Rocky Mountaineer Trip Planning Checklist

Rocky mountaineer trip planning

So you’ve fallen in love with Rocky Mountaineer and want to take an amazing glass-domed train through the Canadian Rockies? It can be overwhelming to know where to start, so I’ve written a checklist to help you in your Rocky Mountaineer trip planning process! Sign up below to receive these tips as a beautiful PDF.

One of the most stunning locations in North America, the Canadian Rockies are home to five national parks and are considered a UNESCO heritage site. Rocky Mountaineer is a luxury train company that organizes tours and train trips along the 1885 Canada Pacific Highway tracks. Rocky Mountaineer’s custom-designed, all-dome fleet ensures unparalleled views of Western Canada’s spectacular scenery through areas unreachable by cars or other tour operators.

Read on my step-by-step guidelines to make your Rocky Mountaineer trip easier to plan – scroll to read the article, or use the form below to receive it to read later!

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Rocky Mountaineer Trip Planning step 1: Decide when you would like to travel 

Spring (April, May)


• Lakes, streams, and waterfalls swell, and snow dusts the mountains. 

• Bears lumber out of hibernation and birds begin nesting. 

• The crowds of summer tourists have yet to arrive

Summer  (June, July, August)


• Warm weather urges vegetation to flourish, and the days grow longer. 

• Baby animals emerge under their parents’ watchful eyes. 

• The rainforest is at its most lush and the arid desert canyons display an especially rugged beauty.

Fall (September, October) 


• The forests create a vibrant display of red, orange, and gold, mixed with evergreen. 

• Snow dusts the mountain peaks. 

• Animals forage through the wilderness to prepare for the coming winter. 

• The crowds of summer tourists wane in October

Step 2: Choose a route on the Rocky Montaineer

  • First Passage to the West (Vancouver to Banff or Lake Louise)
  • Journey Through the Clouds (Vancouver to Jasper)
  • Rainforest to Goldrush (Vancouver to Jasper via Whistler)
  • Circle Journeys – combine two rail routes to return to your original point of origin. 

Step 3: Choose a service level 



  • Single-level glass-dome coach 
  • Breakfast and lunch served in the comfort of your seat 
  • Two Hosts and culinary team member Outdoor viewing area
  • Hotels:   Accommodation is in a standard room at a comfortable hotel, with restaurants on-site or just a short stroll away.


  • Bi-level glass-dome coach 
  • Exclusive dining room 
  • Gourmet à la carte meals 
  • Large outdoor viewing platform 
  • Four Hosts and full culinary team
  • Hotels: Accommodation is in a premium hotel, with restaurants and other amenities on the premises.

*Note: Goldleaf hotels can be selected if you are traveling Silverleaf on the train, and vice versa. 

Step 4: Decide how you want to explore the rest of the Rockies once you disembark the train. 

  • Trains embark/disembark from Banff, Lake Louise, or Jasper.  From there you’ll hopefully spend a few days exploring the incredible Rockies before heading to the international airport!  Escorted transfers, tours, and self-drive packages are available to move between locations.  You can mix and match, for instance you can choose to take small group tours as a day-trip even if you chose self-drive, and any important attractions such as admission tickets to the Banff Gondola, a ride on the Ice Explorer at the Athabasca Icefields, or a cruise on Lake Maligne can be included ahead of time. 

Step 5: Choose the length of your vacation 

  • While an itinerary can be designed for as few as 5 nights, how much free time you have will be determined by the length of vacation you’re interested in.  Rocky Mountaineer has both “Short Journeys” and longer “Highlights” packages available. 


Step 6: Decide whether to depart from Vancouver or Calgary. 

  • All Rocky Mountaineer itineraries can be reversed – you can choose to do train first or train last.   If you fly into Calgary, you will do the “non train” portion first.  If you fly into Vancouver, you will do the train first. 

Step 7: Choose any add-ons if desired. 

  • Additional sightseeing in Vancouver including visiting Viictoria on Vancouver Island 
  • Wildlife Discovery Tours 
  • Meal plans and/or breakfast included available to add to hotel packages 
  • Sonora Resort pre- or post-stays with included flight transfers
  • And more! 

Step 8: Pack and depart! 

Work with your travel advisor to get packing lists and other important pre-departure information, then relax and enjoy your amazing vacation!

Ready to start the Rocky Mountaineer Trip Planning process?

I work with travelers from all over the USA to design and customize their luxury train vacation with Rocky Mountaineer. By asking a few simple questions, I cut down on the information overload and offer you my years of expertise to produce the perfect itinerary for your needs and make sure you are receiving the best value for your vacation. If you haven’t read it yet, you can access my article on “Why I Love Planning Rocky Mountaineer” here!

Rocky Mountaineer Trip Planning Lake Louise
Photos courtesy of Rocky Mountaineer

Free PDF: 8 page Rocky Mountaineer 
Planning Tips! 

Sign up with your email address below to receive your free Rocky Mountaineer checklist as well as insider tips on planning your itinerary.

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