Day 1: Depart Chicago
Best of the Canadian West tour members will meet the Tour Director in Chicago’s Union Station. The Metropolitan Lounge will be our base in Chicago. The Willis Tower, one of the world’s tallest buildings, is close by. Other Chicago attractions are a cab ride away.
At 2:15 p.m. we will depart on Amtrak’s Empire Builder for the 2200-mile journey across seven states to Seattle, Washington. Relax in your private Roomette sleeping accommodations. Bedrooms are available for an additional cost. Coffee, juice and water are available in the sleeping car. Go to the glass-walled Sightseer Lounge car for spectacular viewing. All dining car meals are included.
You’ll have time for a trainside walk when we arrive in Minneapolis-St. Paul this evening.
Day 2: En Route
During the day we will roll across the remote lands of North Dakota and eastern Montana. This evening a dramatic panorama of Rocky Mountain peaks will begin to rise above the horizon, becoming increasingly dynamic as we approach Glacier National Park. The scenery is striking as we wind past waterfalls, river gorges and other sights. The glass-walled lounge or dining car are excellent vantage points.
Meal(s): B, L & D
Day 3: En Route / Seattle
You may want to rise early to watch the sun come up over some spectacular scenery. This morning the Empire Builder will enter the 7.8-mile long Cascade Tunnel. Over the next two hours we’ll wind through the scenic Cascade Mountains and then through the lush Puget Sound area and ease into Seattle late morning.
We’ll have time for an “on-your-own” lunch at Pike’s Market and to do some exploring of the area.
At 3:15 p.m. we’ll board the Victoria Clipper, a high-speed catamaran for the two-and-a-half hour cruise through the San Juan Islands to Victoria.
Early this evening we’ll arrive in beautiful Victoria, North America’s most “British” city. Our hotel is the attractive, centrally located Embassy Inn. Dinner is included this evening.
Meal(s): B & D
Day 4: Victoria / Vancouver
Following a full breakfast (included) in the hotel this morning we will board our motorcoach and embark on a sightseeing tour of the city including the Parliament buildings, the Provincial Museum, the University of Victoria, the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, Uplands and Oak Bay residential areas and other sites. We’ll continue on to the world-famous Butchart Gardens, a 35-acre tapestry of brilliant colors. You’ll be overwhelmed by the beauty of the flowers and the spectacular setting in which you find them.
Following our visit we’ll board a British Columbia ferry for the hour-and-a-half scenic crossing of the Strait of Georgia, departure is scheduled for 4:00 p.m.
We’ll arrive in Vancouver at 5:35 p.m. and transfer to the Blue Horizon, our home for this evening.
Day 5: Vancouver
You’re free this morning to rest or enjoy some of Vancouver’s attractions.
Vancouver is one of North America’s most prosperous cities and one of its most beautiful. This afternoon we’ll embark on a three-and-a-half hour sightseeing tour of the city. The tour will include Gastown, Chinatown, Stanley Park, English Bay, Marine Drive, the waterfront and Queen Elizabeth Park.
We’ll enjoy dinner at The Keg, one of Vancouver’s fine restaurants. (included).
We will transfer to Pacific Central Station and embark on one of the world’s greatest rail passenger experiences . . . The Canadian.
At 8:30 p.m. we’ll begin to roll eastward and travel through the heart of the Canadian Rockies, 537 miles to Jasper. You’ll want to be in the Panorama Car for the departing reception.
Day 6: En Route
Breakfast and lunch aboard the Canadian are included. You’ll want to rise early this morning, enjoy breakfast in the dining car and afterward head for one of the all-glass, bubble-top Vista Dome cars. You may just be fortunate enough to catch the sun rising over the brilliant peaks and pine forests of the Canadian Rockies. Our train will wind between some of the highest peaks in the Canadian Rockies.
The most stunning scenery will be experienced as we follow the Miette River toward Jasper. We’ll roll by the spectacular Mt. Robson, the highest peak in the Rockies at 12,972 feet; and then cross Yellowhead Pass, one of the lowest passes along the Continental Divide. We’ll arrive in the quaint mountain village of Jasper at 4:00 p.m. Our home for the night is the conveniently located Whistler’s Inn.
Meal(s): B & L
Day 7: Icefields Parkway / Banff
Today our travelers will experience the Icefields Parkway, North America’s most scenic highway. We’ll visit the Columbia Icefield and Athabasca Falls. A ride out onto the Athabasca Glacier in a specialized Snocoach will be a highlight of the tour. Frequent photo stops will be made.
Another high point of the tour will be the visit to Lake Louise and its famous Chateau. The setting is one of the most picturesque in the Rockies. A boxed lunch will be served en route.
We will arrive in Banff by late afternoon. Our lodging for the next two nights will be the beautiful Moose Hotel and Suites.
Day 8: Banff
Following an included breakfast we will embark on a Discover Banff Tour. The highlight of the tour will be the gondola ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain for a spectacular view.
You are free this afternoon and evening to relax, shop along Banff Avenue, or visit the Natural History or Parks Canada Museums.
Day 9: Shelby
Following an included breakfast we will board our motorcoach for Calgary.
We will visit the 626-foot Calgary Tower, one of the city’s major attractions. We’ll enjoy lunch (included) in the Tower’s revolving restaurant and the panoramic view of the city and the nearby Rockies.
Following lunch we’ll visit the Glenbow Museum. Colorful displays trace the history of the settlement of Western Canada.
We will board our motorcoach and continue on to Shelby, Montana. An “on-your-own” dinner stop will be made.
Upon arrival we will check in to the Best Western Shelby Inn & Suites, our home for the night.
Meal(s): B & L
Day 10: En Route
Following an included Continental breakfast we will transfer to the Shelby Amtrak Station. At 11:33 a.m. we’ll board Amtrak’s Empire Builder. Relax in your comfortable, private room sleeping accommodations. All full-course meals are included beginning with lunch. The Sightseer Lounge car is a great place to view the scenery and to reminisce with your fellow tour members about all you saw and did in the past 10 days.
Meal(s): CB, L & D
Day 11: En Route to Chicago
Breakfast and lunch on the train are included. We’ll go through Minneapolis-St. Paul, then head south along the west bank of the Mississippi River. The train winds between the river bank and high bluffs. Later in the morning, we pass through the picturesque Dells Country of Wisconsin. The Empire Builder is scheduled to arrive in Chicago’s Union Station late this afternoon.
At the conclusion of the tour some travelers will continue to home destinations. Others will spend the night in Chicago and continue home tomorrow.
Meal(s): B & L