The Canadian Rockies—a land of majestic mountain scenery, fascinating wildlife, sparkling glaciers, crystal-clear lakes, and interesting towns. If you want to see breathtaking scenery and jagged mountain peaks, this tour is for you. Spend time in Vancouver, Victoria, Sun Peaks, Whistler, Jasper National Park, and Banff National Park. A tour highlight is a train ride on the Rocky Mountaineer, where you’ll travel over the Continental Divide, recline in your seat, and watch out the picture windows as you travel through stunning scenery.Another tour highlight is the Ice Explorer ride on the 1,000-foot-thick Columbia Icefield. It is one of the few places where you’ll go right up to an icefield. You’ll also enjoy unsurpassed scenery on the drive between Jasper National Park and Banff National Park. As you parallel the Great Divide, keep an eye out for alpine meadows, waterfalls, massive glaciers, and wildlife, including big horn sheep and elk.You’ll have leisure time in the towns to explore on your own or to participate in optional activities. Sample the cuisine offered in the towns, take a scenic walk, relax, and enjoy peace and quiet while surrounded by dramatic scenery. Words and photos cannot adequately capture the beauty of this area. You must witness it in person, and this tour offers the opportunity to sit back and take it all in while Globus handles all the details.
Day #1 Arrive in Vancouver, BC. Welcome to Vancouver, your gateway to the Canadian Rockies! At 6 pm, meet your traveling companions for a welcome drink. Your Tour Director will prepare you for your upcoming adventure.
Day #2 Vancouver–Victoria. This morning, tour Vancouver, including the waterfront, Chinatown, and Stanley Park with its old-growth evergreen forests and totem poles. Catch the FERRY over to Vancouver Island and Victoria. On your way to Victoria, stop at [LF] SEA CIDER FARM for an exclusive tour of the orchards and ciderhouse followed by some cider tasting. Major attractions on your orientation tour include the gardens of Beacon Hill Park, the Fairmont Empress Hotel, Bastion Square, and Thunderbird Park. (B)
Day #3 Victoria. This morning is free to explore on your own; your Tour Director suggests an optional marine wildlife and whale-watching trip. For shoppers, Government Street’s elegant shops and Market Square’s collection of specialty stores are good places to start. History buffs should be sure to visit the Royal British Columbia Museum. Next, visit world-famous [LF] BUTCHART GARDENS followed by a special dinner in the original Butchart family residence. (B,D)
Day #4 Victoria–Whistler. Today, board a BC FERRY and sail across the Strait of Georgia and through the spectacular Gulf Islands, an archipelago known for its Mediterranean-type climate. Continue to the alpine resort of Whistler, nestled at the base of breathtaking Blackcomb Mountain. Time today to explore many of the 2010 Winter Olympics’ sites. (B)
Day #5 Whistler–Sun Peaks. This morning, enjoy a visit and private breakfast at the [LF] SQUAMISH LIL’ WAT CULTURAL CENTER, dedicated to the history and culture of the First Nations People of Canada. Journey north today through the heart of the magnificent Cariboo region. Spectacular scenery abounds as you pass by rolling hills, deeply incised rivers, and sparkling lakes. Afternoon arrival in Sun Peaks with the balance of the day at leisure. You may take advantage of an optional canoe trip on Lake McGillivray, where, surrounded by beautiful scenery, you learn about Canada’s fur trade. (B)NOTE:Operation of the canoe trip is subject to favorable weather conditions.
Day #6 Sun Peaks–Mount Robson–Jasper. Continue north, following the Yellowhead Highway and hugging the mighty North Thompson River, into the province of Alberta. See the base of 12,972-foot Mount Robson (the highest point in the Canadian Rockies) before entering JASPER NATIONAL PARK. Marvel at the precipitous gorges, snowcapped summits, and lakes of exquisite blues and greens in this wild mountain wilderness. (B,D)
Day #7 Jasper. Enjoy a sightseeing tour to see Jasper’s unspoiled beauty. Afterward, travel to glacial Maligne Lake for a narrated CRUISE to Spirit Island. On the return journey, stop to view Maligne Canyon. Balance of the day is at leisure to explore Jasper on your own or to perhaps take an optional float trip down the historic Athabasca River, where your experienced guide will navigate as you absorb the splendor of Jasper National Park. (B)
Day #8 Jasper–Columbia Icefield–Lake Louise–Banff. This morning, travel through Jasper National Park on Icefields Parkway to the 1,000-foot-thick Columbia Icefield for a thrilling ICE EXPLORER RIDE. Climb Sunwapta Pass to savor stunning vistas of alpine meadows, waterfalls, and massive glaciers, then scale Bow Pass with splendid views of Peyto Lake. Next, stop at Lake Louise, whose green-blue waters form a perfect mirror reflection of Mount Victoria. Continue into BANFF NATIONAL PARK. (B)
Day #9 Banff. Sightseeing includes a visit to Sulphur Mountain for a ride on the BANFF GONDOLA, complete with panoramic views of Banff’s spectacular scenery. Also visit Bow Falls and the hoodoos. The balance of the day is at leisure. Consider an optional float trip excursion on the Bow River or a helicopter flightseeing trip for a bird’s-eye view of the Rockies. This evening, join your Tour Director for a farewell dinner. (B,D)
Day #10 Banff–Rocky Mountaineer–Kamloops. This morning, board the ROCKY MOUNTAINEER and travel over the Continental Divide and along the Kicking Horse River. We travel westward to Shushwap Lake with its thousand miles of shoreline and then overnight in Kamloops. Tonight, enjoy free time in Kamloops. (B,L)NOTE:Kamloops properties are considered moderate 2- or 3-star hotels or motor inns. The city does not offer any hotels in the superior category. Your chosen hotel is determined by Rocky Mountaineer Railtours; however, you can rest assured that it satisfies our high standards of cleanliness and comfort. For your convenience, baggage that will not be needed during the train journey will be checked through to Vancouver. Checked luggage will not be accessible during the journey. Plan to pack an overnight bag with necessities for the train portion of the tour, including medications, eyeglasses, and other important items (SilverLeaf and GoldLeaf passengers will have their luggage delivered to their Kamloops hotel).
Day #11 Kamloops–Rocky Mountaineer–Vancouver. Back aboard the Rocky Mountaineer, enjoy your amazing journey through the fertile fields of the Thompson Valley and the beautiful Fraser Canyon. Late this afternoon, arrive in Vancouver, where you’ll be transferred to your hotel. (B,L)
Day #12 Vancouver. Your vacation ends this morning with guests departing on individual schedules. Airport transfers are provided. (B)