If you’re looking for the best train trips in North America, you have to go west. The railway played a huge roll in opening up the western frontier so it’s no wonder some of the best routes run in that direction. Here are a few of our favourites, to inspire you next journey along the tracks.
Eugene, Oregon to Vancouver, British Columbia
- Train: Amtrak Cascades
- Duration: 11.5 hours
- Highlights: seascapes and Mt. Rainier
This trip is packed with seaside scenery, mountain peaks including Mount Rainier to the south and Mount Baker to the north, islands off the coast and rainforests. It’s particularly spectacular when the weather is a bit moody and misty. Bring a pair of binoculars and you may spot some orcas playing in Puget Sound. Visit in April and stop at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival!
Chicago to Emeryville, California
- Train: California Zephyr
- Duration: 51 hours, 20 minutes
- Highlights: travel through the longest tunnel in the U.S.
If you want to really experience life on the rails, then this is the trip for you! It covers a total of 2,438 miles and crosses seven states, following in the footsteps of the pioneers when they left to settle in the American West. Catch flights to Chicago and climb aboard the California Zephyr. Travel through the Moffat Tunnel, the longest in the U.S., through the canyons of the Colorado River and across the deserts of Nevada and Utah.
Anchorage to Seward, Alaska
- Train: Coastal Classic
- Duration: 4.5 hours
- Highlights: Kenai Mountains
This railway covers 500 miles of some of the most wild landscapes in the world. The Kenai Mountains are by far the most impressive part of the trip. After traveling along the coast, the train heads into territory that is inaccessible by car, past glaciers and over river gorges. Look out for bears and moose!
Williams to the Grand Canyon, Arizona
- Train: Grand Canyon Railway
- Duration: 8 hours, round-trip
- Highlights: the South Rim of the canyon
Visitors have been riding this railway since 1901, making it one of the oldest train trips in the country. The trip bring passengers to the South Rim of the world’s most famous canyon. Choose from coast, first-class, observation dome or the luxury parlor service and sit back and enjoy the views! The trip through San Francisco Peaks at 12,000 feet are stunning.
Traveling by train in general can be a great way to check out stunning scenery across the US while heading to your destination. Cheap train tickets are available from Boston to New York, for example, and allow travelers to enjoy an alternative to flying.