There’s something captivating about taking a train ride across America in style and comfort. From three-hour wine train tours to week-long cross-country excursions that’ll satisfy your wanderlust, there are plenty of ways to answer the call of the rails.
Traveling by train is an excellent way to take in the sights of America’s landscapes, as well as meet many friendly locals who are eager to share their stories with you.
The Empire Builder
The Empire Builder is one of Amtrak’s most beloved long-distance trains, connecting Chicago to Seattle/Portland. Built as the Great Northern Railway’s flagship train, this iconic route traverses some of America’s most breathtaking landscapes.
While the train may not be as swift as flying, it does provide breathtaking views of the Cascade Mountains and Glacier National Park, as well as an opportunity to visit some of America’s most historic and picturesque landmarks.
Passengers aboard the Empire Builder are encouraged to sit side-by-side with their travelling companions, creating unlikely friendships and fostering an atmosphere of camaraderie. This was certainly my experience during mid-November.
Amtrak’s Empire Builder runs daily between Chicago and Seattle/Portland, traversing northern Montana and stopping in several charming communities along Western Montana’s Glacier Country. Along the way, this breathtaking route also passes along the southern boundary of Glacier National Park.
The California Zephyr
The California Zephyr is one of America’s most beloved train rides, transporting passengers from Chicago, Illinois to San Francisco, California over three days and two nights.
This journey offers breathtaking views of the mountains, forests, rivers, canyons and deserts of the American West. Acclaimed as one of the world’s most picturesque train trips, this journey has become a must-do for many travelers.
At day, the train passes through breathtaking Rocky Mountain scenery; at night it traverses Nevada’s deserts and plains states. Scheduling was meticulously planned to give passengers the most breathtaking views.
Passengers on the Zephyr can choose between coach or sleeper cars for their trip. To purchase a ticket, which can be done either online or at the station before your journey, be sure to purchase one beforehand.
The Rockies Flyer
The Rockies are one of North America’s most breathtaking mountain ranges. Not only are they home to cougars, wolverines and wolves, but they’re also where daredevil wingsuit flyers take off from high peaks and Native Americans compete in thrilling horse races.
Experience the splendor of fall by taking the train across the Rocky Mountains. Enjoy hot gourmet breakfasts and lunches along with first-class service as you take in all the stunning scenery along the way. This first-class route is truly one of a kind – an unforgettable way to take in all that autumn has to offer.
The Rocky Mountaineer route along the original Canadian Pacific railway is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque. It winds its way from Vancouver to Banff, a resort town situated in the mountains on either side.
The Southwest Chief
From the majestic Mississippi River to the red rock cliffs of New Mexico, this train ride will take you through landscapes you won’t see from a car. It’s an unforgettable journey that you won’t soon forget!
The Southwest Chief is one of Amtrak’s most beloved overnight trains, running between Chicago and Los Angeles and transporting passengers from 32 cities throughout Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico and California.
Onboard the Southwest Chief, passengers have a selection of accommodation options. Choose from a Superliner bedroom, family bedroom or coach seating.
Coach Class offers wider seats than an airline seat and is more comfortable for you to recline in. This is great if you want to save some money but still require personal space.
The train offers power outlets throughout the cabin, and you can charge your devices using the USB adapter that comes included with most phones and tablets. This can come in handy when you don’t have access to much electricity when out and about.
Chris is a passionate learner and writer. When he’s not working on his blog or learning something new, he’s a full-time systems administrator and father of two beautiful girls. Chris loves spending time with his family, reading, writing, and playing hockey.