Traveling by train can be a much more peaceful and relaxing travel option than flying. It may not be as fast, but the scenery is certainly more interesting. From autumn leaves and beautiful ocean vistas to jaw-dropping mountain tops, here are ten train rides to take this fall season.
The world’s best wine is combined with stunning scenery on a trip aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train. Lunch is prepared onboard by a gourmet chef while passing through vineyards during the fall harvest season. Enjoy the stunning views of the famous Napa Valley on a three-hour tour. Choose from a plethora of packages to, including Grgich Hills, one of Napa’s forerunners of viticulture.
Grand Canyon Railway has been taking people on a fabled journey since 1901. Traveling deep through the heart one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the train is a charming step back into the past and the days when Billy the Kid ran the Wild West. The 60-mile trip begins in Williams, Arizona and heads north to the Grand Canyon South Rim. The journey is filled with majestic scenery and on-board entertainment that is sure to please all travelers.
Traversing the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad San Juan National Forest, the offers guests a unique way to see the beauty of the Western wilderness. The train follows the Animas River, passing by an abandoned mining camp, old stagecoach roads, and many of Colorado‘s Rocky Mountain peaks. Some special fall trips offered include wine and beer trips in October and a Polar Express-themed ride beginning in November.
Take a journey aboard one of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad’s historic cars for a trip between Utica and Lake Placid in upstate New York. Scenic stops in Thendara, Saranac Lake, and other small towns along the way give riders a chance to explore the historic unincorporated communities that line the route. In addition to the gorgeous colors of fall leaves and scenery, passengers can also enjoy various fall events on a beer and wine tasting train and a Christmas train in late November.
See brilliant fall colors in full bloom in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the Smoky Mountains Railroad. The rail company offers passengers a unique opportunity to experience one of the country’s most beautiful national parks from inside a train car. If train history is what you are after, explore the Smoky Mountain Train Museum and then hop aboard for one of the fall foliage train rides. Or put on a costume and check out the Masquerade Train on Halloween.
Trace historic trails through the Yukon aboard the WP&YR one of the steam engines as passengers explore the history of the Klondike Gold Rush. Transporting guests through the rural Alaskan landscape and into Canada, the rail company combines sublime scenery with fascinating history and a delicious meal along the way.
The Amtrak California Surfliner travels 350 miles along the coast of California from San Diego to Los Angeles, and sometimes even faster than the motor vehicles. The sleek double decker trains whisk along the coast at speeds up to 89 miles an hour. Riding the surfliner gives an opportunity to see many scenic areas of the coast not viewable from automobiles.
With sweeping seascapes, majestic mountains, lush forests from Eugene Oregon to Vancouver British Columbia, the 11 hours, 30 minutes Amtrak Cascades train ride along the Pacific Northwest offers a healthy dose of adventure in addition to beautiful scenery. On board these sleek, European-style trains, you’ll enjoy wide, reclining seats, laptop outlets and bike racks. Relax in the Bistro Car, which features fresh, regional cuisine, wine, micro-brews, and the coffee Seattle made famous.
Take a classic Pullman train rail journey from Chicago to New Orleans. Known for its art deco design, comfortable accommodations and superb service, the original Pullman Company pioneered superior first class travel in America. Views along this journey are of the Chicago skyline, pastoral farmland and the mighty Mississippi River. Pass Lake Pontchartrain before the train arrives in New Orleans.
Travel over trestles, through towering redwood groves and up a winding narrow-gauge grade to the summit of Bear Mountain as conductors narrate the history of Roaring Camp, the railroad and the forest. In the 1880s, narrow-gauge steam locomotives were used to haul giant redwood logs out of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Roaring Camp’s steam engines date from 1890 and are among the oldest and most authentically preserved narrow-gauge steam engines providing regularly scheduled passenger service in America.
By Audra Clemons
Audra Clemons is a creative media specialist with a passion for travel, cuisine and adventure. This former TV producer takes her talents on the road where she captures in-between-the-lines experiences. Audra can usually be found buried behind her laptop writing articles or creating media campaigns for clients… or surfing. Connect with her on Twitter or through her website.