5 Best Canadian Railroad Trips for Your Next Holiday

A train passing between a row of trees and a lake.

Posted by on 28 Apr 2023

Being the second largest country in the world, Canada has a lot to see and experience. Majestic canyons, turquoise lakes, Victorian and French history and architecture–there really is something for everyone.

With so many places to see in this country, planning a trip to experience everything can be overwhelming.

With an extensive rail network covering Canada, there is always an adventure to experience, from the liveliest cities to the most picturesque destinations. From day trips to overnight or several nights, a train service awaits your adventure.

The best part is you don’t have to worry about driving and booking flights for each stop. You just sit back, relax and enjoy the stunning views of Canada from your window, the cafe car or if you’re travelling across the country–the Skyline Line panoramic viewing car!

Whether you prefer snow sports, vibrant city life or thrilling views of deep, dramatic canyons, there’s a Canadian railroad experience to suit your taste. Here are five of the best Canadian journeys by train for your next holiday getaway.

The 5 Best Canadian Railroad Trips to Try Out

Classic Trans-Continental Tour from Vancouver to Toronto

Travelling across a country is a once in a lifetime experience. Especially travelling from Vancouver to Toronto as you traverse through different landscapes and terrains.

Both train stations in Vancouver and Toronto are central and easily accessible, and if you want to see the best of the country, what better experience it, than by train!

VIA Rail’s classic “The Canadian” railroad tour takes you from the West Coast to metropolis of Toronto while passing must-sees. If you’re starting off in Vancouver, pop by the Rockies first then the lakes district. It’s a great cross-Canada train excursion to get the best of both worlds—cityscapes and nature.

Leaving Vancouver, you will pass through the Okanagan and Fraser valleys, the arid interior around Kamloops before reaching the Rocky Mountains and Jasper.

From there, you’ll traverse the outskirts of Georgian Bay until you get to Canada’s biggest city, Toronto. This train tour across Canada strikes a balance between the vibrant, fast-paced city life and the thrilling mountain views Canada is known for.

The Winter Snow Train for Majestic Alpine Views

If you’re travelling during winter, you’ll want to check out VIA Rail’s Winter Snow Train, which takes you to the best alpine sights in the country. It’s the perfect package for those who don’t mind the cold and enjoy snow sports.

First, you’ll travel from Vancouver to Jasper, where you can admire the Canadian Rockies when their peaks are covered with powdery snow.

Travelling by road to the southern part of the mountains, you will enter Banff National Park staying in both Lake Louise and Banff. Experience a sleigh ride at Lake Louise and show shoeing to ice canyons in Banff.

Rainforest to Gold Rush Route for the Best Canyons and Lakes

Rocky Mountaineer’s Rainforest to Gold Rush Route is a fantastic Canada train tour for thrill-seekers and adventure lovers. It takes you to Canada's most stunning mountain ranges, passing through towns like Whistler, Quesnel and Jasper—known for their gorgeous canyons and lakes.

From Vancouver, you will discover a variety of Canadian landscapes. Leaving Vancouver travelling north, you will travel through a temperate rainforest around Whistler.

Between Whistler and Quesnel, you enter desert-like arid terrain, home of bygone Goldfield days. On day three of the train journey, you enter the mountains and pass Mount Robson, the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies.

Travelling from Jasper to Banff, you will experience the Icefields Parkway—one of the prettiest highways on earth—to see Athabasca Falls, Bow Lake and other must-sees in glacier country before wrapping up the journey in Calgary.

Eastern Route to Experience Eclectic, French-Canadian Culture

Experience Canada's eastern cities' charm and rich history onboard VIA Rail’s The Corridor connecting Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. On the Eastern Highlights by Rail package, you’ll see beautiful scenic views and the unique combination of French and Canadian influences and history.

At the beginning of the journey, you’ll be whisked away from Toronto to Niagara Falls, the iconic 12,000-year-old waterfall with jaw-dropping views.

Then, you’ll head over to Ottawa, the capital city of Canada. Enjoy the Rideau Canal, a UNESCO World Heritage site, the National Gallery of Canada and the Canadian Museum of Nature or walk the government grounds.

From the nation's capital, board the train and travel to the capital of Quebec, Quebec City. With cobblestone streets, French patisseries and being a fortified city, there is so much to see and explore.

The First Passage to the West for Dramatic Peaks and Hills

If you enjoy dramatic canyons and exhilarating views of soaring mountains, you’ll love Rocky Mountaineer’s two-day First Passage to the West tour from Banff to Vancouver. On this tour, you’ll glimpse incredibly high mountain ranges to rough lakeshores—all of which will get your heart pumping as you take in the views.

Boarding the prestigious Rocky Mountaineer train in Banff, you will travel through the Spiral Tunnels, past Cathedral Mountain, over the Continental Divide and the Kicking Horse River, before arriving in Kamloops.

After a night in Kamloops, get ready for another day of amazing sights! You will follow the Thompson River on your departure, past the last spike in the CN Rail network joining the East and West coasts together and marvel at Rainbow Canyon before travelling over Cisco Crossing.

You will start seeing the landscape change again as you travel through the Okanagan Valley and Fraser Valley past Hells Gate before arriving in Vancouver.

Book a Canadian Railroad Trip for Your Next Great Holiday

Travelling around Canada by train isn’t just convenient—it’s also one of the best ways to admire the country's most scenic sights as you arrive at your final destination.

With the country’s extensive railroad system, you can get from one place to another without missing any of the scenery. Any time you look out of the train window, you’ll be greeted by magnificent views, whether in the big city or the Canadian Rockies.

Make your next holiday in Canada one to remember by going on a unique railroad excursion. Entire Travel offers special promotions for numerous routes for your next Canadian getaway. Check out all the options here.

When experience matters