When you think of iconic rail experiences, Rocky Mountaineer is up there with the best of them. Travelling through the Canadian Rockies, a region of powerful rivers, scenic national parks and remote mountain passes, it’s spectacular from start to finish.
Now, after operating exclusively in Canada for more than 30 years, Rocky Mountaineer is heading south of the border with its first ever itinerary in the United States.
Known as ‘Rockies to Red Rocks’, the two day rail odyssey travels between Utah’s eastern city of Moab, gateway to the Arches National Park, and Colorado’s Old West city of Denver. The route takes in a variety of diverse and extraordinary landscapes, from vast canyons to inspiring deserts, natural archways and enchanting rock formations.
Arches National Park near Moab, Utah. Image credit: Chris Wonderly
Train Manager Wendy McMichael is part of the core team bringing this brand new experience to life. After 10 years working on the Canadian routes with Rocky Mountaineer, seven in the role of Train Manager, she’s excited to now bring their signature brand of hospitality to the USA.
“My career has always revolved around hospitality and customer service which led me to Rocky Mountaineer,” McMichael says. “The atmosphere on Rocky Mountaineer is incredibly special. It is my job to manage the onboard team and make sure every guest has everything they need.”
“Our team is integral to our guests’ experience and we are truly a family. I love walking through the rail cars at the start of a journey and meeting the guests. The excitement is palpable. The onboard team does everything possible to make each journey magical and it is a very satisfying feeling to see happy, relaxed guests getting off the train at the end of their journey.”
Guests who have previously travelled along the Canadian routes will be familiar with the level of service onboard, but outside the windows is a big, beautiful and diverse new frontier.
Onboard Rocky Mountaineer. Image credit: Rocky Mountaineer
Operating both directions between Moab and Denver, Rockies to Red Rocks covers a variety of landscapes. Between Denver and Glenwood Springs, the train journeys alongside the Colorado River and through a series of canyons with steep, rugged rock walls, while the route between Glenwood Springs and Moab offers mountain vistas, desert cliffs and rock formations.
“Our trains travel through some of the most spectacular scenery in North America and our guests are treated to a great onboard experience,” says McMichael. “This includes delicious cuisine, friendly service, engaging storytelling of the regions the train travels through and a social atmosphere.”
Unlike many multi-day train journeys, Rockies to Red Rocks only travels during the day, so guests never miss a moment of the changing scenery. This also means guests get to stay in comfortable hotel rooms each night, including the renowned Glenwood Hot Springs Resort, which has invited travellers to relax in its mineral rich waters for more than 130 years.
Though Rockies to Red Rocks is a new experience for their guests, McMichael and the RM team have taken it many times already, and she says it’s hard to pick just one highlight.
“I love desert landscapes because of how vast and unique they are and that feeling of amazement when you find those unique elements in the enormous vistas. Another I have to mention is the canyons and cliffs. You would think when traveling for two days through the Rockies and plateaus the different canyons and cliffs would have a similar look and feel but each one has its own unique features which means you never know where to look.”
“My number one tip for passengers is to prepare to unwind and reconnect with loved ones as you embark on a truly memorable trip. Try to soak it all in; it really is an experience like no other. Travel has been so limited this past year, I am so excited to be welcoming guests back on trains and showing the stunning region to our guests.”
Rockies to Red Rocks is available through TripADeal here.
Take a look the new experience below:
Main Image: Canyonlands National Park near Moab, Utah. Credit: Robert Riberia