This 12-night itinerary takes you around British Columbia and over into Alberta’s famous mountain parks of Banff and Jasper by train, sightseeing road transfer, ferry and plane.
Suggested route & duration
Suggested duration: 12 nights – round-trip from Vancouver
• Vancouver: 2 nights
• Kamloops: 1 night
• Banff: 2 nights
• Jasper: 2 nights
• Prince George: 1 night
• Prince Rupert: 1 night
• Port Hardy or cruise: 1 night
• Vancouver: 2 nights
About this independent tour
Why you’ll love this itinerary
• Go from west to east on the Rocky Mountaineer – the best way to travel
• Ride the ‘Rupert Rocket’ – VIA Rail’s Skeena train from Jasper to Prince Rupert
• Join a full-day sightseeing trip along the Icefields Parkway, stopping for a walk along the gravity-defying Glacier Skywalk
• Board a ferry and cruise through the Inside Passage
When to go
• Due to train schedules, this itinerary only departs on specific Wednesdays from early May to late September
• On May and late September departures, the ferry is an overnight journey; this replaces the night in Port Hardy
• To see the lakes in Banff and Jasper at their most vivid blue colour, visit later in the summer. This is also the best time to spot whales in the Inside Passage
Suggested itinerary details
Day 1: Vancouver Spend the first couple of days in Vancouver. Your time here includes a hop-on hop-off bus trolley tour around the city. Stay 2 nights at Coast Coal Harbour Hotel.
Day 3: Kamloops It’s an early start for your first day on the Rocky Mountaineer. Spend the day admiring the landscapes and making the most of the fantastic on-board service. Stay at Thompson Hotel.
Day 4: Banff The second day on the train is the most scenic as you travel up into the high mountains. Spend a full day in Banff soaking up the lively mountain resort atmosphere. Stay 2 nights at Brewster’s Mountain Lodge.
Day 6: Jasper Travel to Jasper on a full-day sightseeing transfer. You’ll stop at a couple of viewpoints and take a ride out onto the Columbia Icefield. Spend time in the town of Jasper, which sits at the heart of the national park. Stay 2 nights at Sawridge Inn.
Day 8: Prince George Board the Skeena train for your journey towards the northern BC coast. Stay at Sandman Signature Prince George or similar.
Day 9: Prince Rupert Reboard the train this morning and pass through dense forests and along the Skeena River on your way to Prince Rupert. Stay at Crest Hotel.
Day 10: Port Hardy Board a ferry for a sailing along the wildlife-rich Inside Passage. If you’re travelling in May or the second half of September the cruise will depart in the afternoon and end in Port Hardy the next morning. Stay at Kwa’Lilas Hotel (for June, July and August departures).
Day 11: Vancouver Return to Vancouver for a couple more days of city exploration. Head over to Victoria, the BC capital, on an included trip.Stay 2 nights at Coast Coal Harbour Hotel.
Fly from Port Hardy to Vancouver for a bird’s-eye view of Vancouver Island and the Great Bear Rainforest
The Skeena train whisks you past snowcapped mountains and along raging rivers
Board a ferry for a sedate cruise along the narrow waterways of BC’s Inside Passage
Hop over to Victoria to visit Butchart Gardens and wander round the city’s Inner Harbour
Tailor your tour
Make it your own
We’ve crafted this itinerary based on our own experiences and customers’ feedback. It’s flexible but dependent on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer schedules; talk to us and we can create your perfect trip.
Where to stay
There are plenty of hotels to in Vancouver, Banff and Jasper from simple to ultra-luxe. The options in Prince George, Prince Rupert and Port Hardy are more limited. You’ll spend two full days on the Skeena train so we recommend upgrading to the more comfortable Touring Class if it’s available.
There’s a selection of experiences included including a hop-on hop-off trolley tour in Vancouver, an Inside Passage cruise with BC Ferries and a scenic flight from Port Hardy back to Vancouver. There are plenty of options to add other tours, lake cruises and whale-watching cruises.
12 nights is the perfect amount of time to explore Vancouver, see the Rockies and travel through the northern reaches of BC. You can extend your stay in Vancouver or the mountain parks but make sure that you meet the VIA Rail connection in Jasper as the Skeena train only departs a few times a week.
As you’ll finish your cruise in Port Hardy, you’ll have the chance to explore more of Vancouver Island. If you drive, you can pick up a car from town and set off along the east coast of the island. From there, you could either turn west to the Pacific Rim region or continue south to Victoria.