The Getaway
10 of the Best Train Rides in America

The U.S. boasts spectacular regions filled with picturesque landscapes, landmarks, and watercourses. One of the most enjoyable ways to see many of them is by train. There are plenty of famous train journeys noted for their scenic routes as well as their enjoyable amenities. Whether you’re looking for a short trip or one that spans multiple states, you’ll be able to find a tour that wonderfully showcases the country’s best views. Some of the best train rides in America are right here.


01 Great Smoky Mountains Railroad


The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad meanders through this beautiful range in North Carolina. The historic tour begins in Bryson City and takes passengers on a scenic adventure of the picturesque Smokies. Expect to see views of Tuskasegee River and Nantahala Gorge. From the mountains to the wildlife, the stunning sights along the journey make this one of the most breathtaking train trips in the country.

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02 Coastal Route


The Amtrak Coast Star Route stretches from Los Angeles to Seattle. While many people take portions of the route, it’s a remarkable experience to embark on the entire journey. With its oceanfront cliffs and passage through national parks, the Coastal Route is an unforgettable experience. You’ll also pass through major cities along the way, like beautiful Santa Barbara and bustling San Francisco.

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03 Grand Canyon Railway


The Grand Canyon Railway features views of one of America’s most spectacular geological features. The trek features a two-hour route that takes passengers from Williams, AZ, to the canyon’s popular and picturesque South Rim. The train route has been in operation since 1901 and continues to attract visitors from all over the world.

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04 Denali Star Train


Travel 350 miles in twelve hours aboard the Denali Star Train. This train ride heads from Anchorage to Fairbanks and catches all the majestic sights in between. From your window, you’ll be able to see views of Hurricane Gulch, Mt. Denali, and the Nenana River Gorge. Although some riders prefer to ride for just a section of the trip, the entire course is more than worth it.

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05 Ethan Allen Express


Witness lakes, mountains, and lush tracts of wilderness while trundling through Vermont aboard the Ethan Allen Express. The route includes various Hudson Valley stops, Saratoga Springs, and points in the Catskill Mountains. Autumn journeys book quickly so you’ll want to reserve your spot if you’re planning to see the spectacular fall foliage.

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06 Napa Valley Wine Train


Wine lovers adore the Napa Valley Wine Train and you will too if you are set on seeing the sun-kissed vineyards of this iconic region. Travel nearly 40 miles through California’s most popular winelands on this tour that features knowledgeable guides to provide information about the sights along the way. The delicious onboard dining makes this trip a must for foodies, too.

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07 Arkansas and Missouri Railroad


Discover the scenic beauty of the Midwest aboard the Arkansas and Missouri Railroad. Wind through the magnificent Ozark Mountains; the rugged terrain is particularly scenic in the fall when the forests are in full color. The round-trip experience is a lovely way to spend a day.

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08 Southwest Chief


The Southwest Chief features an Amtrak train that takes passengers across eight states including New Mexico and Arizona. You’ll witness the arid and rugged landscapes of the Southwest through floor-to-ceiling windows. The trains include sleeping accommodations and multiple dining options. The mountains and desert views along the way are sure to demonstrate why this journey is one of the country’s favored train experiences.

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09 California Zephyr Route


The California Zephyr Route travels from Chicago to California, but many riders catch this train in Denver or another stop along the way. The trek features breathtaking views of the Midwest, mighty rivers, the Rocky Mountains, and postcard-worthy views of cities like San Francisco. Amtrak’s Zephyr is an ultra-comfortable train with double-decker cars, various dining options, and cozy sleeping accommodations. If you’re looking for a cross-country experience, this one is hard to pass up.

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10 New River Train


If you’re looking for a cozy tour of breathtaking autumn foliage, take a ride on Virginia’s New River Train. The train travels through the Allegheny and Appalachian Mountains and across the New River Gorge. With its refurbished vintage train cars, this trip offers a comfortable riding experience complemented by undeniably gorgeous views.

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