Snow-covered peaks, dramatic canyons, rolling hills and rivers, North America has myriad of stunning landscapes. One of the best ways to see them is traveling across the continent by train. View means of transport are as comfortable as trains, while offering such a great possibility to observe the world through the windows. With the best North American train trips, you get a chance to see the prettiest parts of this magnificent area, meet people on your way, have a taste of delicious meals prepared by the chefs and simply find yourself in a whole new place.
1. The Canadian
Toronto – Vancouver
This scenic ride between Toronto and Vancouver is a perfect opportunity to see some of Canada’s most famous landscapes. The Canadian includes 4,466 kilometers of beautiful journey. The tracks run alongside picturesque lakes, rush forests, prairies and magnificent Rocky Mountains, to eventually reach the coast of British Colombia. It takes 4 nights and 3 days to get from the starting point to the final destination. Sounds like quite a long time, but since the trains are incredibly comfy, you shouldn’t feel any inconveniences. The Canadian, besides of the enchanting settings, offers delicious meals and sleeping compartments. The trains feature glass-roofed viewing cars, thanks to which you can enjoy a full view of the spectacular sceneries.
2. Grand Canyon Railway
Williams, Arizona – Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon Railway is definitely one of the best ways to reach the America’s world-renowned nature wonder. By taking the train, you can make your journey to Grand Canyon a bit longer and even more fascinating. The Grand Canyon Railway departs from Williams, Arizona (near Flagstaff) and takes 2h15m to arrive to the canyon. The train offers round-trips, so you can also come back the same way. During the trip you’ll pass some gorgeous pine forests, Pinyon-Juniper woodlands and desert landscapes. With a bit of luck, you can also spot wild animals, such as mountain lions, mule deer, squirrels, pronghorns or elk. The Grand Canyon Railway features a variety of cars, including first class, observation dome class, luxury dome class and luxury parlor class, the Pullman car and coach class, so you can choose the seat accordingly to your expectations and the level of luxury you seek. Whatever you pick, whether it’s the fancy first class or a simple seat in the classic Pullman car, Grand Canyon Railway is surely one of the most wonderful North American Train Trips you can possibly take.
3. The Coast Starlight
Seattle – Los Angeles
Linking the largest cities on the West Coast, the Coast Starlight passes through Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Sacramento and Portland. Not only these great urban areas, but also plenty of natural sceneries can be seen during the ride: the magnificent peaks of Cascade Range and Mount Shasta, green forests, charming valleys, dry hills and the picturesque Pacific Ocean shoreline. The trains run 2,216 kilometers, so if you travel all the way, the trip’s going to take a while. Sleeper cars and dining cars are there to make you comfortable.
4. California Zephyr
Chicago – San Francisco
Even if you’ve seen a bounty of beauty in America and you’re an experienced traveler, you’ll most likely admit California Zephyr is among the most scenic North American train trips. The Zephyr beings its journey in Chicago, passes through the plains of Nebraska and Denver, the Rocky Mountains, Salt Lake City, then it courses through Reno and Sacramento to stop in San Francisco. There are many tunnels on its route, the Moffat Tunnel is one of them. Other highlights include Sierra Nevadas, Colorado River and surrounding canyons, Winter Park, Truckee River and San Pablo Bay. You can either book a coach seat or, if you fancy some luxury, a roomette or bedroom in the Superliner Sleeping Cars.
5. The Ocean
With The Ocean, during a trip lasting 23 hours, you can see so many wonderful views of nature an average city person doesn’t get to see in years. The route includes the lower St. Lawrence River valley, the Matapedia River valley and the eastern provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Marvelous rivers, forests and Mounties will keep you company all the way from Montréal to Halifax. In addition to the charming fields and misty hills, the Ocean offers some delicious Canadian wines and regional specialties, able to make even the pickiest foodies very happy. With the wine tastings, culinary wealth, Maritime history lessons and workshops, the Ocean is much more than just a train trip.
6. Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
Durango – Silverton
Not only a railway, Durango & Silverton is also a valuable historic site. The heritage rail-road operates a track that is over 72 kilometers long, located in the state of Colorado between the lovely towns of Durango and Silverton. The route was opened in the late 19th century and it was initially used to transport silver and gold from the San Juan Mountains. Now it’s maintained mostly for tourism purposes and is indeed a great attraction.
For a history-lover, this is definitely one of the best North American train trips. If what you seek the most are rather beautiful sceneries, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad won’t disappoint you either. Set amongst the impressive Colorado’s peaks, the trip guarantees wondrous views.