The Rocky Mountain Mountaineer: Vancouver to Jasper, Canada

Oct 1, 2005
Outside Magazine

CHUG IT: Jasper-bound on the Rocky Mountaineer

Miles: 532
Rolling out among Canada's wilds is the reason to ride the Rocky Mountaineer. For two full days the train's glass-domed GoldLeaf coaches give a front-row seat to British Columbia's hyperdynamic landscape. First, heavy stands of rainforest yield to rolling pastures. At the intersection of the Fraser and Thompson rivers, the geography shifts from verdant to arid: striking sulfur- and iron-striped cliffs, bald eagles in ponderosa pines, and ospreys roosting on enormous nests atop old telephone poles. From Kamloops, day two gains elevation through the 11 glacier-topped mountains of the Premier Range, and suddenly 12,972-foot Mount Robson, the Canadian Rockies' highest peak, is in full view. The ultimate high: crossing the Continental Divide at 3,711-foot Yellowhead Pass into Alberta's jagged Jasper National Park. Overnights in Kamloops and Jasper give you the chance to mountain-bike hoodoos, trek across the Athabasca Glacier, and raft Class III rapids. Next summer, Rocky Mountaineer Vacations launches a new two-day, 642-mile Fraser Discovery route from Whistler through Quesnel to Jasper.

» CANADA: Rocky Mountaineer (800-665-7245, runs two-day trips between Vancouver and Jasper, from US$869 per person, double occupancy, which includes all meals and overnight accommodations in Kamloops.

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