10 of the Most Scenic Train Trips in America

6: Southwest Chief, Los Angeles to Chicago

Southwest Chief, Los Angeles to Chicago

Leave the congested Southern California, and soon, you will be climbing the Cajon Pass to reach the Mojave Desert. You can change in Williams for the Grand Canyon Railway if you like. See miles of painted desert as you continue this 2,256 mile train ride. You will soon twist through red rock canyons with scrub oak, tamarisk, juniper and ponderosa pines. Often the rock is inches from your face as your rain snakes through these canyons. In Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas, you will see big city downtowns and beautiful small towns. This is a 40 hour trip, an epic train ride.

Address: Chicago - Albuquerque - Los Angeles
Website: www.amtrak.com

7: Wilderness Alaska Coastal Classic, Anchorage to Seward

Wilderness Alaska Coastal Classic, Anchorage to Seward
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/arjun raju

Alaska is the ultimate wilderness and home of stunning views. The Alaska Railroad Wilderness Classic covers a 114 mile stretch where you will pass through the Kenai Mountains. It goes to areas that cannot be accessed by cars. You will pass through glaciers, cross a river gorge and five tunnels. In this four and half hour trip you have the chance of seeing bears, moose, and bald eagles. You can explore the village once you reach Seward. Visit the Kenai Fjords National Park if you want.

Address: 411 West 1st Avenue, Anchorage, AK 99501

8: Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, Colorado

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, Colorado
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/joevare

Passing through the San Juan National Forest, this train ride helps you appreciate how beautiful America’s western wilderness truly is. While passing the Animas River, look out for old stagecoach roads, abandoned mining camps, and the stunning peaks of Colorado. There are many specials like beer and wine trips between September and October, a ride only for photographers in late September, and Polar Express themed rides during November.

Address: 479 Main Avenue, Durango, CO 81301

9: Cass Scenic Railroad, West Virginia

Cass Scenic Railroad, West Virginia
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Ron Cogswell

It’s an 11 mile heritage ride inside a stat park on West Virginia’s eastern border. The line was constructed in 1901 for carrying timber to the sawmills, so this is a trip back in time. The small town of Cass has been preserved. It looks like what it used to be 100 years back. Timber carrying cars have been converted to the modern-day open air carriages. See the steam locomotive billowing black smoke. You will love the outdoors throughout this four and half hours journey.

Address: 242 Main Street, Cass, WV 24927

10: The Hawaiian Railway Society, Oahu, Hawaii

The Hawaiian Railway Society, Oahu, Hawaii
Photo Courtesy: Flickr/Brian Burger

Ride at 15 miles an hour on this one and half hour tropical classic. This is an old sugarcane hauler. You will see crashing waves and nodding palms along the way. There is a rear platform that provides even better views. You will pass through ghost towns and sisal plantations. You can even ride in the personal parlor car of the founder from 1900, on the second Sunday of every month. Its maple, mahogany and oak makes you feel like somebody from the Hawaiian royal family.

Address: 91-1001 Renton Rd, Ewa Beach, HI 96706

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