CELEBRATING OUR 60TH ANNIVERSARY

Call: 952-927-7311

Trip Highlights:

British Columbia’s temperate rainforest, home to the largest grizzly population on the planet. In August, embark on a humpback whale watching expedition instead.
+ Enjoy a thrilling 2-day, all-daylight rail journey through Western Canada and across the Continental Divide.
+ Behold the spectacles of Lake Louise and Maligne Lake.
+ Journey on the Icefields Parkway and experience one of the most remarkable natural treasures of North America.
+ Specialist guides from the First Nations and Parks Canada share their deep knowledge of alpine flora and fauna.
+ Embark on a safari float down the gentle Bow River with views of Three Sisters Mountain’s jagged silhouette.

2017 DEPARTURES
June 6 - 14; July 14 - 22; July 28 - August 5; August 25 - September 2 
(August 11-19 is sold out)


PRICE
$4,299 per person when paid in full at time of booking


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DETAILED ITINERARY

Day 1 – Welcome to Prince Rupert, Canada

On arrival at the Prince Rupert Airport, you’ll be warmly greeted by our experienced Canadian Trip Leader, who will be with us throughout this epic journey. Traveling across the channel to nearby Kaien Island, you’ll check in to the inviting Crest Hotel where Deluxe Harbor View rooms have been reserved for our intimate group. The balance of this day is yours to just relax or to explore at your own pace through the charming port town of Prince Rupert.
 

Day 2 – Grizzlies + Whales of British Columbia

The untamed coast of northwest British Columbia is a vast tract of Pacific temperate rainforest that provides prime habitat for diverse wildlife including eagles, mountain goats, seals and lumbering black bears that come to the lush shoreline to feed. It’s also home to the largest grizzly bear population on the planet, and this morning’s guided expedition by sea takes you deep into the rugged fjords and pristine wilderness of the Khutzeymateen Valley - home to all this amazing wildlife. You’ll be captivated by sweeping vistas of densely forested mountain slopes and the opportunity to view the magnificent grizzly bear and the region’s other indigenous species.

In August, a whale-watching expedition replaces our coastal cruise. Accompanied by experienced marine naturalists, this excursion takes you beyond the small islands that shelter Prince Rupert Harbor. At this time of year, these coastal waters are among the best places in the Pacific to see migrating humpback whales.  For all departures, this evening’s welcome dinner features the fresh bounty of the region accompanied by fine wine. Meals B+D

Day 3 – All aboard VIA Rail Canada to Prince George

Early this morning, you’ll be escorted to the VIA Rail Station in Prince Rupert to begin your 2-day daylight journey through the remarkable and varied landscapes of British Columbia, between the north Pacific coast and Jasper National Park o the opposite flanks of the Canadian Rockies. Traveling along Canada’s northern transcontinental rail line, built by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, this is a true voyage-of-discovery into the natural wonders and history of the region. The ancient traditions of the First Nations peoples, the not-so-distant pioneer days of sternwheelers and steam engines, and the colorful legacy of gold miners have all left their mark along the tracks. Fishing villages, logging towns, farms and vast tracts of uninhabited wilderness highlight the passing vistas. Wildlife such as bear, moose, elk, deer, wolves, eagles, hawks and seals can also be spotted during the journey.

Alexander+Roberts guests will enjoy premium Touring Class throughout the trip. You can sit back in a spacious, reclining seat with sweeping views through the extra-large picture windows of your Panorama Car. You’ll also have exclusive access to the Park Dome Car with its terrific 360° views. Congenial onboard dining is included with complimentary wine at dinner.

Among the sites you’ll see on your first day’s rail journey are the villages, mountains, lakes and rushing rivers of western British Columbia, including:

  • Port Edward: A charming coastal town with fishing boats lined up at the dock and a population of fewer than 600 hardy residents.
  • Skeena River: For centuries, this pristine waterway was a trading route and fish source for native peoples and early settlers. From a Pacific tidal zone, the river will narrow with numerous trackside waterfalls and rushing rapids.
  • Kitselas Canyon + Tunnels: Along this 2-mile stretch, the Skeena River tumbles among jagged rocks and the tracks skirt a spectacular canyon with four tunnels. This is a great time to be in the Park Dome Car!
  • Seven Sisters: For nearly 15 miles of the journey, you’ll have inspiring views of this row of rugged sawtooth mountain peaks to the south.
  • Morricetown: This settlement of the First Nations Wet’sewet’en was a vital fishing site for 5,000 years. Today, it’s home to about 227 residents.
  • Hudson Bay Mountain: Keep your eyes open for the Kathlyn Glacier, one of the finest views of a glacier from a passenger train anywhere in North America!
  • Burns Lake: This is the center of the Lakes District and popular for fishing and boating amidst incredible scenic beauty.
  • Nechako River: This is a major tributary of the Fraser River and our train will be traveling along its banks for nearly 50 miles as it flows from its source in the Coast Mountains on its way to the mighty Fraser which will be visible for much of your journey tomorrow from Prince George to Jasper.

 
After dinner onboard the train, you’ll arrive in Prince George. Set alongside the northern side of the Fraser River and home to the University of Northern British Columbia, this manufacturing, transportation and service center is the largest city in northern B.C. with a population just over 70,000. You’ll be met at the rail station and escorted to the Coast Inn of the North for a restful overnight.  Meals B+L+D

Day 4 – Crossing the Canadian Rockies

After breakfast, you’ll be escorted back to the station to board once again your VIA Rail train bound for Jasper. Once again, you’ll be able to sit back in Touring Class comfort and enjoy the views through the large picture windows of your Panorama Car. Our guests also have exclusive access to the Park Dome Car with its breathtaking 360° views.

Following along rushing rivers past pristine lakes into the spectacular mountain landscapes of the Canadian Rockies, today’s epic journey features some of the most jaw-dropping scenery in North America. Learning about the First Nations people, early settlers and naïve wildlife will enrich this once-in-a-lifetime journey. Today’s highlights include:

  • Giscome: Situated at the western end of Eaglet Lake, this small community in the British Columbia wilderness was once home to the largest sawmill in the region.
  • Hansard Railway Bridge: Spanning the Fraser River, this unusual bridge is also used by vehicular traffic that simply drives over the railway tracks. Working from a small cabin on the bridge itself, a signal operator keeps cars and trucks separate from passing trains!
  • Penny: Established as a sawmill settlement in the early 1900’s, this sleepy little community lies along one of the remote stretches of the railway line. A Chinook salmon hatchery is now one of the region’s prime sources of revenue.
  • Mt. Rider: Towering more than 8,000 feet, this awe-inspiring peak was named for British author Henry Rider Haggard who was an early pioneer of the Lost World literary genre.
  • McBride Railway Station: Completed in 1919, this architectural landmark is an evocative reminder of the elegant railway architecture that was typical of the era.
  • Raush River Bridge: With breathtaking views of pine forests and steep mountain peaks, and spanning more than 1,000 feet, this is the second-longest bridge on the rail journey between Prince Rupert and Jasper.
  • Dunster: Against a spectacular mountain backdrop, the charming general store and post office of this remote community serves a far-ranging rural community.
  • Mt. Robson: Surrounded by the pristine wilderness of a Provincial Park founded in 1913, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies towers an impressive 12,972 feet in elevation! Its distinctive silhouette and horizontal strata make it easy recognizable.
  • Yellowhead Pass: At 3,700 feet above sea level, this is the highest point of your 2-day rail journey. It also marks the border from British Columbia into Alberta, the change from Pacific to Mountain Time - and the Continental Divide.

Early this evening, your rail journey comes to an end in Jasper, the gateway to Jasper National Park. Amid the rugged, snow-capped peaks of the Canadian Rockies, the region is regarded for its abundant wildlife, pristine glacier-fed lakes, and Alpine forests. On arrival at the station, you’ll be met and escorted to the Sawridge Inn, where inviting Outside View Rooms with Balcony have been reserved for our guests.  Meals B+L

Day 5 – Jasper National Park

This morning’s drive into Jasper National Park begins with an informative discussion about the First Nations people and current residents of the Athabasca River Valley and Canadian Rockies. Arriving at our destination within the Park, we’ve made special arrangements for an interpretive nature walk. Led by a First Nations guide, you’ll learn about the many edible plants native to the region and about the traditional medicinal uses of several species. This unique excursion ends with a chance for you to sample some of these traditional foods and tea

In the afternoon, you’ll enjoy a guided walk on the Path of the Glacier Trail at Mt. Edith Cavell. Venturing through sub-alpine forest, this 1-mile path offers wonderful views of Angel Glacier, the imposing north face of Mt. Cavell, and the emerald waters of the Lake of Forgiveness. A wildlife tour through Jasper National Park in the late afternoon and early evening is the best time to observe its original inhabitants including bear, elk, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, coyotes, wolves and moose. Along the way, we’ll stop at Maligne Canyon so you can step off the coach to walk along this spectacular gorge all the way to the lower falls. Before returning to the Sawridge Inn, you’ll also see Medicine Lake and Maligne Lakes with their forested shores and dramatic mountain backdrops. Maligne Lake, of course, is also home to Spirit Island – one of the most hauntingly beautiful sights in the Canadian Rockies.  Meals B

Day 6 – Along the Icefields Parkway to Yoho National Park

Traveling the Icefields Parkway is an opportunity to experience one of the Continent’s most remarkable natural treasures, a journey into a breathtaking landscape of rugged mountain peaks, cascading waterfalls, glistening glaciers and pristine alpine lakes.  Traveling southward, your first stops will be at the Sunwapta and Athabasca Falls, both surrounded by towering confers and a backdrop of rugged granite peaks.

At the Columbia Icefield Discovery Center, you’ll have ample leisure time to enjoy the interpretive displays and audiovisual presentations. Outdoors, in the fresh mountain air, you can see the Columbia Icefield, a valley of six interconnected glaciers remaining from the last Ice Age. Among the most spectacular is the Athabasca Glacier, 3.5-miles long and over 900-feet thick at its deepest point. A 1.1-mile trail from the Discovery Center takes you close to the Athabasca Glacier. From here, another ½-mile uphill path leads to a view point at the toe of the Glacier. The rubble-strewn trail itself is a remarkable illustration of how much the glacier has receded in recent years due to climate change.


From the Columbia Icefields, you’ll continue to Field, a small community in the scenic Kicking Horse River Valley of southeastern British Columbia. Along the way, you’ll stop to take in the pristine beauty of either Bow or Peyto Lake. Both are pristine, glacier-fed lakes that reveal the geological and climatic forces that shaped this beautiful sector of our Continent.
 
Today’s once-in-a-lifetime journey ends at the enchanting Emerald Lake Lodge, an historic retreat of hand-hewn lumber and massive stone fireplaces set on a 13-acre peninsula on Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park.  Meals B+D

Day 7 – Lake Louise + River Float Adventure

This morning’s exploration of Yoho National Park reveals the jagged granite peaks, ancient forests and roaring rivers of the Canadian Rockies along the western slopes of the Continental Divide. You’ll visit Takakkaw Falls and the unusual natural stone bridge that spans the rushing waters of the Kicking Horse River. At the Spiral Tunnels, you’ll learn about the century-old engineering feat that allowed the Canadian Pacific Railway to safely build one of the steepest railway stretches in the world: Completed in 1909, these two long tunnels complete figure-8 loops through the forested mountains!

Then crossing the provincial border into western Alberta, you’ll visit Lake Louise. Heralded as the jewel of Banff National Park, this unbelievably beautiful, turquoise lake is cradled by steep forested slopes that give way to distant vistas of the Victoria Glacier and snow-covered mountains. In the beautiful Valley of the Ten Peaks, set at an elevation of more than 6,000 feet, you’ll stop along the shores of Moraine Lake for a specially-arranged nature walk with an expert from Parks Canada.

In the afternoon, you’ll check in to the spectacular Rimrock Resort, surrounded by the alpine majesty of Banff National Park. Alexander+Roberts guests will enjoy Premium Guestrooms with fine views of the deeply forested mountain valley.

This evening, a 3-hour float trip on the gentle Bow River offers wonderful views of Three Sisters Mountain, a recognizable trio of jagged granite peaks that reach an elevation of more than 9,600 feet. With our expert, sharp-eyed river guide, this inspiring adventure also offers a chance to observe indigenous wildlife including beaver, elk and osprey.  Meals B

Day 8 – Discover Banff National Park

Spread across 2,564 square miles in the Canadian Rockies, Banff National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that offers refuge to a variety of North American mammals including black bears, elk, cougar, wolverines, wolves and approximately 80 grizzly bears. This morning, you’ll head into the Park for an informative and entertaining interpretive talk on the grizzlies of Banff.  You’ll learn about the most up-to-date research on these creatures and learn first hand how technology is helping scientists to monitor, track and preserve this majestic animal.

The afternoon is at leisure to take advantage of our resort’s sublime natural setting. Just across the way, the Banff Upper Hot Springs offer natural steaming mineral pools that have drawn travelers to “take the waters” for over a century. Or embark on a delightful 1/4 -mile walk to the Banff Gondola. Ascending to the top of Sulphur Mountain at nearly 7,500 feet in elevation, you’ll find several wide observation decks with jaw-dropping views of six mountain ranges. Several scenic hiking trails here at the summit can also enhance your exploration.

This evening’s farewell dinner features the fresh local cuisine of the Rimrock Resort’s kitchen accompanied by wine.  Meals B+D

Day 9 – Depart from Calgary

After breakfast, you’ll be escorted to the Calgary Airport for your departure flight.  Meals B