The Gold Rush Train in Canada

Most people who enjoy rail travel would have the ambition to undertake a jouney on Canada’s famous Rocky Mountaineer train at least once in their lives.

The best known route runs from Vancouver to Calgary, and vice versa, visiting both Kamloops and Banff. It is a fantastic trip, and the carriages are purpose built for viewing so that passengers can enjoy the incredible vistas as the pass the Coast Mountains, Fraser Canyon, Rogers Pass and the remarkably scenic Banff National Park.

Canada is fortunate to have many lines which pass through stunningly beautiful places and a good alternative to the popular route, or as a return trip, is to take the Gold Rush route, which extends from Jasper via Quesnel to Whistler, and then back down to Vancouver.

The city of Quesnel is called Gold Pan City because it is located on the gold mining trail, which was otherwise known as the Cariboo Wagon Road, and because you can’t miss the giant replica of a gold pan which greets you when you reach Quesnel.

Whistler, of course, was one of the main venues for the 2010 Winter Olympics, and so has many facilities that were purpose built for the Games.

Once the train departs Whistler heading east towards Jasper it keeps to the winding shores of Lake Anderson and Lake Seton. The train runs through the Fraser Canyon where the Fraser River has eaten its way through narrow, rocky gorges. The Fraser Canyon landscape is very different from the rich pine forests that we normally associate with the Canadian Rockies as the vegetation is sparse and almost desert-like. Once through the canyon, the line passes over the magnificent ranchlands that are part of the immense Cariboo Plateau.

Overnight is not spent on the train, as the scenery is too spectacular to waste passing through it at night, so accommodation is provided in Quesnel.

Day two of the journey begins with the train traversing the forests of Northern British Columbia after which it encounters the Rocky Mountain Trench where the Rockies rise steeply on one side and the Cariboo Mountains begin their sharp ascent on the other. During the stage of the journey the train passes Mount Robson, the Canadian Rockies highest peak, which soars to a height of 3,954 metres (12,972 feet), shortly before arriving in Jasper before nightfall.

The Rainforest to Gold Rush train provides another way for which to marvel at the magnificent Canadian scenery. It is a comfortable, inspiring and always interesting way to make your way overland through the alluring Western Canadian landscape.

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