Welcome to Calgary! Your Tour Director is on hand late this afternoon to answer any questions.
The discovery of oil converted this cattle-ranching town into a thriving, sophisticated city. Sightseeing highlights downtown, Fort Calgary, Stampede Park, the Saddledome, and Canada Olympic Park. Next, drive west through the foothills of the Rockies into Banff National Park. On arrival, enjoy an orientation tour.
Today is at leisure. Play golf, horseback ride, hike the many wilderness trails in the area, stroll through Banff, or simply relax at the hot springs. The park is the perfect place for wildlife watching, and you may spot some of these amazing creatures in their natural habitat. The most commonly seen are deer and big horn sheep.
First stop is Lake Louise, with its cold waters reflecting the surrounding mountains and glaciers. Precipitous gorges, snowcapped mountain ranges, and exquisite lakes come into view as your motorcoach scales three mountain passes. Another highlight is a stop at the Columbia Icefield to experience the Ice Explorer, an all- terrain vehicle that travels on ice measuring 750 feet thick. Late this afternoon, join our optional float trip down the historic Athabasca River. In Jasper, an orientation tour showcases the area's unspoiled beauty. Accommodation for the next two nights is in Jasper National Park.
Join the optional narrated cruise on Maligne Lake to Spirit Island. On the return journey, you'll be mesmerised by dramatic Maligne Canyon. With much of the afternoon and evening free, consider hiking or exploring Jasper's local charm. While exploring the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies keep an eye out for native wildlife, including grizzly bears, moose, caribou, and wolves.
An exciting morning as you board the Rocky Mountaineer for a 2-day, all-daylight, classic rail journey from the Canadian Rockies to the Pacific Coast. En route, pass Mount Robson, the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies. Follow the North Thompson River and enjoy vistas of the Monashee Mountains. Free time in Kamloops this evening. (B,L)
Reboard your train and head through the ranchlands along the Thompson River. Continue through the stark beauty of Fraser Canyon and the turbulence of mighty Hell's Gate. After an early evening arrival in Vancouver, transfer to your hotel. (B,L)
Morning sightseeing focuses on Vancouver's Chinatown, Gastown, and lovely Stanley Park. Afterward, sail through the spectacular Gulf Islands, known for their Mediterranean-like climate. Afternoon sightseeing in Victoria includes world-famous Butchart Gardens, Bastion Square, and Thunderbird Park with its collection of totem poles.
Morning departure for Vancouver. The trip ends at Vancouver International Airport. Please schedule flights after 1:30 pm.