The United States boasts a diverse landscape, from the towering peaks of the Rocky Mountains to the serene coastlines of the Pacific Northwest. Exploring this vast and varied terrain by train offers a unique perspective, allowing travelers to witness the beauty of the country unfold before their eyes.
Here, we present the ten most beautiful train trips in the United States, where scenic wonders and engineering marvels come together to create unforgettable journeys.
1. California Zephyr (Chicago to Emeryville/San Francisco)
Embarking from the bustling cityscape of Chicago, the California Zephyr takes passengers on a breathtaking journey through the heart of the Rockies, skirting the Colorado River, and traversing the Sierra Nevada mountains. As the train winds its way through canyons and tunnels, passengers are treated to panoramic views of some of America’s most stunning landscapes.
2. Coast Starlight (Seattle to Los Angeles)
The Coast Starlight offers a mesmerizing ride along the West Coast, showcasing the beauty of the Pacific Ocean, dense forests, and expansive vineyards. Passengers can enjoy the observation car’s floor-to-ceiling windows, revealing the rugged coastline and the iconic Cascade Range.
3. Empire Builder (Chicago to Seattle/Portland)
Venture through the northern reaches of the country on the Empire Builder, traversing the vast landscapes of Montana’s Glacier National Park and the scenic beauty of the Pacific Northwest. The train’s large windows provide unobstructed views of the Cascade Mountains and the Puget Sound.
4. Grand Canyon Railway (Williams to Grand Canyon Village)
Experience the awe-inspiring grandeur of the Grand Canyon on the Grand Canyon Railway. Departing from the historic town of Williams, Arizona, this journey takes passengers on a nostalgic ride to the South Rim, passing through pine forests and open prairies before arriving at one of the world’s most iconic natural wonders.
5. Alaska Railroad (Anchorage to Fairbanks)
In Alaska, the vast wilderness unfolds before your eyes on the Alaska Railroad. As the train weaves through the pristine landscapes of Denali National Park, passengers can catch glimpses of wildlife and marvel at the towering peaks of the Alaska Range.
6. Amtrak Cascades (Eugene, Oregon to Vancouver, British Columbia)
For a taste of the Pacific Northwest’s lush beauty, hop aboard the Amtrak Cascades. This route offers stunning views of the Cascade Mountains, dense forests, and the Puget Sound, all while providing a comfortable and relaxing journey.
7. Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (Durango to Silverton, Colorado)
Step back in time on this historic railroad, winding its way through the spectacular San Juan Mountains of Colorado. The Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad offers a glimpse into the region’s mining history, with breathtaking views of deep canyons and rushing rivers.
8. Texas State Railroad (Palestine to Rusk, Texas)
In the heart of East Texas, the Texas State Railroad provides a nostalgic journey through piney woods and hardwood creek bottoms. Passengers can relive the golden age of rail travel while enjoying the scenic beauty of the Piney Woods region.
9. Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad (Chama, New Mexico to Antonito, Colorado)
The Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad traverses the rugged landscapes of the Rocky Mountains, offering passengers a glimpse of the dramatic scenery that unfolds along the New Mexico-Colorado border. With its vintage steam locomotives, this historic railroad provides an authentic journey through the past.
10. Vermonter (Washington, D.C., to St. Albans, Vermont)
Experience the charm of New England on the Vermonter, as it winds its way through picturesque landscapes, charming small towns, and historic cities. This route showcases the beauty of the Northeast, with vibrant fall foliage adding an extra layer of enchantment during the autumn months.
In conclusion, the United States offers a plethora of stunning train journeys, each providing a unique perspective on the country’s diverse landscapes. From the rugged coastlines of the Pacific Northwest to the majestic peaks of the Rocky Mountains, these train trips not only showcase the beauty of the nation but also offer a nostalgic and comfortable way to travel through some of the most captivating scenery the United States has to offer.
Embark on these journeys, and let the rhythmic clatter of the tracks guide you through a tapestry of natural wonders.