Weekend Wanderlust: Canada by Train

No matter how many plane tickets I buy or places I go, the list of new countries, cities and experiences I want to escape to continues to grow. In the Weekend Wanderlust series, I will be featuring a place I’ve never been to & armchair-travel there via photos and videos (I’ll take what I can get!). If you’ve been to the place I’m lusting over, please feel free to leave tips or recommendations — encouragement to take the plunge & book the flight is always welcome!

This week on Weekend Wanderlust: Canada… by train

Ohhhh, Canada. Lately, my travel fantasies have centered around trail travel and the natural beauty that is found in the wilderness of Canada. I have no burning desire to see any of the cities of Canada – I’ve been to Toronto and was just kind of… bored (but to be honest, that may have had more to do with my travel companion than the location). I’d like to see Quebec and Montreal if fate ever puts me up in that little corner of the world.

But what really intrigues me about Canada is its immensity, the depth of its forests, the majesty of its mountains, the tundras, the coastal towns… and the idea of watching it all go by through the windows of a train.

Photo courtesy of


In my mind, I’d take a train east to west – starting in Nova Scotia and going all the way to Vancouver, with stops in the famed national parks and little country towns and mountain campgrounds along the way.

Banff National Park

Banff Banff Banff Banff Banff!!! I’ve been enamored by Banff for more than a decade… drooling over the views and longing for the fresh mountain air and just wishing I could be surround by all that nature. I actually created a Weekend Wanderlust post about Banff last year – right before I was about to head west to the Colorado Rockies, in the midst of my mountain fever. (I don’t think that mountain fever ever really goes away though.)

Jasper National Park

Just north of Banff is Jasper National Park – National Geographic calls a road trip through the two parks a “magnificent drive—one of the crown jewels of western Canada—combines exhilarating vistas of forest, crag, and glacier.”

Since my infatuation with Banff was conceived and as it grew, I discovered Jasper National Park, too, and have been equally as hungry for a trip to this other Canadian gem. From what I see in photos, I can’t imagine a more wild, natural and pure place – you can almost feel the crispness of the air.

Although I don’t know much about the city itself, I’d end my trip in Vancouver because 1) I’ve heard SO many good things about, and 2) it’s pretty much the furthest west you can go…! Any Vancouver recommendations for this fictional someday-dream trip?

Have you ever been to any of these places – and where in Canada did I miss? Also! Did you ever taken a trip via train? Do you recommend?

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  • Reply Laura (PA Pict)

    My husband raves about the national parks in Canada. He’s not as into natural wonders as I am so I know that if Banff, for instance, is one of his top locations then I need to go and see it for myself some time. I’ve been to Canada but only the seven provinces in the south east. I think a train ride through the vast expanse of the Canadian wilderness would be fantastic.
    PS I highly recommend Montreal and Quebec City. Both are stunning.

    January 16, 2016 at 9:40 am
    • Reply Kristen

      I’ve heard people rave about Banff time after time! My only trips to Canada have been to Ontario to see Niagara Falls & I’m DYING to see the mountains!!! I’m sure I’ll get to Montreal & QC eventually – I hope you make it to Banff sooner rather than later.

      January 18, 2016 at 11:50 am
      • Reply Laura (PA Pict)

        We have a vague plan to take the boys to Canada as they have never been. The first time, however, we will probably cover much of the same territory as my husband and I did back in 2001. Now that we live in the US, however, I hope to explore Canada more, including the interior provinces and the west.

        January 18, 2016 at 1:05 pm
        • Reply Kristen

          Sounds like a good start. Canada is so easily accessible and I think sometimes overlooked because it’s so close to the US! Have fun!

          January 18, 2016 at 2:30 pm
  • Reply blueribbonfair

    That is the way to go in Canada. Is that the famous movie hotel up there?

    January 16, 2016 at 9:59 am
    • Reply Kristen

      I’m not sure what movie you mean!

      January 18, 2016 at 11:50 am
      • Reply blueribbonfair

        The shining. I do not like the movie. I just always see photos of the place it was filmed at. Looks like it.

        January 19, 2016 at 5:00 pm
        • Reply Kristen

          Ooooh! That hotel is the Stanley Hotel and it’s in Estes Park, Colorado 🙂

          January 20, 2016 at 11:01 am
  • Reply jimhopf

    Let’s go hiking while in Banff!

    January 16, 2016 at 11:24 am
  • Reply Hannah Myer

    UGH I love trains. I would travel anywhere by train. Especially through Canada. PS – the Poerschkes went to Vancouver for their honeymoon! Not sure what all they did there, but if you ever cross paths with them, I’m sure they’d have some suggestions.

    January 16, 2016 at 1:09 pm
    • Reply Kristen

      SAME. Train-ing through the UK was my favorite way to see it. And yay Vancouver!!!

      January 18, 2016 at 11:51 am
      • Reply Kristen

        Actually that day me and Paul drove around near Dover was my favorite. But trains were a close second.

        January 18, 2016 at 11:53 am
  • Reply Jess Carey

    We’re looking at visiting both Banff and Jasper next year – you’ve just bumped them a little higher up the list!!

    January 16, 2016 at 10:23 pm
    • Reply Kristen

      Yay! Hope you make it there!

      January 18, 2016 at 11:53 am
  • Reply shmamyhopf

    classic ‘nada. I’ll train & hike w u

    January 18, 2016 at 8:55 am
  • Reply kgbethlehem

    i’m doing this one day! beautiful pictures

    April 2, 2016 at 6:36 pm
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