How to Prepare for the Canadian Rockies Train Trip

Memories gone by of traveling on VIA Rail train. - Traveling Islanders | Train travel, Canada travel vancouver, Canada travel
Have you ever thought about touring Canada by train? Well, it goes beyond traveling from one station to another. The best rail journeys are unhurried and luxurious. Just get on board, relax, and enjoy the scenery, meals, and services. You do not have to alight at any gas station, look at the map to be sure of your destination, or kill time by reading a magazine in the airport lounge.

Canada has several beautiful sceneries, and the Canadian Rockies has become one of the favorite destinations of travelers and tourists. It is home to four national parks and attractive resort towns. Going there by train is one experience that you will not forget easily.

So, as soon as you decide to make the trip, the next thing to think about is how to prepare. This article is aimed at giving you all the details you need about the things to pack for the trip. The weather could be a deciding factor, but there is more. And if you have no idea about how to get train tickets and accommodation, you can check out for detailed information.

Factors to Consider When Planning a Train Trip to the Canadian Rockies

Rockies Essentials | Canada Rail Vacations

Before we discuss the items that you would need on this trip, it is important to look at some other factors that could influence your trip.

1. When Do You Plan to Travel?

The best time to travel could be May because winter will be over and the prices of train tickets will be lower, too. It would be cheaper compared with September, August, July, and June. In addition to the prices, the temperatures in Lake Loise, Banff, and Jasper will be lower in May.

Lake Louise is 5449 feet above sea level and on average, it thaws around June 15. Banff is 4541 feet above sea level while Jasper is 3484 feet. These locations experience less rain in May than in August, July, and June.

Additionally, traveling around the 1st week of October is usually less costly than in the summer months. The temperatures are warmer than in May. You will most likely experience snow in May compared with the first few days of October.

The Canadian Rockies is busiest in August and July while June is usually quiet. This is because most children in Canada go on holiday on the first day of July. You can click here to see the best times to visit Banff.

2. What is the Duration of the Trip?

Different factors can determine this such as your budget and how much time you have off work. In order to decide on the duration of your trip, you may want to check the things you plan to do and see there. Do you want to explore Vancouver after or before the trip to the Rocky Mountains? Or do you just want to have the Rockies experience by train or both?

Will you prefer a trip that starts in Calgary and stops in Vancouver or the other way round? Or would you rather book a round trip that starts and ends in Calgary?

3. What Type of Accommodation Will You Prefer?

Depending on your budget, there are several accommodation options. You can decide to camp as there are lots of campgrounds around the Canadian Rockies. You can also book a hotel or a hostel. You may want to choose a comfortable and moderate hotel. It is important to book early else, it would be difficult to get your desired accommodation.

Things to Pack for a Canadian Rockies Trip by Rail

Highlights from the Canadian Rockies + A Few Places Not to Miss!

Deciding on the items to take along on the train trip is more complex than you might think. Vancouver could be experiencing a rise in temperature while Lake Louise, Banff, and Jasper may be chilly. And this does not include the other adventures on the itinerary.

While on the trip, you have to dress to be comfortable, but this does not mean that you would rock all your casual wear. Having different clothes that you can put on and take off is a necessity, even during summer. You may want to check out these summer capsule wardrobe ideas for a Canadian Rockies trip.

Packing List for Summer, Early Fall, and Late Spring

During these periods, the temperatures may be cooler, especially at night. Mosquitoes could also constitute a nuisance around late spring to early summer. And this could be disturbing to hikers crossing through forest areas, wetlands, or lakes.

You need the following:

  1. A pair of flat footwear for sightseeing
  2. A pair of hiking sandals, hiking boots or shoes, or sturdy trail runners
  3. Lightweight long and short-sleeved shirts for sun protection
  4. Long pants
  5. A warmer sweater or hoodie, a pullover, or a lightweight fleece jacket
  6. Windproof or waterproof jacket or a foldable nylon poncho
  7. A daypack for snacks, camera, and extra clothing while hiking
  8. Insect repellent, sunglasses, a hat, UV lip balm, sunblock
  9. Bathing suit
  10. Refillable water bottles

Packing List for Autumn and Spring (Early October/September and Early June/May/Late April)

When the seasons are transitioning, the weather could fluctuate, and packing for such periods could be difficult. You may not need the exact type of dressing for the winter months, but you still have to pack the following:

  1. Lightly insulated gloves
  2. A scarf
  3. A hat
  4. Long-sleeved shirts
  5. A mid-weight warm jacket
  6. Comfortable pants
  7. A pair of light jeans

Packing List for Winter

During this season, it is important to stay warm and dry. You need the following:

  1. A sweater or pullover
  2. Cotton or wool pants for outdoor activities
  3. An insulated and windproof outer jacket
  4. A pair of warm, waterproof shoes or boots that can keep the temperature down to -30 degrees Celsius
  5. Gloves or mittens
  6. A disposable warming pack for your gloves and boots.
  7. A neck warmer or a scarf or both
  8. A hat to keep your head warm, or a toque with a fleece band
  9. Long sleeve or turtle-neck shirts and a sweater
  10. Sunglasses for when sunlight will reflect through the snow, which is incredibly bright
  11. Lip balm or chapstick
  12. Merino wool socks
  13. A jacket made of thin fleece that you can wear under a heavy-weight coat
  14. Small packs of tissue in case you experience running nose due to the cold

Other Items to Bring on the Trip

  1. You can keep a journal to complement your photos if you would be doing lots of sightseeing in the Rockies. Everything may scramble and make a mess of the memories, but your journal will help to organize them.
  2. A pair of binoculars is great for viewing wildlife. And you can do this from a safe and comfortable distance.
  3. You will need a camera, phone, or tablet to capture images, memory cards, chargers, and batteries.
  4. Your passport, visa, and other travel documents
  5. Toiletries and underwears

You may also want to visit to see some of the best places to visit in the Canadian Rockies.


A trip to the Rockies by train is an awesome experience. Why not make it worthwhile by planning ahead of time? You can use the packing lists we shared in this article.


Scroll to Top