This year marks Canada’s 150th birthday, and what better way to celebrate the land of the Canucks than hopping aboard the quintessential Canadian train experience: Rocky Mountaineer.

But not only does this epic rail journey deliver on the historical front. It’s also an itinerary that takes you right into the centre of Canada’s photogenic heart.

Here are five of the best photo opportunities along Rocky Mountaineer’s First Passage to the West


1. Hell’s Gate


The name may sound scary, but if Hell actually looked this good then it wouldn’t’ be such a bad place at all! Hell’s Gate gets its name from an abrupt narrowing of the Fraser River that compels the water to gush through the canyon’s narrow opening at an  intensity of about 750 million liters per minute – twice the volume of Niagara Falls.

The raging torrent in this part of the river is a sight to commit to photo, and those seeking a gravity defying view of the rushing water can jump aboard the Air-Tram, which brings visitors down from the Trans-Canada Highway above.


2. Cisco Crossing


The juncture where the CN and CP tracks overlap, this section of Rocky Mountaineer is home to not one, but two historic bridges dating back to the 1800s.

Built over the wild and raging waters below, passengers onboard Rocky Mountaineer will be able to spy the other bridge from their compartment, or perhaps outside on the viewing platform whilst chatting to other guests and timing their shots to take the perfect picture of this historic section of the track.


3. Castle Mountain


When Dr. James Hector first laid eyes on this impressive mountain formation in 1857, history records that he remarked that it looked exactly like a gigantic castle. And henceforth the name stuck, because it actually does look like a one of those European castles, don’t you think?

However, this geological formation is much, much older than the castles of Europe, and dates back to over 525 million years. The lower cliff is dolomite, the middle ledge is shale, and the upper cliff is limestone. All of this


4. Spiral Tunnels


Back when the first railroads were being built across Canada, a decision was made in this section of the track to build a long 8 mile (12.8 kilometre) line over Mount Stephen instead of blasting a track through it. Why? Because tunnels take ages to build and they were short on time. The result was one of the most steep sections of the track, with trains ascending 330 metres in the space of just 16 kilometres.

However, the track resulted in many deaths, countless pieces of damaged equipment and many extra labour costs. So in 1907 a new project started that was based on a Switzerland engineering idea which relied on building spiral tunnels to lessen the railway grade, allowing the railway to gain vertical elevation in a relatively short horizontal distance. Great success!

And for the photographers out there, get this: if a train is longer than 80 cars, you can actually see the head of the train coming out of the tunnel and crossing over top of its own tail! There is a viewing platform for tourists beside the highway to wait and watch this unique feat of railroad engineering.


5. Animals


Canada’s wilderness is rich with animal life, and onboard Rocky Mountaineer guests will be able to spot eagles, bear, moose, deer, mountain sheep and much more.

Again, the outdoor viewing platform is the perfect place to spot Canadian wildlife. Just make sure you pack a zoom lens to get a nice close-up shot of all the wild animals.

Are you excited about capturing some of these epic shots onboard Rocky Mountaineer?

Then click here and celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday with photos that will last a lifetime.

Have you travelled on Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer? Let us know in the comments below.

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