Large Scale Central

🚞 Not to be Missed Train Trips [Was: National Parks by Amtrak]

Herself and I are planning a trip to the USA have been reading that many National Parks in America are now overrun with tourists and that a number of parks have limited or eliminated car entry.

We recently saw an article on parks accessible by Amtrak:


Has anyone successfully visited a National Park by train or have an opinion on travel by Amtrak? Is an Amtrak rail pass worthwhile and are there car rental agencies at stations?

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One of the National Parks that Amtrak rolls right thru is Glacier in Montana, you can fly to Portland or Seattle and catch the Empire Builder to east Glacier station, overnight trip , train leaves either place at 4:45pm and arrives at E. Glacier at 9:30am so if you got a room on the train you would get dinner and breakfast.

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Being a west coast guy I am not sure what trains go to the east coast parks, maybe Rooster can help out a bit.
California Zephyr goes thru Colorado and probably parks close to Winter Park and Denver. Southwest Chief goes to Flagstaff and then it’s a short bus ride to Williams then you can ride the train from there to Grand Canyon

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I’ve yet too see a major car rental company at city Amtrak stations, so I doubt they would be available at the more remote stations.

Glacier NP is probably the most famous NP that a railroad runs through.

It’s been a long time, but when we rode the Southwest Chief from Flagstaff to Santa Fe, we had to arrange for a rental car in advance and have it delivered to meet the train. Of Course Amtrak couldn’t find our luggage until the next city, so we had to wait for the next day’s train to bring it back :frowning:

Edit to note: Amtrak doesn’t run directly to Santa Fe. One gets off at Lamy, NM then takes the shuttle bus to SanteFe. " The Lamy Shuttle Service meets Southwest Chief trains daily for an easy ride to Santa Fe hotels."



Wow, I wanna do all that!!

Maryland, USA


I’ve not been to many of those parks, but I’m sure they’re very worth the visit.

If you come into San Fran, and start your RR trip from nearby Sacratomato, lots of things happen from there, especially the California Zephyr. You might consider getting a room, and taking the Zephyr all the way to Denver. That way, you’d experience both the Sierra and Rocky Mountains, and many interesting stopping points, all from the comfort of your room (or from an observation car).

After that, anywhere!

Dang, I’m sounding like a travel agent! It’s just that I and a one of my sisters are planning a similar route to Denver.

Best wishes!

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Apologies. I have derailed the goriginal title, as my googling shifted into Parks by train when it was replaced with references to Parks with trains. I came across this reportedly definitive guide to the most scenic train rides in America. I can’t believe there are 15 “iconic” rail trips.

I see Hawaii and Alaska are included on the list. Did they leave anything out?

Herself usually adds “seeing bears and other wildlife” as a higher priority than what’s pulling the train and where the trains go. So in that vein, I’m hoping to interest her in the buzzards of Buzzard Bay.

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I hope you have a large travel budget. Some of those “rides” are the cost of a 1st class vacation. I looked at the Rocky Mountaineer from Moab to Denver. I would need to drive to Moab in a Rental one-way to Moab, then take the train. About a 4 day trip and way over my budget unless one of these $2 pieces of paper turn into some big bucks!