America’s railroad system is not as developed nor fast as in other countries, and it is not the most popular way to see the country. But if you are a fan of scenic train rides, consider this in your bucket list.
1. Cascade Train
This 156-mile trip through the Pacific Northwest is a journey through green forests. Once you get to Seattle, the ride becomes more interesting. As it passes along Puget Sound, you might get a view of the Olympic Mountains on the western side.
2. Cass Scenic Railroad
Take this road to enjoy the scenery and the old-style locomotives that used to transport wood to mining camps. It is a much shorter ride, 8 miles back and forth, but the views are unparalleled. Take a ride in October when the leaves change color.
3. California Zephyr
If you have the time and the interest, you can retrace the route the pioneers took to conquer the West. You start in Denver where you pass by the Rocky Mountains, before passing by Utah and its red rocks. It continues through Ruby Canyon, then the Sierras and the Donner Pass before finally getting to San Francisco Bay. Taking this train is a good alternative to driving the entire route.
4. White Pass and Yukon train, Alaska
This is a hair-raising trip, especially as you pass by scary cliff-drops. Still, you will go up 3,000 feet and pass by mountain lakes, waterfalls, and glaciers. It follows the routes of the miners at the turn of the 21st Century. There are 3 different routes, each with its own highlight.
5. Cape Cod Central Railroad
No need to be a millionaire to explore Cape Cod by train. You will also see special corners that cannot be seen in any other way. You may also go for a sightseeing tour to learn more or simply go for the dinner train.
6. Grand Canyon Railway
This is a lesser-known way to view this natural wonder, and it certainly has no crowds. Step on board in Williams, 65 miles south and pass by the pine forests in Northern Arizona before hitting the desert. You will pass by Native American reservations and see tons of wildlife. You will end up at the south rim of the Grand Canyon.
7. Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
The Great Smoky Mountains is too huge to explore, so you should try these 2 excursions. The first is the 32-mile Tuckasegee River Excursion which passes by the green valleys and old bridges before pulling into the small town of Dillsboro. The second, the 44-mile Nantahala Gorge Excursion, passes by the Tennessee and Nantahala Rivers, go over Fontana Lake, before going into the gorge.
8. Strasburg Railroad
This is the oldest rail line in the list and goes through the huge Pennsylvania countryside. You will pass by Amish Country, following the trail where goods used to be transported from Pennsylvania to the coast. It was converted into a passenger train in the 1960s and is truly a ride to remember.
Traveling by train has a certain charm to it, and you will love staring out the window if you have the wonderful views the following train rides have to offer.