The Rocky Mountaineer train trips across Western Canada are spectacular. Nevertheless, after a long day sitting on the train, stretching out your legs on a run, walk or saunter during any of the Rocky Mountaineer stops is a must.
When you only often have one evening in a town, it can be difficult to know where you can shake out the cobwebs and get a little physical activity, especially when you usually get into town after tourist offices are closed. HI Travel Tales scoped out a few places for you to stretch out on a run, a walk or a simple sightseeing saunter in each stop. Especially after feasting on all that superb Rocky Mountaineer food, you’ll want to know where to run or where to walk. We certainly did. Plus, a little outdoor adventure just adds to the beauty of the entire Rocky Mountain train experience.
Rocky Mountaineer stops: First Passage to the West
Vancouver – The starting point for many on a journey, Vancouver is easy. You will usually be staying right in town so visit on foot the fantastic British Columbia city prior to your Rocky Mountaineer train vacation. If you are staying downtown, head straight to Stanley Park for a run or walk. This park is a protected area on a peninsula beloved by locals for its convenience to trails, both dirt and road, not to mention the views. If you are staying a bit more toward the Rocky Mountaineer station and departure point on Cottrell Street, you can find plenty of trails and paths along “False Creek,” the large water inlet smack in town. Vancouver tourism in fact lists walks and their distances for you, including several along False Creek, as well as others.
Kamloops – If you are heading east from Vancouver on the Rocky Mountaineer, this is your next stop. Kamloops is a rather itty-bitty place, but with the South Thompson River flowing right through town, we were overjoyed to find that the founding fathers thought to put in trails. You can find a great place to run or walk right along the river, through town and Pioneer Park. Just keep going on what is called “The Rivers Trail.” We headed through the park and toward North Thompson before turning to head back and enjoy the summer evening concert in Pioneer Park.
Banff/Lake Louise – Next stop and the eastern terminus of the Rocky Mountaineer is Banff with fabled Lake Louise right next door. Many folks stay a few days then fly home, while some stay and then head up to Jasper to head home on a different route westward. Some don’t stay at all (Their loss! Banff and the area is beautiful. Don’t miss it.) If you are staying in Banff, there are plenty of trails not only just off Tunnel Mountain, but also along the Bow River. If you are heading to Lake Louise – either to stay there or visit – we can’t begin to describe the beauty of the trails in the area. We took on an all-day loop out to the Plain of Six Glaciers, to St. Agnes Teahouse, and beyond. You can also just do a nice walk on a relatively flat stretch along Lake Louise, starting right in front of the Fairmont Lake Louise. Any walk is a good walk in the Lake Louise area!
Rocky Mountaineer stops: Coastal Passage
Jasper – This is a town that is all about outdoor activity. You can step out your hotel in the quaint downtown and be on a trail in minutes. However, on a Rocky Mountaineer stopover, you may only have time for something short. In that case, do what we did and head across Hazel Avenue Bridge, cross the highway, and turn left on a small trail in the woods. (You can also go a bit farther to Old Fort Point Road before you turn left, but the woods are more fun!) The trail circles back around to Old Fort Point Road. Cross Athabasca River and just keep going into the so-called Henry House area of lakes and waterways. And trails. You could circle Beauvert Lake or just follow your nose until you’re ready to go back. One trail goes along the Athabasca River too.
Quesnel (“Qweh-nelle”) – There is not a lot of time in this little town that is reliant on the lumber industry. There is a trail system, the Riverfront Trail, where you can stretch out on a walk or run after your arrival, however. Certainly not as well developed as other areas, it is nevertheless something, encircling downtown. A little more than a half-mile of it on the Fraser River runs through a greenway.
Whistler – A ski and mountain bike bum’s paradise, Whistler has top recreation out every door, of course – well marked and groomed. And very well trafficked. One prime destination for quick ventures is the Lost Lake trail network. This area is a stone’s-throw from the central part of town, situated just north of the Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Club and off Blackcomb Way. Of course the mountains in the Whistler area can be pretty rugged. Lost Lake’s trail network, however, offers a slightly more mellow shake-out for those looking for a place to run or walk after a long day of sitting.
And there you have it, a quick look at where you can walk, where you can run, where you can hike, and where you can just enjoy a little walkabout after a day on the Rocky Mountaineer train. Enjoy the train and the scenery. Then enjoy each town and its beauty.