Rocky Mountaineer Train in the U.S.A.

Golden light on the Rocky Mountaineer train

History of the Rocky Mountaineer

The Rocky Mountaineer train has been operating between Vancouver and the Canadian Rockies for 30 years. The company, founded in 1990 and based in Vancouver, BC, offered all daylight train service between Vancouver and the Canadian Rockies with an overnight stay in Kamloops, a town in the British Columbia interior. And despite the many changes the company has initiated, they still operate, a now famous, luxury train trip to the Canadian Rockies.

The company has garnered many awards including “World’s Leading Travel Experience by Train,” the world’s top train ride and National Geographic Magazine ranked it one of the “World’s Best Journeys” in 2007.

For perhaps the last decade Rocky Mountaineer has considered operating in the United States as well and, for a few years, operated a service between Seattle, Vancouver and Banff and Jasper National Park.

When the pandemic began, Rocky Mountaineer realized the border between Canada and the United States might remain closed for an indeterminate length of time and the train wouldn’t run in 2020. They took this opportunity to go full steam ahead (pun intended) on their plans to expand into the United States.

Rocky Mountaineer Train Service in the Colorado Rockies

And since they know the Canadian Rockies, Rocky Mountaineer decided the best place to start was the American equivalent, the magnificent Colorado Rockies and Utah Red Rocks and canyons. And so the new Rockies to Red Rocks route was established between Denver, Colorado and Moab, Utah, perhaps the most scenic train route in the United States. (Not counting, of course, the wonderful Small Railroads and Routes in other parts of Colorado.)

In order to present a full set of options, Rocky Mountaineer added Salt Lake City and Las Vegas into the mix to produce 9 great packages that stretch from the two day train trip between Denver and Moab to The 7 night / 8 day Rockies to the Red Rocks at Leisure tour that includes visits to 4 National Parks, (Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce and Zion) Monument Valley, Lake Powell, and the Grand Canyon.

One difference between the Canadian Rockies tours and the Colorado Rockies tours is that the Canadian train trips include two levels of service on the train: SilverLeaf and GoldLeaf. American packages will include SilverLeaf Service only. Rocky Mountaineer wanted to include GoldLeaf until they discovered that the GoldLeaf cars were too tall to fit through some of the tunnels along the Denver/Moab route. Glad they measured.

To compensate for the missing GoldLeaf cars, Rocky Mountaineer is offering both SilverLeaf and SilverLeaf Plus experience on the route between Denver and Moab. SilverLeaf Plus includes a private lounge car for the exclusive use of SilverLeaf Plus travelers complete with a mixologist, complimentary beverages and an upscale dinner.