Rocky Mountaineer Station
1755 Cottrell Street
| +1 604-606-7200
Sat, Sun 8am - 4pm
Mon - Fri 6am - 7pm
A "Journey Through the Clouds" on Rocky MountaineerThere is something truly magical about a train journey through the craggy, pine-studded terrain of the Canadian Rockies.
You can take the journey along the white-capped Fraser River (the longest river in the westernmost province of British Columbia) on foot, but there's something truly stylish about the "Gold Leaf" service of this rail operator.
My three-night "Journey Through the Clouds" started at the Rocky Mountaineer Train station in Vancouver, in an airy, elegant waiting room with comfortable chairs and a live pianist to set the elegant tone for my journey. It ended at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge. The ambience of the station was out of a vintage movie: I expected Fred Astaire to come out any minute and dance with one of the passengers.
A "Gold Leaf" experience translates into several toasts with fine B.C. wines and world-class cuisine. Initially, I was skeptical, but I heard the soft chug-chug of the train as it whizzed past beautifully pine-scented slopes, cobalt-blue rivers and the snow-laced peak of Mount Robson (the highest point in the Rockies, and also nicknamed "The Great White Fright"), I ended up coddling a Pinot Noir, marveling at the beauty of the landscape after spotting many Bighorn sheep. I felt close to bliss.
The cuisine on the Rocky Mountaineer did not disappoint: I was homesick and craved an Indian dish and was delighted to see a cauliflower curry served with naan bread on the menu.
The upper level Gold Dome seats manufactured by Borcad in soft brown leather with wainscot panels lulled me to sleep and I was able to doze off in a way that would have been harder on an airplane. Light pours from every corner of the compartment: you feel warm and fuzzy, not trapped like a sardine in a can.
During the evenings, I was whisked by bus to glamorous Fairmont lodges that the brand has partnered with. My favorite, the Jasper Park Lodge, is a peaceful haven for the senses: elk roam freely (I saw some right outside my hotel room), and the air is crisp and clean, almost virginal in its purity.
On the course of the trip, I got a chance to see the Athabasca Glacier, a beautiful receding icefield in the Rockies (and the most visited glacier in North America). These are landmarks that would have been quite difficult to see on my own, if I had tried a more DIY approach.
The most beautiful moment of my trip was standing on the overlook to the chill blue of the glacier-fed Peyto Lake, Canada's bluest lake with coloring courtesy of the local algae. It is a spectacle that I'm sure most painters would gladly see over and over again.
A three-day journey with Rocky Mountaineer starts from $1,500 per person, but memories will last a lifetime.