Most Scenic Rail Routes in America

An excellent way to see the spectacular countryside in America is to travel by rail. There are a number of rail routes that you can travel.

The coast starlight is such an example. It runs all the way from Seattle to Los Angeles and covers over 1300 miles. Not only do you get to see the rugged beauty of the Pacific Northwest but also the forested regions of California down into the central coastal part of California. This is a sleeper train which also has numerous options for entertainment on board.

Another scenic rail route on the Pacific Northwest is the Amtrack Cascades which runs from the city of Eugene in Oregon to Vancouver up in British Columbia, Canada. This 11-hour trip takes you past breathtaking mountains and forests.

On the opposite coast you have the Ethan Allan express which runs between New York and Vermont. This 241-mile route encompasses the beautiful Catskill Mountains and the Green Mountains found in Vermont.

The Great Smoky Mountains railroad takes just over four hours and runs through the scenic beauty of North Carolina including passing through the Nantahala Gorge and over Fontana Lake.

The Great Smoky Mountains railroad

Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad passes from Durango into Silverton in the state of Colorado. This historical train passes through the fabulous and picturesque San Juan Mountains on its 46-mile journey.

A very scenic route to take in Arizona is the Grand Canyon Railway. This route takes you through very beautiful desert landscape and pine forests. It comes to an end at the spectacular Grand Canyon.

The Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad passes between New Mexico and Arizona. It passes through the scenic Toltec Gorge on a 64-mile journey.

The Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad

An excellent way to see much of the country is to book passage on the California Zephyr. This Amtrac train moves from Chicago all the way down to the bay of San Francisco. This truly crosses much of the country and is rated by many to be the most beautiful scenic route in America. It passes through such places as Denver and Salt Lake City and it passes through Illinois and Iowa.

The Amtrak Empire Builder also crosses the country from east to west. It starts in Chicago and travels cross country to end in either Seattle or Portland Washington depending which section you are on. The total distance travelled is over 2000 miles in both cases

The Amtrack Southwest Chief is a train that travels between Chicago and Los Angeles. It traverses Kansas City and Albuquerque New Mexico on the way to Los Angeles. The scenic vistas on this route include deserts, mountains and canyons.

Yet another route from Chicago is the Pullman rail journey, which is a route that runs from Chicago in the north all the way south to New Orleans. This 19-hour trip also often includes musical performances on the train.

Clearly there are many scenic rail routes in America, some within the United States and some even travelling up and into Canada.