FAQs: General Travel Questions

Jasper Elk on Athabasca River

What is the best month to travel on the Rocky Mountaineer?

We get this question a lot and with good reason. Vacations are precious and we want to get the most out of the trip. So the answer to this question is, it depends. Here is information about each month the train goes, so you can decide what’s most important to you.

April: This is the least expensive month to travel. It’s also the coldest. You will experience winter in the Rockies. It’s generally beautiful, there are no crowds and the hotels and train are cozy and warm this time of year.

May: This is a more popular month to travel because the trips, especially early in May, are less expensive. You will still experience winter conditions in some parts of the Rockies. Consider, for example, that Lake Louise generally thaws in the middle of June. The first time I ever saw Lake Louise, it was frozen. And still it was so beautiful, I cried.

June: Prices are going up but still less than later in the season. Spring is coming to the Rockies and crowds have not yet arrived. The air is crisp and the days are luxuriously long. Bring a jacket, scarf and gloves for cool evenings and mornings. In the second half of June, Lake Louise will have thawed and you’ll see red canoes out on the lake.

July: The crowds are starting to arrive in the Rockies which makes it less sleepy and more vibrant. Activities are available in full force and you can experience all the excitement and beauty the Rockies have to offer.

August: Like July, August is high season in the Rockies. If you want to explore around Banff and Lake Louise, don’t do it in a car. Take a bus and see the sights.

September: The Rockies are starting to cool down and you’ll notice Fall comes earlier in the Rockies than it does in other places. At the same time, it generally rains less in September than either July or August and kids are back in school, so the crowds are smaller and slower. Still high season prices in the early part of September.

October: The train runs the first week in October and prices are lower and chances of snow are somewhat higher. This early snow, when it comes, adds a special beauty to the landscape and accentuates the trees. The leaves are turning and the mountains are dotted with yellow and orange wherever deciduous trees grow.

Does the Rocky Mountaineer travel to Toronto? Does it travel year round?

No. The Rocky Mountaineer goes as far east as Jasper National Park. ViaRail operates a train that goes to Jasper National Park and then on to Toronto, stopping along the way. The train trip from Jasper to Toronto takes three days and three nights.

The Rocky Mountaineer travels from the last week in April until the first week in October in 2021. Of course, this year, 2021, presents the challenges of the current pandemic. We can’t be sure when the train will begin operations this year but are optimistic, given that there is now a virus available.

Does the Rocky Mountaineer travel between Jasper National Park and Banff National Park?

No. Once you get to either Banff or Jasper, the train portion of your trip is over. The train travels between Vancouver and Jasper National Park and Vancouver and Banff National Park. The train stops at Lake Louise en route to Banff. You can travel between Jasper and Banff by bus or rental car and we arrange that transportation as part of your Rocky Mountaineer package.

Is electricity the same in Canada as the US?

Yes. Any appliance that works in the US will work in Canada.

Do I need to convert money to Canadian dollars before I come to Canada? How much do I tip?

Not necessarily. Your US credit card can be used anywhere you shop in Canada. However, it might be nice to have some Canadian cash for small purchases along the way. You can use your ATM card to get Canadian money once you arrive in Canada or you can exchange money at any local bank.

Cash is good for tips that you leave for the train and coach personnel. 15% – 25% tips are normal. On the train, most people give $20 per person per day.

How should I dress on the train?

Comfortably. Wear casual, comfortable clothes. Bring a light jacket if you want to go out on the vestibule to see the scenery and enjoy the fresh air. Life is casual in the Rockies. If you want to dress for dinner at the best hotels, bring a jacket for men and a dress or pants suit for women.