The 14 Most Scenic Train Rides in Canada You Must Try

Most Scenic Train Rides Canada
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Hey there, fellow explorers! If you're on the lookout for an unforgettable adventure, we have just the ticket - literally. Canada's diverse landscapes serve as the backdrop for some of the most jaw-dropping scenic train trips you can imagine.

Where Are the Most Scenic Train Journeys in Canada?

Picture this: you're winding through towering mountains, cruising along pristine coastlines, and rolling through quaint towns; sounds beautiful, right? Well, this could soon be a reality, pack your bags, get your tickets and climb aboard for the journey of a lifetime as we explore the 14 best scenic train rides in Canada. 

1. Rocky Mountaineer: Majestic Journey through the Canadian Rockies

  • Route: Vancouver to Banff
  • Highlights: The towering mountain peaks of the Canadian Rockies, cascading waterfalls, and lush pine forests.
  • Accommodation: Fairmont Hotel, Banff Springs
  • Travel tip: Opt for a GoldLeaf Service for a panoramic glass-dome view.

A red train runs past a blue river, green trees and snow-capped mountains.

Starting our list of the best train trips in Canada with a bang, the Rocky Mountaineer's First Passage to the West is a kaleidoscope of natural wonders. Traverse the Rocky Mountains, witness deep canyons, and savour the elegance of Banff.

Luxurious hotels like Fairmont Vancouver and Fairmont Banff Springs await you at both ends, promising a perfect blend of comfort and adventure.

2. VIA Rail's The Canadian: Coast-to-Coast Extravaganza

  • Route: Toronto to Vancouver
  • Highlights: Endless prairies, the stunning Rockies, and the shimmering lakes of Northern Ontario.
  • Accommodation: Fairmont Hotel, Vancouver or sleeper train option
  • Travel tip: Book a Prestige Class private cabin for unparalleled luxury and personalized service.

A partial view inside a train carriage with windows that extend to the roof.

For maritime charm, hop aboard VIA Rail's The Ocean. Meander through picturesque landscapes as the train crosses Quebec and the Maritimes with an overnight stay at Halifax's historic downtown.

Your adventure concludes on the west coast of Vancouver, where the Fairmont Hotel awaits with its iconic blend of elegance and modernity.

3. Agawa Canyon Tour Train: Nature's Canvas in Ontario

  • Route: Sault Ste. Marie to Agawa Canyon
  • Highlights: Rugged landscapes, pristine lakes, and the breathtaking Agawa Canyon.
  • Accommodation: Delta Hotels by Marriott, Sault Ste. Marie
  • Travel tip: Visit in autumn for a spectacular display of golden foliage.

A train line winding past a river, green trees and mountains in the distance.

Unveiling the rugged beauty of the Canadian Shield, The Agawa Canyon Tour is a true gem. Travellers are treated to the breathtaking landscapes of Lake Superior and the Agawa Canyon Park.

Consider staying at Delta Hotels Sault Ste. Marie Waterfront or Quattro Hotel for a delightful post-journey retreat.

4. Coastal Passage – Pacific Rim Explorer: Oceanfront Elegance

  • Route: Seattle to Vancouver to Banff
  • Highlights: Coastal views, dense forests, and the serene Pacific Ocean.
  • Accommodation: Fairmont Hotel, Banff Springs
  • Travel tip: Explore the vibrant city of Vancouver before boarding for an extra dose of urban charm.

A parietal view of a blue and white train on tracks passing through trees by a river with mountains in the background.

Your train journey begins in Seattle, then winds through Vancouver, and culminates in Banff, this route showcases the best of the Pacific Northwest. Enjoy coastal views, dense forests, and the serene Pacific Ocean.

Before your train ride, explore the vibrant city of Vancouver to add an urban touch to your adventure. Cap off the journey with a stay at the Fairmont Hotel, Banff Springs.

5. The Ocean: Maritime Magic from Coast to Coast

  • Route: Halifax to Montreal
  • Highlights: Rugged cliffs, picturesque fishing villages, and the serene Gulf of St. Lawrence.
  • Accommodation: The Westin Nova Scotian, Halifax
  • Travel tip: Try local seafood specialties at Halifax's waterfront before departure.

A blue train travelling over tracks suspended on a bridge with large green trees ahead.

Take a maritime journey from Halifax in Nova Scotia to Montreal, revelling in the rugged cliffs, picturesque fishing villages, and the serene Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Rest your head at The Westin Nova Scotian in Halifax, savouring the local seafood delights before setting off on this coastal escapade. It's not just a train trip; it's a maritime odyssey.

6. Kettle Valley Steam Railway: Nostalgic Charm in British Columbia

  • Route: Summerland to Kettle Valley
  • Highlights: Rolling vineyards, charming orchards, and historic trestle bridges.
  • Accommodation: Summerland Waterfront Resort
  • Travel tip: Take the Great Estates Okanagan Wine Shuttle for a vineyard experience.

A 1st class train car with brown leather seats and white tablecloths.

Experience a touch of nostalgia on the Kettle Valley Steam Railway, weaving through Summerland to Kettle Valley. Marvel at rolling vineyards, charming orchards, and historic trestle bridges.

For a complete escape, find solace at the Summerland Waterfront Resort.

7. White Pass and Yukon Route: Klondike Gold Rush Adventure

  • Route: Skagway (Alaska) to Whitehorse (Yukon)
  • Highlights: Towering mountains, icy glaciers, and historic gold rush landmarks.
  • Accommodation: Best Western Gold Rush Inn, Whitehorse
  • Travel tip: Visit during the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous for a lively winter festival.

White Pass and Yukon Route

Embark on an adventure from Skagway in Alaska to Whitehorse in Yukon with the White Pass and Yukon Route. Traverse towering mountains, icy glaciers, and the historic landmarks of the Klondike Gold Rush. This ride is a thrilling expedition into Canada's northern wilderness, where history and nature converge in spectacular fashion.

Enjoy a tranquil stay at The Best Western Gold Rush Inn, Whitehorse.

8. Algoma Central Railway: Wilderness Wonders in Northern Ontario

  • Route: Sault Ste. Marie to Hearst
  • Highlights: Rugged landscapes, dense forests, and the stunning Agawa Canyon.
  • Accommodation: Halfway Haven Wilderness Lodge
  • Travel tip: Look out for wildlife sightings – moose, bears, and eagles are frequent visitors.

A view out the window of a moving train next to a blue river on a clear day.

Take train travel to a whole new level with the Algoma Central passenger train, which winds from Sault Ste. Marie to Hearst. Traverse rugged landscapes, dense forests, and the stunning Agawa Canyon.

This journey is a window into the untouched wilderness of Northern Ontario, promising glimpses of wildlife and landscapes that define Canada's untamed beauty.

A stay at the Halfway Haven Wilderness Lodge deepens your connection with the untouched wilderness of Northern Ontario, where every moment feels like a step into the heart of nature.

9. The Gaspe Peninsula: Seaside Splendor in Quebec

  • Route: Montreal to Gaspe
  • Highlights: Coastal cliffs, charming fishing villages, and the majestic Perce Rock.
  • Accommodation: Riotel Perce
  • Travel tip: Enjoy fresh seafood at local eateries in Gaspe.

Train tracks over red dirt with a still river, trees, and a mountain to the right.

Explore the coastal wonders of Quebec on the journey from Montreal to Gaspe. Witness dramatic coastal cliffs, charming fishing villages, and the iconic Perce Rock.

Nestle into the Riotel Perce for a cozy stay with stunning seaside views, letting you absorb the enchanting maritime charm of the Gaspe Peninsula.

If you're planning a winter trip, see our guide to the 12 best things to do in Montreal in winter for inspiration.

10. Royal Canadian Pacific: Opulent Luxury Across the Prairies

  • Route: Calgary to Jasper
  • Highlights: Rolling prairies, the majestic Rockies, and crystal-clear lakes.
  • Accommodation: Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge
  • Travel tip: Indulge in the exclusive gourmet dining experience aboard the train.

Breakfast in a first class train car, including an omelette, muffin, orange juice and fruit, with flowers and the train windows in the background.

Indulge in opulence on the Royal Canadian Pacific journey from Calgary to Jasper as you roll through the open grasslands, taking in the sights of the majestic Rockies and crystal-clear lakes.

Experience exclusive gourmet dining aboard and retire to the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge for a luxurious retreat amidst the majestic mountains of Alberta. Did you know Jasper National Park is one of the best places in Alberta to spot the Aurora Borealis? Check out our guide on where to see the Northern Lights in Alberta before planning your trip. 

11. Quebec City to Windsor: A Cultural Odyssey

  • Route: Quebec City to Windsor
  • Highlights: Historic architecture, charming towns, and the stunning Niagara Falls.
  • Accommodation: Fairmont Royal York, Toronto
  • Travel tip: Explore the vibrant culture of Quebec City before embarking on your journey.

A red train in snowy weather with snow-topped trees surrounding it.

Embark on a cultural odyssey, meandering from Quebec City to Windsor. Immerse yourself in historic architecture, explore charming towns, and marvel at the stunning Niagara Falls.

Your restful abode at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto adds a touch of historic elegance, offering a perfect blend of cultural richness and natural wonders.

12. The Polar Bear Express: Arctic Adventure in Northern Ontario

  • Route: Cochrane to Moosonee
  • Highlights: Dense boreal forests, remote landscapes, and a chance to glimpse the Northern Lights.
  • Accommodation: Adventure Inn, Cochrane
  • Travel tip: Visit in winter for a magical snow-covered landscape on your rail journey.

The inside of a train car with curved windows that extend to the roof, with trees outside, a blue sky and a mountain in the distance.

Experience a winter wonderland on The Polar Bear Express, journeying from Cochrane to Moosonee. Traverse dense boreal forests and remote landscapes to catch a glimpse of the magical Northern Lights.

After your arctic adventure, relax at the Adventure Inn in Cochrane, where the warmth of hospitality contrasts with the snowy landscapes you've explored.

If chasing the Aurora Borealis is your priority, check out our comprehensive guide to Northern Lights in Ontario, or check out our guide on the best winter getaways in Ontario.

13. Churchill Tundra Express: Arctic Wildlife Safari

  • Route: Churchill
  • Highlights: Experience vast tundra landscapes, encounter polar bears in the polar bear capital, and witness the Arctic's unique wildlife.
  • Accommodation: Tundra Inn in Churchill
  • Travel Tip: Pack binoculars to enhance your wildlife viewing experience, and don't forget to dress in layers for the Arctic climate.

A white train going over a railway bridge above a lake.

Explore vast tundra landscapes, encounter majestic polar bears, and witness the unique wonders of the Arctic's wildlife. The Churchill Tundra takes you on an unforgettable journey through Manitoba's northern wilderness, providing a rare and exhilarating glimpse into the heart of the Arctic ecosystem.

For a cozy retreat, stay at the Tundra Inn, immersing yourself in the northern wilderness.

14. Jasper to Prince Rupert Expedition: Coastal Majesty in British Columbia

  • Route: Jasper to Prince Rupert
  • Highlights: The mountainous landscapes of Jasper National Park and the coastal beauty of Prince Rupert. Dense forests, cascading waterfalls, and the breathtaking grandeur of the Pacific coastline.
  • Accommodation: Crest Hotel, Prince Rupert
  • Travel tip: Opt for a dome car seat for unobstructed views, and keep your camera handy for potential wildlife sightings along the route.

Inside a train car with curved windows reaching the ceiling, purple and yellow lights running down the length of the train, and rows of grey seats.

Embark on an extraordinary journey from the mountainous landscapes of Jasper to the coastal beauty of Prince Rupert. Marvel at dense forests, cascading waterfalls, and the breathtaking grandeur of the Pacific coastline.

Consider the Crest Hotel in Prince Rupert for a stunning harbour view, providing a perfect bookend for your coastal expedition.

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From the majestic Rockies to the coastal charm of Prince Rupert, each of these train trips offers a unique perspective on this vast and captivating country.

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V: 1.50.0 All rights reserved. January 2020