesnel. These detours add a layer of diversity, inviting travelers to experience the vibrancy of a world-renowned resort town and the rustic charm of a historic Gold Rush hub, enriching the journey with distinct cultural and natural landscapes that are not encountered on the Jasper-focused route.

Departure Times

Vancouver To Banff

Day 1Leave Vancouver: 8 amArrive Kamloops: 6 pm – 7:30 pm
Day 2Leave Kamloops: 6:45 amArrive Banff: 7:30 – 9:30 pm

Vancouver To Lake Louise

Day 1Leave Vancouver: 8 amArrive Kamloops: 6 pm – 7:30 pm
Day 2Leave Kamloops: 6:45 amArrive Lake Louise: 6:30 – 8:30 pm

Vancouver To Jasper

Day 1Leave Vancouver: 8 amArrive Kamloops: 6 pm – 7:30 pm
Day 2Leave Kamloops: 6:45 amArrive Jasper: 7:30 – 9 pm

Vancouver, Whistler, Jasper

Day 1Leave Vancouver: 8 amArrive Whistler: 11:30 am – 12:30pm
Day 2Leave Whistler: 7:45 amArrive Quesnel: 7 – 8 pm
Day 3Leave Quesnel: 7:00 amArrive Jasper: 9 – 10 pm

Go Further Into the Rockies

If you’re seeking a more immersive exploration of the Rockies, consider complementing your Rocky Mountaineer train journey with a luxury bus tour. While the train offers a majestic passage to and from the Rockies, it doesn’t venture deep within the mountain terrain. A guided bus tour fills this gap, allowing you to delve into the heart of the Rockies with stops at iconic locations like Lake Louise, Moraine Lake, and Johnston Canyon. This combination promises a comprehensive and luxurious Rockies adventure, ensuring you don’t miss any of its natural wonders.