Lovers of great rail journeys will tell you: The Rocky Mountaineer, a privately owned luxury train that threads through the Canadian Rockies in the summer with special bubble-top viewing carriages, is one of the best on the planet.
The train's bucket list–worthy excursions to Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper usually sell out many months in advance. All told, some 2.2 million riders have explored Canada's glorious west this way.
In 2021, we'll see an American spin-off.
The details are still being hammered out, but reservations for the debut runs are now open. Between mid-August and late October 2021, 40 departures of the new, two-day "Rockies to the Red Rocks" journey will depart Denver for Moab, Utah.
The features of the classic, high-quality Rocky Mountaineer service—special observational cars (pictured above), included fine dining, and the ability to add tour packages to the beginning and end of the itinerary—will all be repeated, only this time on American soil in the epic landscapes of the U.S. Rockies and red-rock gorges of eastern Utah.
Passengers can also take the trip in the other direction, starting in Moab—the hub for epic national parks Arches and Canyonlands, both thoroughly covered in a recent Frommer's guide—and heading east through the Rockies to Denver.
No matter which way riders travel, their journey will be broken with an overnight stay at a local hotel in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, a town known for caves and hot springs.
While the Canadian Rocky Mountaineer season spans many months, the inaugural U.S. season will last only 10 weeks, as summer turns to autumn.
Rates start at US$1,250 per person and vary by departure date. Fully aware that people are skittish about what the travel situation will be like next summer, the operator is allowing customers to reserve space with just $25 down—and that's refundable.
Find fuller details at RockyMountaineer.com.