The return of harvest season with a flurry of colors is a joy in its own sense in the USA. To experience the fall foliage in its best element, the incredible fall train rides make up for a unique adventure. Being on a bucket list for many, Fall Train Rides are a great way to immerse in surreal landscapes from the comfort of a train. They are not merely excursions but a way to witness a laid-back adventure. So, hop on this adventure with your loved ones or solo with this guide to “Fall Foliage Train Rides In the USA,” which are worth the ticket.
10 Napa Valley Wine Train, California
If a scenic train ride with wine tasting and its vintage train settings sound extravagant, the Napa Valley Wine Train gives you an unforgettable experience. A three-hour and 36-mile round trip journey starting from the town of Napa in California, through one of the prominent wine valleys to the quaint village of Helena, this train has an array of tours to select from. The Legacy Experience, Gourmet Express, Vista Dome, Murder Mystery, Afternoon Tea, Romance On The Rails, Dressed To The Nine On The Lines, and more are themes, each presenting its own set of features. The multiple-course gourmet meal sparkling wines and almost 40 different types of wines are the highlight features of this journey. This train ride can be planned for weddings, group events, romantic or solo getaways, and more.
9 Mount Hood Railroad, Oregon
A century-old historic train ride offering scenic excursions through the Hood River Valley in Northern Oregon is a two-hour ride traversing through orchards, vineyards, and forests with views of snow-capped Mount Adams and Mount Hood. Operating two excursions currently, the railroad has plenty of special events such as fun train robberies, the Fruit Blossom Special, A Day Out With Thomas, the Tank Engine, and Pumpkin Patch Express. It’s one excursion ride to Odell is a two ½-hour ride, whereas one to Parkdale is a 4-hour ride. The Harvest Fall Trip is highlighted by photo stops, harvest gifts, and tasting harvest brews, whereas its Christmas train captures the love and warmth of the Christmas season.
8 Mount Washington Cog Railway, New Hampshire
Operating for almost 150 years, it is World’s First Mountain Climbing Cog Railway. Popular for its ascent to the summit, which can also witness harsh winters sometimes, it was opened in 1868. The railway persists to be an engineering marvel as it is the second-steepest rack railway in the world. The excursion is about 3 hours which includes the time at the summit as well as the journey down. At the summit are the Tip Top House, a cafeteria, gift shops, and a post office. It is recommended to wear thermal layers as the temperature is always biting cold.
7 Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, Ohio
A scenic train ride soaking in panoramic views of maple trees and dogwood trees, this 3.5-hour journey has been operating since 1880. It is known for some of the most spectacular displays of fall foliage in the United States, so it only makes sense that a train ride here would be one of the best. The Green Mountain Railroad in Chester, Vermont, is a two-hour roundtrip scenic ride that the entire family can enjoy. Book the four-course fine dining experience on the dinner train or make a pit stop at Okemo Mountain Resort for a romantic overnight stay.
6 Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, California
A heritage railroad in Northern Georgia, it's a 26-mile journey that begins in downtown Blue Ridge, paving the way through the Chattahoochee National Forest, which halts for a two-hour layover in McCaysville, Georgia, and Copper hill as well as Tennessee. The round trip runs along the Toccoa River, where one can immerse in the vintage vibe of scenic rail.
5 California Zephyr Train, Amtrak
Regarded as the best Amtrak Route in the United States, this train runs from Chicago to San Francisco through the plains of Nebraska to Denver, Colorado Rockies, snow-clad Sierra Nevadas, and Sacramento into San Francisco. Considered one of the most beautiful train trips in North America owing to the mountainous region flushing with colors, the full journey takes around 51 hours and 20 minutes. The train starts from Union Station in Chicago and halts in 33 cities across seven states.
4 Durango & Silverton Gauge Railroad
Known for the 100% coal-fired steam-operated railroad, this railroad has been operating for 140 years. Considered a National Historic Landmark in itself, this train offers quite a scenic and affordable experience. Passing through the landscape of San Juan National Forest, gushing Animas river, Cascade Canyon, and the mining town of Silverton. With the spectacular view of wildlife, waterfalls, and colossal peaks, this journey operates for 45 minutes. Also, Colorado’s mining history takes people back in time.
3 Conway Scenic Railroad
If one wishes to experience the old-fashioned railroad experience, this heritage railway in New Hampshire has the ambiance of vintage trains and incredible scenic views. Not only the fall foliage sums up mesmerizing panoramas, but one can witness bluffs, ravines, brooks, and bridges. One of the most dramatic scenery can be encountered across Frankenstein Trestle and Willey Brook Bridge. There are various customized excursions to each individual’s needs. Few journeys are around an hour, whereas others are around 4-5.5 hours. The Conway and Sawyer River Valley Train are classic heritage train rides, whereas the “Mountaineer” resembles a 1950s-era streamlined train.
2 Amtrak’s Coast Starlight Train, California
One of the spectacular train rides, the Coast Starlight train, traverses through different terrains from Los Angeles to Seattle. Fall colors come to life through Willamette Valley and onto Portland. The total trip is around 35 hours and connects Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle. The view across the Coast Starlight is marvelous to behold as it further passes through Cascade Mountain Range and Mount Shasta.
1 Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad
Deemed as the longest, highest, and most authentic steam railroad in North America, Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad is a National Historic Landmark itself. This 64-mile journey reaches the top of the Cumbres Pass, i.e, 10,015 feet, surpasses canyon walls, burrows through tunnels, and steams over the 137-foot Cascade Trestle. The lush forests, high plains filled with wildflowers, stunning geological formations as well as spotting wildlife are numerous reasons to opt for this journey. This train is from budget travelers to high-end ones making it a feasible and memorable experience.