8 best train journeys across the country

8 best train journeys across the country

There’s a lot of scenic beauty to explore in the country, and one of the best ways to do so is by train. Traveling by train allows one to take in the gorgeous scenery and stunning countryside in one of the most relaxed and luxurious ways possible. Here are some of the best train travel destinations to explore for those with a little extra time and the desire to be engulfed in delightful views.

Coast Starlight
The Amtrak Coast Starlight is a daily train that runs between Los Angeles and Seattle. This 35-hour journey takes visitors through cities like Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Sacramento, and Portland. It gives them a chance to witness a variety of land and seascapes, from the shoreline of the Pacific Ocean and the golden valleys in California to the lush snow-capped mountain peaks in the region. The best views can be seen from the train’s observation lounge.

The Vermonter
Want to get the most out of a single train journey? The Vermonter may be the answer. This train ride takes travelers through nine states, giving them a chance to marvel at some of the largest cities, farming valleys, and even mountain ranges. Covering 611 miles, this train makes several stops along the way, with major attractions being Washington, D.C., New York City, Long Island Sound, Hudson River Valley, and St. Albans. There are no sleeper cars on the train.

Sunset Limited Train
For the penultimate train trip, travelers must take the Sunset Limited. This train journey, offered by Amtrak, covers 1995 miles over two days via cities like New Orleans, San Antonio, Tucson, Phoenix, and Los Angeles. Running coast to coast, this is a stellar way to witness the variety the country has to offer – from glimmering bars and high-rises through the deserts and all the way up to the gorgeous sandy beaches in California.

Metro-North Hudson Line
Those looking for shorter, daytime journeys may be interested in the Metro-North Railroad Hudson line that runs between New York City and Poughkeepsie. Traveling over 69 miles, this train takes about an hour and a half to get travelers from point A to point B, stopping along the way to admire art and food offerings. It is a stunning way to take in the art scene of the area for a small price!

California Zephyr
To make a leisurely trip across North America, take Amtrak’s California Zephyr train that covers a distance of 2438 miles over 52 hours. A classic among train enthusiasts, this journey covers the prairies, deserts, the Rocky Mountains, and even the Sierra Nevada as it makes its way from Chicago to San Francisco. And if this couldn’t get more magnificent, the lounge car in the train boasts floor-to-ceiling windows, offering travelers stunning views throughout.

The Grand Canyon Railway
Want to explore one of the greatest natural wonders? Take this train from Williams, Arizona into the heart of the Canyon Country, exploring the gorgeous forests and deserts along the way. It’s an excellent option for those looking for a day trip or perhaps a picnic, as it allows travelers to get out and explore the area on foot as well before boarding a return trip with delightful sunset views.

Denali Star Train
A flagship journey offered by Alaska Railroad, the Denali Star is a major tourist attraction. It connects Anchorage and Fairbanks, traveling a distance of 356 miles in 12 hours. Along the way, travelers get to experience some of the most scenic views, such as the valleys full of Alpine meadows along the Knik River, Alaskan glaciers, and the Chugach Mountains. There’s also a scheduled 30-minute stop at Denali National Park and Talkeetna for those looking to get a quick glimpse of the region. Adventure Class tickets offer comfortable seating and great views, while the Gold Class tickets are inclusive of food and a couple of beverages throughout the day.

New Mexico Rail Runner Express
Another great option for a short journey, the New Mexico Rail Runner Express runs between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, covering a distance of 97 miles in 90 minutes. This train ride gives travelers a view of the arid mountains and the high deserts while serving as a practical intra-state travel option for locals.

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