VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA "“ When it comes to recreational
train journeys, mostly it's what is outside the windows (or, better yet, skydome) that counts. Mostly"”but not entirely.

Inside, travelers like to enjoy a taste of gracious living with comfortable reclining seating, picture windows and a full galley to provide elegant meals.

You can expect this best of both worlds when you travel aboard the Rocky Mountaineer as part of an eight day/seven night vacation offered by The Great Canadian Travel Company.

Called the "Western Explorer Rail Tour," it takes you from Vancouver on Canada's Pacific Coast across the mountains to the famous Rocky Mountain resort of Banff. This eight-day itinerary provides one of the most popular train vacations offered by Great Canadian. It includes all of the "must-see" attractions in the Canadian Rockies.

Start at Vancouver and you'll enjoy this scenic port city prior to beginning your itinerary. Perhaps you'll include a horse-drawn tour through Stanley Park, the thousand-acre natural heart of the city. Maybe you'll decide to sample Vancouver's vigorous night life!

After spending a night in Vancouver, you'll travel aboard the Rocky Mountaineer to Kamloops, in the heart of British Columbia's interior. Dramatic changes of scenery mark your journey from the lush green fields of the Fraser River Valley, through forests and winding river canyons surrounded by the peaks of the Coast and Cascade mountains, to the desert-like terrain of the interior. Highlights include the rushing waters of Hell's Gate in the Fraser Canyon and the steep slopes and rock sheds along the Thompson River. Your day concludes as the Rocky Mountaineer travels along the shores of Kamloops Lake and into the town of Kamloops, where you'll spend the night.

Your journey continues north and east to the Canadian Rockies and the province of Alberta. Again, you'll be surrounded by dramatic scenery as you trace the banks of the North Thompson River through the Monashee and Cariboo mountains, climbing ever nearer to the high peaks of the Continental Divide. Highlights include Mount Robson, at 12,972 feet the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. You'll skirt Pyramid Falls and climb over the Yellowhead Pass into Jasper National Park. Your rail journey ends upon arrival at the resort town of Jasper, where you'll stay overnight.

Day Four brings several tour options in Jasper, including a wildlife safari, rafting trip and horseback riding. Next, you'll travel to Lake Louise via one of the most scenic highways in the world, the Icefields Parkway. There's a stop at Althabasca Falls before arriving at the Columbia Icefield. There you'll ride an "Ice Explorer" to the middle of the glacier to learn more about its geological features. Your driver/guide will explain how glaciers are formed and points out interesting features. Afterwards there is a brief stop at Bow Lake before arrival in Lake Louise. There, you'll enjoy a one-hour guided lakeshore stroll and spend the night at storied Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.

As you travel from Lake Louise to Banff, you'll spend a half day viewing the natural wonders of Yoho National Park. After an overnight stay in Banff (with a sightseeing tour) you'll continue to Kananaskis for an adventure that includes a Summit Helicopter Tour over the remarkable Rockies landscape. There is lunch at a ranch and time to explore Kananaskis at your leisure before your afternoon transfer to Calgary, where you will conclude your tour with an overnight stay.

Included in this tour package are seven nights' hotel accommodations, two days aboard the Rocky Mountaineer with your choice of Redleaf or Goldleaf Service, two breakfasts and three lunches and a variety of tours that include Summit Helicopter Flightseeing. Frequent departures continue into early October. Cost per person (based on double occupancy) begins at $1,729 Canadian (for Redleaf Service) and $2,589 Canadian (Goldleaf Service). Note: the itinerary is available in reverse, Calgary-Vancouver.

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