- I spent 15 hours traveling on the Rocky Mountaineer train from Denver, Colorado to Moab, Utah.
- The train's glass dome windows made for a great atmosphere and I wasn't worried about my luggage.
- However, the observation deck and vegetarian meals were not what I expected.
I spent 15 hours over two days on one of the most luxurious trains in the world.
If you mention trains and luxury, the Rocky Mountaineer, with its large glass-domed windows, is probably the talk of the town.
The World Travel Awards named Rocky Mountaineer the2021 World leader in luxury train Gewinner, and has been described by publications as one of the most luxurious trains in the worldCNNjtravel and leisure.
Last year, the Canadian rail company launched its fourth route, believed to be its first outside the United States.Rocky Mountains to Red Rocks, which carries passengers between Denver, Colorado; Glenwood Springs, Colorado; and Moab, Utah, over the course of two days.
i am maiI boarded the royal blue and gold trainwhere I spent a total of 15 hours on my way from the Rockies to Red Rocks. I bought the ticket on sale for $1,052; it usually costs $1,465. Insider paid for the change in accordance with our reporting standards.
With such a high price, I had high expectations. Here Rocky Mountaineer met them and where they failed.
I thought the glass dome windows lived up to the hype.
Rocky Mountain's main attraction is its glass dome windows, which offer expansive views of the passing scenery.
Of course, they looked quaint, but I wanted to know if they really create a different atmosphere than traditional rectangular windows with straight edges.
But as soon as I got on the train, the answer was immediately yes.
I could see the peaks of mountains and the bottoms of valleys created by rushing water, things I wouldn't have seen without the wide curved windows. I thought the windows created an environment that felt more like a vacation and less like a commute.
The different landscapes I saw through the glass dome windows were the best part of the trip.
Not only were the windows themselves impressive, but the route taken by the train as it traveled through the American Southwest showed off an impressive part of the country.
One minute I was looking at green meadows. Then I looked at valleys with powerful rapids. The next day I saw miles and miles of Utah's famous red sandstone desert.
Every minute of the entire trip was filled with mesmerizing views, and these views are ultimately why people book a Rocky Mountaineer trip.
The rail company operates routes in locations famous for its scenery, from Banff, Canada, to Lake Louise, Canada.
The awe-inspiring views helped me understand why the company's newest route passes through this part of the United States.
Unlike overnight trains, the Rocky Mountaineer calls itself a “day train,” meaning I had a few hours to explore it during an overnight stop.
All Rocky Mountaineer trains are "day trains", meaning that passengers sleep in a hotel each night.instead of in cars like Amtrak Roommettes.
At first, the concept seemed like a nuisance. I thought I would carry my suitcase to and from the hotel and the train. He envisioned a long walk or drive to the hotel and was concerned about any privacy aboard the train.
Ultimately, I thought the "day train" concept was clever. It made the Rocky Mountaineer ride feel like a vacation that was about the ride rather than just getting from point A to B.
I only stayed one night on my trip to Glenwood Springs, where I had a few hours to explore. Had she taken an Amtrak train, the short stop probably wouldn't have been long enough to get off.
also has aconventional hotel room, which was included in the price of my train journey, instead of a roommetteIt meant a comfortable private room with my own shower, a queen bed, and more space to lie down for the night.
My luggage waiting for me in my hotel room was a pleasant surprise.
Most of my concerns about an “all day train” were allayed when our train manager, Zach Lucas, announced how the Glenwood Springs station worked.
From the train station, Lucas pointed out the hotel where most of the passengers would be staying. Fortunately, it was only a five minute walk from the train station.
The best news was that we didn't have to worry about our luggage. He was already waiting for us in our individual hotel rooms.
This meant that I didn't have to worry about anything else until the point of disembarkation, except for them.Backpack I packed for the train ride. There was no waiting to get my bag or worries about lugging the overstuffed bag up a flight of stairs.
And it was the same process the next morning. When I left my hotel room to board the train, I left my luggage behind. Later, when we got to Moab, he was waiting for me again.
The lack of a cellular network allowed me to connect with passengers and enjoy the passing nature.
For me, a lack of cell phone service often comes with a thick layer of grime. The only time I can completely switch it off is when I'm camping or hiking in a remote area of Colorado.
But a significant portion of the train route from the Rockies to Red Rocks lacked cellphone coverage. So sitting in the air conditioning sipping a gin and tonic without being distracted by TikTok or texting was a surprising bonus to the trip, allowing me to disconnect and focus on the passing scenery and my fellow travelers. Had I been tethered to my phone I might have missed out on fully enjoying these moments.
However, not everything was so simple. I struggled to find a train route, which made planning the logistics a challenge.
Before booking the Rocky Mountaineer, I researched the website to better understand the train schedules.
I knew that Glenwood Springs was a two and a half hour drive from Denver, so I naively thought the train would add an hour or two to the travel time (the first day it was a nine hour drive). I wondered if the train would leave in the late morning or if I would spend an entire afternoon and night in Glenwood Springs.
I also planned to rent a drop shaped car and trailer for my time in Moab. Both reservations required a pick up time, but I had no idea when we would arrive in Moabto to schedule my reservations.
After booking and paying for my seat on the train, I still had no idea what the schedule would be like. The itineraries I found showed dates, but I couldn't find specific times.
Passengers only found out about the schedules 30 days before the trip. Only then was an email sent with the meeting times at which passengers were expected to board the train on both days. However, this itinerary was still without arrival times.
In a statement sent to Insiders, a spokesperson saida link for guests to view itinerariesfor all Rocky Mountaineer trains.
Somehow I lost the webpage, and after searching the railroad website and my email inbox, I finally gave up and called Rocky Mountaineer customer service. Fortunately, they were incredibly responsive and were able to share estimated arrival times.
I thought the meeting at Union Station in Denver was a waste of time.
One day before the tripI packed a suitcaseand checked my travel documents. Documents sent a few days before the trip with the final times showed that I was supposed to check in at Denver Union Station around 7:45 am. M
Union Station is Denver's main transportation hub, so I thought I'd board the Rocky Mountaineer there. I was wrong, and instead we boarded a bus that took us to the train tracks in Denver's River North neighborhood.
The whole process took me an hour and a half. As I live a 10 minute walk from where we boarded the train, I wish I had gone straight there.
A Rocky Mountaineer spokesperson told me that riders are not allowed to assemble on the River North District Railroad tracks because it is an active rail terminus and poses a safety risk.
He added that "most of our guests stay at a downtown Denver hotel the night before they depart, so Denver Union Station provides a central meeting place."
While I understand that having a downtown meeting point makes sense for most travelers, I could have saved time and an Uber fare if I had the option to pick up from the River North District location.
The early departure times of the trains weren't for me either.
As the train approached Glenwood Springs, Lucas stopped at each car to make announcements.
He explained that we would be spending the night at the Hotel Colorado and that our train attendant would deliver the room keys after he departed. Lucas went on to say that our luggage was already in our hotel room and that we all had to be back at the train station by 6:30 am.
At the mention of dawn, the passengers, including me, muttered and groaned. Lucas was quick to assure us that free coffee would be waiting for us at the train station before we boarded.
I thought 6:30 am. M. They felt early for a train ride planned as a holiday.
While I'm glad the train stayed overnight, I wish I had more time to explore Glenwood Springs.
The Rocky Mountaineer pulled into the Glenwood Springs station at 6:30 pm. M
I thought a visitor could easily spend an entire weekend in the city, which is dotted with cute little shops, ice cream parlors and cozy restaurants. It's also hard to visit the city without seeing its hot springs, nature trails and a mountaintop amusement park.
I got off the train thinking about how to prioritize my few hours in the city.
Lastly, I ended up taking a dip in the hot springs. By the time I got out of the fountains, showered and got ready for dinner, most of the restaurants were closed.
A few more hours exploring Glenwood Springs would have been nice, but as another passenger on the train told me, "It was a good taste of the city and we'll have to come back another time."
I was excited about the diet options on the train when booking, but was disappointed with the meals served.
When I booked my trip with Rocky Mountaineer, guests were instructed to specify their dietary preferences and restrictions. I am a pescatarian and was thrilled to see all the options the train offers guests. You can choose from Asian vegetarian dishes, diabetic dishes, gluten-free dishes, low-fat dishes, lactose-free dishes, vegan dishes and ovo-lacto vegetarian dishes.
I eat eggs and dairy, checked the vegetarian option and was looking forward to a train journey with solid vegetarian options.
When I walked in I was underwhelmed by the menu. Had a parfait option for breakfast as a non-meat eater but no vegetarian option for lunch. I told the chef in my car that I don't eat meat, and although he helped me find alternatives, I thought my meals looked mediocre compared to the main offerings.
At lunch I had the starter salad that everyone had, and for the main course they served me the same salad, only this time with a side dish of hummus, carrots and broccoli.
On the second day, the breakfast menu featured the same parfait, and I could also order the boiled egg and meatless frittata. After breakfast, the train served an appetizer of chicken flautas. Since I couldn't eat that, the chef created an egg and mushroom dish for me.
A Rocky Mountaineer spokesperson said: “Our team will make every effort to accommodate dietary preferences where possible. Kitchen space is limited. So if we know ahead of time, there's an opportunity to work with our culinary team to offer more dining options on board."
He added that "Vegetarian meals are sourced and prepared in addition to the standard menu and may vary depending on the freshest options the kitchen staff can offer."
While I'm used to tailoring what I eat to my dietary preferences, the detailed booking process had me expecting more options.
The train advertises an outdoor viewing area, but the space cannot accommodate more than two passengers at a time. I liked the view from the wagon better.
the rock climberannounced trainswith outdoor observation areas throughout the trip. I envisioned a large room with enough space for a handful of passengers and the ability to get a better view of passing scenery.
The reality was that the viewing area was a small space between each car. It had room for just two passengers, and its open window didn't offer the same view as seen from the curves inside the train.
I originally planned to spend most of my train ride outdoors, but after seeing the space, I only entered the observation area a few times during the two-day trip.
I left Rocky Mountaineer with a new understanding of the American West and a fondness for arched-window train rides.
While some aspects of the ride felt underwhelming, the best parts of Rocky Mountaineer easily outweighed the worst parts.
Of course, I wish there were more restaurants or hours in Glenwood Springs, but the varied scenery, impressive windows, and friendly travelers left a lasting impression.
Is Rocky Mountaineer worth the money? ›
Silver Leaf vs Gold Leaf Service
I rode the Rocky Mountaineer at the Gold Leaf service level and can say it's definitely worth the additional costs. The upper level dome windows and outdoor viewing areas make for such an immersive experience – you don't want to pay all that money to not have the best view possible!
|ROCKIES TO THE RED ROCKS TWO-DAY RAIL (MOAB TO DENVER)|
|PRICE FROM USD $ 1,250 + TAX PER PERSON BASED ON DOUBLE OCCUPANCY|
|HOTEL NIGHTS||1 NIGHT|
Rocky Mountaineer Train Tips. Which side of the train is best? From Kamloops to Banff, sit on the left side of the train. If you're heading the opposite direction from Banff to Kamloops sit on the right hand side.Which Rocky Mountaineer trip is best? ›
First Passage to the West is one of the best Rocky Mountaineer scenic routes because it takes passengers through the historic Spiral Tunnels and provides sweeping views of the Canadian Rockies. For even more scenery, pair the First Passage to the West itinerary with another Rocky Mountaineer route on a Circle Tour.Are drinks free on Rocky Mountaineer? ›
As part of our rail travel package, Rocky Mountaineer guests are served hot, gourmet meals with gourmet snacks and complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages while onboard Rocky Mountaineer.Where do you sleep on the Rocky Mountaineer train? ›
As the train travels during daylight only, every rail journey includes overnight accommodation at a mid-point destination in either Kamloops*, Whistler and Quesnel, or Glenwood Springs. Kamloops is located in the heart of the Thompson Okanagan region of British Columbia between Vancouver and the Canadian Rockies.What meals are included on Rocky Mountaineer? ›
What meals are included with the Rocky Mountaineer train trip? Breakfast and lunch are included both days you're on the train. All other meals, except those included in individual packages, are on your own.Do you get breakfast on the Rocky Mountaineer? ›
You will be served meals, alcoholic, and non-alcoholic beverages on the train. For all morning departures, breakfast will start shortly after departure; however, this may be several hours after leaving your hotel room, so you may want to have a light snack prior to departing from your hotel.Is there a dress code for the Rocky Mountaineer? ›
Dress onboard Rocky Mountaineer is casual. Here are some recommendations on what you may want to wear onboard the train: Comfortable, cool layers as there are expansive windows. A light jacket or sweater as the air conditioning may feel just right for some, but chilly for others.How much do you tip the Rocky Mountaineer? ›
Aboard Rocky Mountaineer
SilverLeaf Service (2-Day Route): Our past guests have left gratuities based on their overall service experience ranging from $70 to $90 per couple ($35 to $45 per guest) for a two-day onboard experience, which is shared between the Hosts in your coach.
Is it cold on the Rocky Mountaineer train? ›
We suggest that you wear comfortable, cool layers as the dome coaches have expansive windows. Please bring a light jacket or sweater as the air conditioning may feel just right for some but a bit chilly for others. Temperatures fluctuate throughout the day as you will be travelling through various climate regions.How much do you tip on Rocky Mountaineer train? ›
SilverLeaf Plus Service: Gratuities are at the guest's discretion, but suggested gratuities range from $110 per couple ($55 per guest) for a two-day onboard experience, which is shared between the Hosts. Gratuities are not a requirement and are completely at your discretion.How many bathrooms are on the Rocky Mountaineer train? ›
Two restrooms in each gold leaf carriage for max of ~70 passengers.What is the best season for Rocky Mountaineer? ›
Weather. Summertime is peak season in the Rocky Mountains. June to August typically offers long sunny days, warm weather, and minimal rain. By August, only the most stubborn snow clings to the mountain tops, and the roads are lined with blooming wildflowers.Does the Rocky Mountaineer have bedrooms? ›
Rocky Mountaineer travels by daylight through the wild beauty of Canada's West. As an all daylight train journey there are no sleeping cabins onboard. All overnights along the train journey will be spent in our partner hotel accommodations.What is the difference between gold & silver on the Rocky Mountaineer? ›
Gold Leaf offers exclusive outdoor viewing in a large, open-air vestibule, and Silver Leaf provides outdoor viewing between coaches, allowing either service to view the mighty Canadian landscape and maybe even spot a bear!How long is the Rocky Mountaineer train ride? ›
It runs roughly once a week from mid-April to mid-October, and the journey takes 3 full days with 2 overnight hotel stops at Whistler & Quesnel included in the fare.Are seats assigned on the Rocky Mountaineer? ›
How is seating assigned onboard the train? At check-in, guests receive a boarding pass with their pre-assigned seat and overnight accommodation details. If guests have special seating requests, such as sitting near a friend who has booked separately, they can advise Rocky Mountaineer at the time of booking.Which is better via rail or Rocky Mountaineer? ›
Train holidays with VIA Rail are a more economical way to experience Canada. Unlike the Rocky Mountaineer which offers daylight only services, the VIA Rail trains operate throughout the day and night getting you to your destination sooner.Is Rocky Mountaineer a round trip? ›
Rocky Mountaineer Round Trip Tours.
|Golden Circle||Grand Rail Circle|
|Includes 6 Nights in the Canadian Rockies||Includes 7 Nights in the Canadian Rockies|
Where does the Rocky Mountaineer train start and end? ›
It begins or ends in Banff or Lake Louise. Transfers are available between Banff/Lake Louise and Calgary airport or downtown Calgary. Passengers can travel between Calgary and the Canadian Rockies by shuttle bus, tour bus or rental car.Does the Rocky Mountaineer have sleeper cars? ›
An overnight train without sleeper cars
In fact, there are no sleeper cars at all on any of the Rocky Mountaineer's routes. Instead, guests disembark the train each evening and spend the night in a local hotel.
Our passenger size can vary depending on the journey. Last season, we had approximately 180 guests on our smallest journey and 900 guests on our largest journey. If you have any further questions please contact one of our vacation consultants at 1-800-665-7245.Is there a dining car on Glacier Express? ›
See Glacier Express seating plan. There is a food service car, but staff come down the train taking orders for drinks, snacks and lunch.What is Gold Leaf Deluxe on Rocky Mountaineer? ›
GoldLeaf Deluxe is also available. GoldLeaf deluxe packages include the same GoldLeaf Service on the train as GoldLeaf. However, GoldLeaf Deluxe includes better hotel rooms at each destination. Either they are larger, they have better views or the are both larger and they have better views.Do you sleep on the Rocky Mountaineer train? ›
Do you sleep on board? No. Unlike other train services such as VIA Rail, Rocky Mountaineer only operates in daylight hours and is not a sleeper service. This ensures you don't miss any sights during the night.How many cars does the Rocky Mountaineer train have? ›
Rocky Mountaineer's fleet of 78 active railcars range from functional locomotives (to pull the trains along), to custom-built coaches for our guests that are designed to enable guests to get the best views of stunning scenery onboard our four rail routes through the Canadian Rockies and the American Southwest.How fast is the Rocky Mountaineer train? ›
The train travels 50 km/hr (30 mph) on average. Rocky Mountaineer is an all-dome fleet, featuring two levels of service: GoldLeaf Service and SilverLeaf Service. Rocky Mountaineer travels only during the day and features oversized windows, so guests don't miss a moment of the ever- changing landscapes.How much do you tip a 2 hour tour guide? ›
About.com has a Tipping Guide for travelers that further suggests that the tour guide should receive a tip of 10% to 20% of the tour cost.Does the Rocky Mountaineer go through the Spiral Tunnels? ›
Travel through the legendary Spiral Tunnels, traverse the Continental Divide, and be inspired as you wind through mountain passes and dramatic canyons. Experience the only passenger rail service on this historic rail route by Rocky Mountaineer, celebrated for connecting Canada from East to West.
How much do you tip a room attendant on a train? ›
While tipping isn't required, leaving a gratuity is the norm. Usually, for one night in a sleeper, I suggest about $10 per person/per night. If your room attendant brings your meals to you in your room, then think about adding more to the tip as you would have left a tip anyway for the dining car waiter.Should you tip your train attendant? ›
General Guidelines: Tipping is NOT required, but is considered correct for the service crew personnel on the train. Recommendations: Snack bar attendant: roughly 10%. Dining car: 15% of menu prices (sleeping car passengers may want to note this when ordering their meals).Should you tip a train conductor? ›
Aboard the train. On board, you do not tip the conductor or the crew operating the train. Even in coach, however, there will be a car attendant who cleans up and keeps coffee and tea available, and so if you are on board the whole day, most people will offer the attendant at least a few dollars.What is the most luxurious train in USA? ›
Distinguishing features of the ride include glass-domed rail cars to enjoy the breathtaking views in panoramic beauty, a luxury dining experience and, for those who book the Silver Leaf Plus package, an outdoor observation deck and passenger lounge car.
AMTRAK'S COAST STARLIGHT. Amtrak's Coast Starlight is considered one of the most scenic routes in the Amtrak system, offering the very best views of the Pacific Coast, from the cliffs of Pacific Coast Highway to the peaks of the Cascade Mountains.What is the temperature in Rocky Mountaineer? ›
Mostly cloudy, with a high near 20. Wind chill values as low as -11. West northwest wind 5 to 8 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%.What time of year is best for Rocky Mountaineer? ›
Spring is great time to travel with landscapes awakening after a long winter. You can enjoy a quieter visit with fewer crowds this time of year. As winter relinquishes its hold and the wilderness comes to life, streams and waterfalls swell, bears lumber from hibernation, and flowers start to bloom.What is the difference between gold and silver Rocky Mountaineer? ›
Gold Leaf offers exclusive outdoor viewing in a large, open-air vestibule, and Silver Leaf provides outdoor viewing between coaches, allowing either service to view the mighty Canadian landscape and maybe even spot a bear!How much do you tip for Rocky Mountaineer? ›
SilverLeaf Plus Service: Gratuities are at the guest's discretion, but suggested gratuities range from $110 per couple ($55 per guest) for a two-day onboard experience, which is shared between the Hosts. Gratuities are not a requirement and are completely at your discretion.What should I wear on the Rocky Mountaineer? ›
- Comfortable, cool layers as there are expansive windows.
- A light jacket or sweater as the air conditioning may feel just right for some, but chilly for others.
- Flat-soled shoes with grip to help keep you steady with the natural movement of the train.
- A hat and sunglasses for sunny days.
What is the most beautiful train station? ›
- Central do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro. ...
- Grand Central, New York. ...
- Dunedin Station. ...
- Flinders Street Station, Melbourne. ...
- Central Railway Station, Maputo. ...
- Union Station, Los Angeles. ...
- Liège-Guillemins, Liège. ...
- São Bento, Porto.
1. The Bernina Express, Switzerland. If you're looking for the most beautiful train ride on earth, you know that Switzerland has to be number one on this list. The Bernina Express is a scenic train route unlike no other.How much do you tip on a 7 day cruise? ›
How much should I tip? Most cruise lines suggest tipping $10 to $12 per day per passenger (not per couple), regardless of age. For a seven-day cruise, this means each cruiser should budget at least $70 for gratuities, or $140 per cabin for two people. How do I pay the gratuities?How much do you tip a train steward? ›
Usually, I tip when the attendant comes around, alerting me of a stop or during one of the sweeps they do before coming into the last city. Or as I leave the car at my destination. The typical tipping range for car attendants is $5-20 a day based on the level of service and your budget.