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Rocky Mountaineer - Grand Rail Circle

13 days Rail Tours

Virgin Holidays' view

Not much can compete with the attention-grabbing panoramas when you’re travelling through Canada’s West. But the Rocky Mountaineer might just be in with a chance, and this tour is the ultimate rail trip — combining two classic Rocky Mountaineer train routes and the mighty Rockies in one adventure. Start in lively Vancouver and heading north, you’ll pass through winding river canyons, lush valleys and lakeshores. Vwnturing east, you’ll stop in some of the best-known parts of the west — Banff, Lake Louise, Jasper, Quesnel and Whistler. Adventure should be top of your list, as you’ll get to experience misty waterfalls, gondolas and glistening emerald lakes. And, as you drive the sloping ice onto Athabasca Glacier, it’s your seat on the monstrous Ice Explorer that provides the most memorable views.

Itinerary

Day 1: Vancouver

Sheraton Wall Centre, Traditional Room (SilverLeaf) Four Seasons Vancouver, Deluxe City View Room (GoldLeaf) Four Seasons Vancouver, Premier City View Room (GoldLeaf Deluxe)

Arrive in Vancouver and spend time exploring this scenic city independently. Overnight in Vancouver.

Day 2: Vancouver – Kamloops

Overnight in Kamloops - hotel confirmed at check-in for the Rocky Mountaineer 

Travel onboard the Rocky Mountaineer from the coastal city of Vancouver to Kamloops, in the heart of British Columbia’s interior. On today’s journey you will see dramatic changes in scenery, from the lush green fields of the Fraser Valley, through forests and winding river canyons surrounded by the peaks of the Coast and Cascade Mountains, to the desert-like environment 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 into Kamloops. Overnight in Kamloops. (B/L)

Day 3: Kamloops – Banff

Banff Park Lodge (SilverLeaf) or Fairmont Banff Springs, Fairmont Room (GoldLeaf) Fairmont Banff Springs, Deluxe Room (GoldLeaf Deluxe)

Your journey continues eastwards to the mighty Canadian Rockies and the province of Alberta. Once again you will see a spectacular array of scenery as you travel across ranchlands, along rocky lakeshores, over high mountain passes and through the remarkable tunnels that form part of the rich rail history of the Canadian Rockies. Today’s highlights include Craigellachie, where the last spike of the Canadian Pacific Railway was driven, the climb over Rogers Pass, Kicking Horse Canyon, the Spiral Tunnels and, of course, the glaciers and snow-capped peaks of the Canadian Rockies. Your rail journey ends this evening in the resort town of Banff. Spend the next 3 nights in Banff. (B/L)

Day 4: Banff

Banff Park Lodge (SilverLeaf) or Fairmont Banff Springs, Fairmont Room (GoldLeaf) Fairmont Banff Springs, Deluxe Room (GoldLeaf Deluxe)

This morning, enjoy a half-day sightseeing tour of Banff and Banff National Park. Among the highlights are visits to Bow Falls, the Banff Gondola (admission included), a lake cruise on Lake Minnewanka, Surprise Corner and the Hoodoos. 

Please note: in the event the lake cruise is not operating, interpretive experiences will be offered on the history of the founding of Banff, sampling of authentic Canadian treats, and a hands-on interpretation of local flora and fauna.

Day 5: Banff

Banff Park Lodge (SilverLeaf) or Fairmont Banff Springs, Fairmont Room (GoldLeaf) Fairmont Banff Springs, Deluxe Room (GoldLeaf Deluxe)

Today you will have an entire day to spend exploring Banff National Park. Optional activities* include soaking in the mineral pools at Upper Hot Springs, enjoying a nature walk on nearby mountain trails, visiting Banff’s historic museums, cruising on Lake Minnewanka or playing a round of golf at The Fairmont Banff Springs. 

Day 6: Banff – Lake Louise

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Fairmont Room (Silverleaf) Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Fairmont Lakeview Room (GoldLeaf) Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Deluxe Lakeview Room (GoldLeaf Deluxe)

A half-day tour takes you into Yoho National Park to view some of its natural wonders. Among the attractions are the Spiral Tunnels, Emerald Lake and a natural rock bridge spanning the Kicking Horse River. The tour ends in Lake Louise where the remainder of the afternoon is at your leisure to enjoy this magnificent location. Spend the next 2 nights in Lake Louise.

Please note: While arrival at The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise will be approximately 1.00pm, scheduled check-in time is not until 4.00pm. In the event that your room is not ready, your luggage will be stored and you are free to enjoy the amenities of the hotel.

Day 7: Lake Louise

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Fairmont Room (Silverleaf) Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Fairmont Lakeview Room (GoldLeaf) Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Deluxe Lakeview Room (GoldLeaf Deluxe)

Enjoy a free day in Lake Louise. Local activities include canoeing, hiking in the mountains or simply relaxing and taking in the magnificent views. 

Day 8: Lake Louise – Jasper

Lobstick Lodge (Silverleaf) Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Fairmont Room (GoldLeaf) Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Deluxe Room (GoldLeaf Deluxe)

Enjoy a sightseeing tour of Banff and Jasper national parks via the Icefields Parkway. Among the highlights are Bow Lake, the Columbia Icefield and Athabasca Falls. The Columbia Icefield is one of the largest accumulations of ice south of the Arctic Circle and one of the most accessible icefields in North America. Here you will ride on an Ice Explorer to the middle of the Athabasca Glacier to learn more about its geological features. Lunch is included at the Columbia Icefield Glacier Discovery Centre. Arrive in Jasper late this afternoon. Spend the next 2 nights in Jasper.

Day 9: Jasper 

Lobstick Lodge (Silverleaf) Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Fairmont Room (GoldLeaf) Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Deluxe Room (GoldLeaf Deluxe)

Jasper National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Canadian Rockies’ largest national park. Today you will enjoy a scenic half-day tour of some of the park’s natural attractions and rugged peaks, and perhaps catch a glimpse of the wildlife that calls this region home. Highlights include breakfast at Maligne Canyon teahouse and a stroll to view the canyon itself. The remainder of the day is free for you to explore more of Jasper independently. (B)

Day 10: Jasper – Quesnel

Overnight in Quesnel - hotel confirmed at check-in for the Rocky Mountaineer 

Travel onboard the Rocky Mountaineer from the mountain resort of Jasper in the Canadian Rockies to the charming rural town of Quesnel, gateway to the North Cariboo. Pass through the Rocky Mountain Trench, with the steep Rocky and Cariboo Mountains either side, and on to the rolling hills and vast forests of British Columbia’s Northern Interior. Highlights include Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, Yellowhead Pass and Moose Lake. Your day concludes as the Rocky Mountaineer passes through the town of Prince George and follows the Fraser River into Quesnel. Overnight in Quesnel. (B/L)

Day 11: Quesnel – Whistler

Overnight in Whistler - hotel confirmed at check-in for the Rocky Mountaineer 

Your journey continues southwestward today to the four-season resort of Whistler, host of the 2020 Winter Olympic Games alpine events. Enjoy breathtaking and varied scenery, from the desert-like conditions of the Fraser Canyon, through the rolling hills and vast ranchlands of the Cariboo Plateau, to the river canyons and lush farmland of the Pemberton Valley. Highlights include sweeping views of the Fraser Canyon, the crossing of Deep Creek Bridge, one of the highest railway bridges in the world, and the shorelines of glacial-fed Seton Lake and Anderson Lake. Overnight in Whistler. (B/L)

Day 12: Whistler – Vancouver

Sheraton Wall Centre, Traditional Room (SilverLeaf) Four Seasons Vancouver, Deluxe City View Room (GoldLeaf) Four Seasons Vancouver, Premier City View Room (GoldLeaf Deluxe)

The morning is free to explore Whistler Village at your leisure. This afternoon, return to Vancouver onboard the Rocky Mountaineer through the stunning scenery of the Sea to Sky Corridor. Highlights of the trip include the Cheakamus Canyon, the dome peak of Mount Garibaldi, Brandywine Falls, and breathtaking views of Howe Sound and the Coast Mountains. An afternoon meal is served canapé style. Your rail journey ends today on arrival in Vancouver. At the North Vancouver train platform, you will be transferred to your accommodation in downtown Vancouver. Overnight in Vancouver.

Day 13: Vancouver

Your vacation ends upon checkout from your Vancouver hotel.

*Denotes local charge.

B - Breakfast
L - Lunch 

Optional breakfast supplement: breakfast supplement includes breakfast in the hotels on all days (not on the Rocky Mountaineer). If this optional supplement is not taken, the tour still includes breakfast on 2 days on the train. Not applicable to any extra pre and post hotels. 

Dates & prices

The table below shows our escorted tour departure dates.

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Prices are described as Guide prices on this website and may be higher or lower due to availability and date of departure.

Prices are for departure dates listed, ex-UK and are per adult based on two adults travelling and sharing a standard room and with return economy flights where stated. Single room and flight prices are available at a supplement.

Please note some tours are subject to minimum numbers, please call our travel experts or visit your local retail store for full details as well as our latest prices.

Tour information

Please click here to download a pdf of the itinerary and additional tour notes

Pre/Post Tour information

If you would like to extend your trip or make the tour part of a longer holiday, we can easily add on a pre or post night stays for you. Our Sales Team will work with you to arrange the best connecting flights and book any additional hotel stays. Simply tell us what you’d like and we can arrange it.

Time difference

GMT -5 hours Eastern Canada 
GMT -8 hours Western Canada

Tour inclusions

  • 5 days Rocky Mountaineer GoldLeaf or SilverLeaf service
  • 5 breakfasts, 5 lunches and 1 afternoon meal
  • 12 nights hotel accommodation
  • Vancouver Lookout
  • Banff tour, including Banff Gondola
  • Yoho National Park, Banff to Lake Louise
  • Icefields Parkway tour, including Ice Explorer, Lake Louise to Jasper
  • Jasper breakfast tour
  • Luggage handling and rail station transfers in Vancouver, Kamloops, Banff, Jasper, Quesnel and Whistler
  • National parks pass

Tour exclusions

  • International flight in economy class, including all UK and overseas airport taxes and applicable fuel surcharges
  • Flight upgrades and airport transfers in the UK
  • Meals, other than specified
  • Activities, other than specified
  • Gratuities for rail, hotel and transfer staff
  • Fuel surcharges
  • GST as applicable
  • Insurance
  • Airport transfer upon arrival and on departure
  • Items of a personal nature such as drinks, laundry, tips and gratuities, video camera fees at monuments
  • The required Canada Electronic Authorization (eTA)

Dining inclusions

5 breakfasts, 5 lunches and 1 afternoon meal included.

Accommodation

Accommodation listed on the itinerary is a mix of 3-4V graded properties. Please note some tours are up to 3 weeks in duration and there may be some nights when staying in remote locations e.g. the National Parks, when the ‘V’ rating may vary. Hotels are subject to change up until 30 days prior to departure, but you will be advised of any changes.

Visa requirements

Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA)

Visitors travelling to or transiting through Canada by air are now expected to get an electronic travel authorisation (eTA) to enter Canada. If you’re arriving into Canada by air from either the UK or another destination e.g. the USA, you’ll need an eTA. This costs CA$7 and lasts for 5 years or until your passport expires, whichever is first. If you’re travelling by land or sea, you won’t need an eTA when you enter Canada. However, you must travel with acceptable travel documents and identification, i.e. your passport.

For more information on eTA system, and to apply online, visit the official Canadian government website.

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Your holiday may be affected by travel restrictions or cancellations

We are continually reviewing our flying schedules, taking into account the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice against all non-essential travel. Depending on when you are due to travel, your holiday may be affected and we’ll email you to let you know.

You’ll be away before you know it

Your next holiday is only a click away - our website has thousands of hand-picked options ready to book. But if you need more help, just let us know.

Looking for inspiration? Explore our destinations and holiday types and save your faves to your very own Wishlist. Or dive right in to our 2021 holiday offers.

For extra piece of mind, new bookings made before 31 August 2020 for travel up 30 April 2021 also have the flexibility to amend free of charge. If you need to change don’t worry, you can move your holiday as far out as 31 December 2021 subject to availability.

Latest Foreign & Commonwealth Office repatriation travel advice


Over the past few weeks, we have repatriated our customers from overseas who wanted to come home.  

Please visit this page to keep up to date with the Government’s travel advice on returning to the UK, and to register for email alerts.
 

How would you like to talk to us?

With many customers needing our help, we are prioritising those customers due to travel before 06 October 2020. Log in to Manage my booking where you can message us about your options or you can give us a call. Bear in mind you may have to wait longer than expected. We continue to review this and working to open up these options to more customers. In the meantime check out our FAQs to see if this can help answer any immediate questions.

Stay tuned for the latest updates


Rest assured; we will notify you as soon as we know if your holiday has been affected.  

We are prioritising those customers due to travel before 06 October 2020. Log in to Manage my booking where you can message us about your options or you can give us a call. Bear in mind you may have to wait longer than expected. We continue to review this and working to open up these options to more customers. In the meantime check out our FAQs to see if this can help answer any immediate questions.

Please look out for emails from us or visit our dedicated Covid-19 (Coronavirus) page for the latest updates.

Let’s talk


If you need to speak to us to change or cancel your booking, and you are due to travel before 06 October 2020, please log in to Manage my booking to call or message us. 

Payment flexibility


Don’t worry if you’ve missed a payment or just need a little more time to pay; we have options available to help you. If your holiday is going ahead as planned, you can continue to pay for your holiday in Manage my booking, even if travelling in less than 12 weeks. If you’re unsure, you can delay any additional payments by choosing a new time to travel by requesting a call back in Manage My booking for one of our team to look at options. If your holiday is more than 6 months away, you may wish to set up a Direct Debit to spread the cost. This can be arranged whilst rebooking or afterwards in Manage my booking.

We're flexible with your holiday plans


We understand that you may wish to change your holiday plans and we appreciate the need for flexibility. 

We'll be in touch by email letting you know how to register to change your holiday plans. You can also log into Manage my booking to find the details there. 

Please look out for emails from us or visit our dedicated Covid-19 (Coronavirus) page for the latest updates.

You're good to go


If we haven’t notified you of any changes, your holiday will be going ahead as planned but if you prefer to move your holiday to a later time we can help. Log in to Manage my booking to request a call back to amend your holiday. Please bear in mind we’ll work through requests in departure date order so may take longer than usual for us to get back to you

Please look out for emails from us or visit our dedicated Covid-19 (Coronavirus) page for the latest updates.

Thank you for your patience and understanding


Payments are being prioritised based on when the request was made, working in order from March 2020 onwards. We will always try to process refunds at the earliest opportunity, for requests before August our maximum timeframe is 120 days. As we are steadily reducing the maximum processing time for each new request, for refund requests made in August, we expect the maximum processing time to be 80 days, from the date the refund is requested. For those requesting a refund in September, we expect it to be processed within a maximum of 60 days, and then reduce to 30 days for refunds requested in October, before returning to normal levels.

We'll be in touch soon


To finalise the amendment, one of our customer advisors will phone you. We need to work through amend requests in departure date order so we can prioritise those with the most imminent travel plans, so you may have a longer wait than usual until we’re able to ring you back. We will help everyone that wants to move their holiday.

I returned early from holiday and have further questions?


You can contact our team by emailing feedback.backhome@virginholidays.com to discuss options on unused portions of your holiday. If you need to contact our team about amending an existing holiday or requesting a refund please log in to manage my booking.

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