Courtesy of The Grand Canyon Railway %26 Hotel. Courtesy of Napa Valley Wine Train. Travellers come from all over the world to enjoy this magnificent West Coast train ride. Amtrak's most popular long-distance route and widely regarded as the most impressive, Coast Starlight received more than 455,000 passengers last year.
From Spokane, you can go south along the Columbia River Gorge to Portland or cross the Cascade Mountains north to Puget Sound in Seattle. Along the way, mountain passes are marked with tall trestles and long tunnels, while rivers have hydroelectric dams and salmon fish ladders. During the spring and summer, a volunteer park ranger aboard the National Park Service shares landscape data. There are plenty of 20-minute stops where you can go out and stretch your legs or pick up a pizza delivery.
As you look out the windows of California's Zephyr, you'll see the same views that enchanted 19th-century fortune seekers when they traveled the first transcontinental railroad line west to San Francisco and dreamed of making it rich. This historic line takes you through the heart of the mining and ghost towns of gold rush country to former stagecoach stations that became stops for the original railway. The country's first Pullman sleeper train once circulated on these rails, nicknamed the “Star Train” for famous passengers who frequented it in the late 1930s. Getting to Grand Canyon National Park on this railway line, as visitors did in 1901 when the railroad opened, helps you imagine the remote and inaccessible wonder that once was the canyon.
You can still ride in the historic cars of the Grand Canyon Railroad, dragged by the “French Fry Express”, a converted 1923 locomotive that now runs on recycled vegetable oil from South Rim restaurants. On the way to the canyon there are pine forests and extensive grasslands with plenty of possibilities to see antelopes, the California condor and wild horses. On board, colorful railway characters keep the story alive with simulated train robberies and cowboy musicians who guide passengers through the old songs. Once at the Grand Canyon log cabin style depot in the South Rim, you'll be within walking distance of popular viewpoints and most of the village's historic buildings.
Between New York City and Albany, meticulously maintained mansions line the banks of the wide, blue Hudson River. It's easy to see how the natural splendor of this valley inspired an entire artistic genre. Other must-see spots along the route include the Adirondack Mountains, the Palisades, the West Point Academy riverfront stone battlements, and the ruins of Bannerman Castle. Get on board for the 6 most incredible train trips in the U.S.
UU. Sure, a road trip is one of the best ways to see the great views the United States has to offer, but sometimes it's nice to take a break from being behind the wheel and letting someone else worry about the road. The solution? Take one of the best train trips in the United States and leisurely stroll around the country, leaving you free to contemplate life, reflect on the meaning of existence or simply spend a few hours thinking about nothing and looking out the window. Traveling by train can be a romantic, nostalgic and, best of all, peaceful way to see the country.
Even a commuter train between major cities can be a step up from a car trip, but these scenic train trips are more than that. Designed for long-distance travel from coast to coast, or specifically designed to enjoy the scenery, these train routes will allow you to enjoy all the glorious views. So get on board, enjoy the views and take as many photos as you want without having to keep your hands on the wheel. An email you'll love Discover the best things to do in Seattle Discover the best things to do in Arizona Discover the best things to do in Portland This 350-mile stretch through the heart of Alaska highlights the state's beautiful and rugged nature.
Among birch forests, mighty rivers, caribou and bear sighting, views of the mountain. McKinley and a stint at Denali National Park, there's a reason this is Alaska Railroad's flagship stay. If you can do that, splurge on a GoldStar upgrade and enjoy the spectacular scenery from an outdoor observation car, with absolutely nothing standing between you and nature. Discover the best things to do in Alaska Discover the best things to do in North Carolina, like the small locomotive that could, this vintage train travels Mount Washington daily, depositing its passengers at the 6,288-foot peak, the highest in the Northeast.
A kind of working museum (the track dates back to 185, the Cog has the elevated feeling of a gondola, only you're on a small, sturdy train. At the top, enjoy panoramic views of Canada and the Atlantic on a clear day. Discover the best things to do in New Hampshire Discover the best things to do in Napa Train travel takes a tropical twist on this 90-minute tour of Oahu on a former sugar cane carrier traveling at a breakneck speed of 15 miles per hour. The attraction shows you a little-seen version of Hawaii, full of old sisal plantations and ghost towns.
Plan your trip for the second Sunday of the month and you can reserve a seat in the elegant 1900 lounge car that was the personal trip of Oahu Railway %26 Land Co. Discover the best things to do on Oahu One of the most picturesque ways to experience one of the most picturesque states; a ride on the narrow-gauge railroad is not just photo meat, but a total immersion in the Wild West. The train has been running between Durango and Silverton since 1882, when it was commissioned to transport silver and gold out of the San Juan Mountains. The 45.4-mile route runs in both directions along the Animas River, crossing it five times and passing old stagecoach trails and deserted mining camps as it snakes between 14,000 foot high peaks.
Discover the best things to do in Colorado While the destination is a big draw, getting there is half the fun on this five-and-a-half hour trip from New York City to Vermont. You'll cruise through the postcard-perfect cities of New York's Hudson Valley; visit Saratoga Springs, as famous for its horse racing as it is for its hot springs, and stroll through the aptly named Green Mountains of Vermont before landing in the charming town of Rutland, with its historic downtown and incredible farm market. On the day when the ceremonial golden spike connected the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads in 1869 in Promontory, Utah, life in the country changed forever. The 1,912-mile Transcontinental Railroad facilitated travel and freight to the west, revolutionizing the young nation and fueling the economy.
The golden age of rail travel may have been replaced by the speed of airplanes, but the romance of traveling by train remains. Ride historic Grand Canyon Railroad cars to one of the country's greatest national parks on a Grand Canyon rail adventure tour. The railway line opened in 1901 and now runs on recycled waste vegetable oil from restaurants in Williams, Arizona and South Rim. The train offers six classes of service, including First, Coach, Pullman, Observation Dome, Luxury Dome and Luxury Parlor.
Pullman is reminiscent of 1923 trail travel, with sidewalk seating and windows that open outdoors. Travel along the stunning Pacific coast and visit the urban centers of the west on the legendary Amtrak Coast Starlight. The Starlight, equipped with Superliner cars for sleeping, tourist lounging and dining, takes you on a 36-hour walk from Seattle to Los Angeles. The route stops in Portland, Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area and Santa Barbara, passing dramatic coastal cliffs, Mount Rainier, the Cascade Mountains and Puget Sound.
If long train odysseys across the country are within reach, then the Amtrak Empire Builder follows in Lewis %26 Clark's footsteps through the heart, from Chicago to the Pacific Northwest. The 46-hour roundtrip offers majestic views of the Great Plains, the Mississippi River, Glacier National Park, the Gassman Coulee Easel and Montana's Big Sky Country. The other unique aspect of these train tours is the overnight accommodations and the opportunity to explore the sights along the way. Unlike passenger trains that go from one stop to another on a tight schedule, the Rocky Mountaineer stops in a city each night, where passengers disembark and spend the night in a hotel.
In addition to being a much more comfortable option, it means that all train trips take place during the day, so passengers don't miss a thing. Using a combination of Transcontinental Railroad routes and new tracks, Amtrak's California Zephyr transports passengers across the United States on an extraordinary two-day expedition. The 2,300-mile, 51-hour ride, touted as the most picturesque in the country, starts in Chicago and ends in Emeryville, California, located just outside of San Francisco in California. The train rises to a height of 2,885 feet through tunnels, past high cliffs and waterfalls.
Breathe in the fresh Alaskan air as you photograph panoramic views of snow-capped mountains, lush gorges and glaciers. Enjoy spectacular fall foliage in New York's Hudson River Valley on the Amtrak Adirondack. This high-speed train takes you upstate New York on a 10- to 12-hour journey along the Hudson River and Lake Champlain, past mansions, forests and fields, to Gare Centrale Station in Montreal, Canada. Stops along the way include the towns of Poughkeepsie, Saratoga Springs, Whitehall and Ticonderoga.
Passengers can also book a hybrid package that includes one-way train travel and a return luxury coach tour, allowing tourists to see the scenery from different perspectives. The bus is only 1.5 hours away by car. Families and train enthusiasts love the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, which offers excursions to experience the remote countryside of western North Carolina and segments of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The train journey, which spans 53 miles with 25 bridges and two tunnels, crosses valleys, through tunnels and carved mountains overlooking picturesque meadows and river gorges.
The train departs Bryson City and trips take anywhere from three and a half hours to a full day. Book the 44-mile Nantahala Gorge tours for a round trip to Nantahala Gorge, passing the Little Tennessee and Nantahala Rivers. The 32-mile Tuckasegee River tour winds along the river of the same name and passes through lush valleys and ancient cities. Services onboard the 12-hour train include two classes (GoldStar service with food, drinks and basic Adventure class), a dining car, dome cars, non-smoking cars and luggage service.
Guests can also ride in privately managed Wilderness Express dome cars at the end of the train with guides, separate restaurants and outdoor platforms. During the 19 hours onboard, travelers in private rooms can enjoy spacious Superliner rooms that include food and drinks, or purchase meals if they are in Coach Class. Amenities include showers, tourist lounges on the upper level, and a coffee car, which serves dinner and breakfast to the north and all three meals when traveling south. As car-free urban getaways progress, this train getaway is hard to beat, as it goes from the main streets of downtown Boston to the rural greens of Maine in less than four hours.
For long stretches of views of the Pacific coast, you won't get there from the highway, book a seat on the west side of the train. The train includes a dining room, a tourist lounge and Sleepliner cars that come with rooms and dorms (some can accommodate up to six people). Double-decker train cars provide maximum comfort, and a higher-level Sightseeing Lounge is the perfect vantage point for taking in the magnificent views. The basic tour package includes all meals, hotel stays and narration during the train journey by expert guides.
Train travel takes a tropical turn on this 90-minute tour of Oahu on an old sugar cane carrier traveling at the breakneck speed of 15 miles per hour. The last of my top picks for the best train rides in the United States is the Denali Star route on The Alaska Railroad. Trains depart daily to Spokane; when you arrive, you can choose to travel to Seattle or go down the Columbia River Gorge to Portland. Train trips, of course, have a moment every fall, because they offer a great opportunity to see the country's foliage at its peak.
America's Trains is renewing luxury rail travel by merging the glory of old train cars with the modern comforts of a luxury hotel. The train has a sleeper car, a rested car and a dining car to make your journey as comfortable as possible. . .