From Alaska to the SoCal Coast, These Train Trips Offer Unforgettable Vacations in Motion
The splendor of classic train travel has been restored, thanks to picturesque routes springing up in all corners of the West
Written byIan CentroneJuly 9, 2018
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Courtesy of Amtrak
1 of10Courtesy of Amtrak
When it comes to the most distinguished names in North American train travel, Amtrak leads the way. Their iconic Amtrak Cascades route traces through the Pacific Northwest from Vancouver, British Columbia to Eugene, Oregon. Along the way, expect a diverse array of nature’s most spectacular attractions, including majestic mountain ranges, tranquil bays, rolling alpine meadows, and more.
Courtesy of Grand Canyon Railway
2 of10Courtesy of Grand Canyon Railway
Grand Canyon Railway
One of the best ways to appreciate the beauty of the Grand Canyon is by rail. This round-trip excursion covers 130 miles, beginning in Williams, Arizona and looping along the canyon’s remarkable South Rim. The train has enchanted passengers since 1901, snaking past Ponderosa pine forests and wide-open prairies before arriving at the main attraction.
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Courtesy of Rocky Mountaineer
3 of10Courtesy of Rocky Mountaineer
Rocky Mountaineer’s Rainforest to Gold Rush Classic
This epic five-day train trip traverses through rugged Canadian wilderness, including stops like Vancouver, Whistler, and Quesnel in British Columbia before ending in the quaint alpine town of Jasper in Canada’s Alberta province. Soak up the route’s stunning sights such as Brandywine Falls, the Fraser River, the Rocky Mountain Trench, and Yellowhead Pass.
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For more than 50 years, the Chihuahua-Pacific train, known as El Chepe, has been transporting travelers along Mexico’s Pacific Coast past staggering canyon walls, desert plains, and the dramatic landscapes of the Sierra Tarahumara. The 13-hour route connects the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sinaloa, spanning more than 400 miles in total.
Courtesy of Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
5 of10Courtesy of Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
Witness the splendor of Colorado’s backcountry aboard one of America’s last surviving narrow gauge railroads. This historic route follows 45 miles along the San Juan Mountains from the mining town of Silverton to the railroad-built town of Durango. Expect expansive sandstone bluffs, unprecedented views of the Animas River, and staggering peaks of the San Juan Mountains.
Courtesy of The Napa Valley Wine Train
6 of10Courtesy of The Napa Valley Wine Train
Napa Valley Wine Train’s Famiglia Tour
The Napa Valley Wine Train launched the fourth installment of their popular Quattro Vino collection in spring of 2018. The Famiglia Tour is an elegant culinary and wine adventure perfect for intrepid oenophiles. Over six hours, passengers will visit three of Napa Valley’s legendary wineries paired perfectly with an indulgent four-course meal.
Courtesy of Amtrak
7 of10Courtesy of Amtrak
For a more extensive California train adventure, consider hopping aboard Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner. The trip takes nearly six hours to complete, connecting the laid-back enclave of San Luis Obispo to sun-drenched San Diego by way of Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. Perfect for the entire family, this itinerary offers the best views of Southern California’s expansive seascapes.
Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons
8 of10Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons
Hawaiian Railway Society
The Hawaiian Railway Society is a non-profit organization committed to restoring and protecting Hawaii’s railroading history. The only active railroad on Oahu, this unique departure follows a time-honored stretch of tracks from the station in Ewa past impressive ocean and volcanic views. History buffs and nature-lovers alike are sure to relish every moment of this 90-minute train trip.
Courtesy of Alaska Railroad
9 of10Courtesy of Alaska Railroad
Alaska Railroad’s Coastal Classic
The jaw-dropping magnificence of Alaska is undeniable, and Alaska Railroad’s round-trip Coastal Classic route proves it. This picture-perfect train trip starts in Anchorage and winds along the Turnagain Arm through the unspoiled wilderness of the Kenai Peninsula. From glistening glaciers to surging waterfalls, this itinerary encompasses some of Alaska’s most exquisite scenery.
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Tequila Herradura Express
Calling all margarita lovers! This tequila train experience embarks from the cultural center of Guadalajara and zigzags along the agave-speckled fields of Jalisco to Casa Herradura, where tequila has been handcrafted for nearly 150 years. During the journey, passengers will tour the Herradura facility while tasting the goods and enjoying a full lunch complete with live entertainment.