Train Trek: Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer
America West Magazine

In my mind's eye, I can still picture it: Gazing through a glass-domed ceiling, I watch as alpine vistas glide by, the surrounding snow-capped peaks and emerald greenery drawing me into what seems like a living postcard. That's exactly what I had anticipated when I boarded a luxury locomotive to traverse the Canadian Rockies—and, as it turned out, it's exactly what I encountered.
Photo credit: Rocky Mountaineer
  My journey, just one of a number of excursions organized by Rocky Mountaineer Railtours from mid-April through mid-October each year, was a two-day, 600-mile jaunt along the tracks of the 100-year-old Canadian Pacific Railway. We departed from Vancouver, British Columbia-with an overnight stop in Kamloops-and I got off in Banff, Alberta. (The train continues another 82 miles to Calgary, for those who have more time to savor the scenery.) Along the way, we rolled through fertile farmlands and tunnels engineered with twists and turns, past cascading waterfalls, and imposing glaciers. The train's crew adeptly capitalized on such precarious-sounding points of interest as the Jaws of Death Gorge, Hells Gate and Kicking Horse River to regale passengers with tales about adventurous pioneers and notorious railway robbers.  

Photo credit: Rocky Mountaineer
Billed as one of the world's most spectacular rail rides, the train tour attracts passengers of all ages and travels only during daylight hours for optimum viewing of forests, lakes and mountains. For an even closer look at the lush surroundings, you can spend part of the ride on the rear observation platform, from which you might even glimpse a deer, elk or black bear.  
  The on-board breakfast and lunch are bountiful, serving up such selections as Alberta steak and eggs, fresh filet of B.C. salmon, roasted lamb loin and a vegetarian creation. And two modes of travel offer a choice of amenities: RedLeaf Service provides guest with reclining seats, large windows and at-your-seat meals, while the luxury Goldleaf Service Dome Coaches offers a more panoramic view and white-linen-dressed table dining. Whichever you choose, your own living postcard won't need to read "Wish you were here."

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