The beautiful Canadian Rockies are situated about 500 miles east of Vancouver and while the city isn’t particularly close, it is an excellent place from where to begin your epic journey through one of the world’s most famous mountain ranges. These mountains lay within the protected national park areas of Banff, Jasper, Yoho and Kootenay.
Offering some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, the Rocky Mountains can be taken in by car, viewed on a romantic scenic journey by rail or explored on a guided excursion by coach. From the high mountain peaks to thick forests and crystal clear lakes and streams, these parks contain scenes of immense natural beauty and there are several small towns from where you can stay and explore the region more in depth. The city of Jasper is located in the northern stretches of the national parks while Banff and Canmore are in the southern regions.
Reaching the Rockies from Vancouver is about an eight and a half hour drive non-stop. Driving is of course the most flexible and economical method when exploring this vast region and in the summer and early autumn (June through September) driving conditions on the paved roads are excellent. Winter months however can be tricky as snowy conditions and icy roads create treacherous conditions.
Coach tours vary and some even combine rail journeys on portions of the tour. While a bus excursion may not be as flexible as having your own car, these tours stop at many of the best lookouts and include many popular and memorable sites. For those not wanting to drive themselves, coach tours are an excellent alternative when selecting the itinerary best suited to the travellers taste.
There are a couple of train journeys to choose from when departing Vancouver. The VIA Rail travels between Vancouver and Jasper and is a rail link that runs all year round with services operating three days a week. For the higher-end market, The Rocky Mountaineer runs from April to October to Banff during daylight hours only for maximum viewing pleasure. Once a week the train continues on to Calgary.