See Amazing Sights On The Train To These Great National Parks
You may already know where the major US national parks are located, but did you also know how convenient, relaxing and scenic it is to get to them by train? Amtrak trains travel on a 21,000-mile system through 46 states to over 500 destinations, including many of the major US national parks. While most Amtrak long-distance trains either begin or end in Chicago, they all connect to other Amtrak services around the country, making it easy to start and finish any of these journeys at the station closest to your hometown.
Discover how easy it is to get to the following national parks by train and learn about some of the amazing sights you’ll see along the way!
1. GLACIER NATIONAL PARKLocation: Montana
Train: Amtrak’s Empire Builder
Route/Time: From Chicago, the train takes approximately 31 hours to get to the West Glacier Station.
What You’ll See: Onboard Amtrak’s Empire Builder, you’ll see some of the best of America’s rugged wilderness as you travel along major portions of the Lewis and Clark trail, much of which is still only accessible by train. If you start the journey in Chicago, route highlights include passing through the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, the simple beauty of the plains of North Dakota, the vast expanse of the high desert and Big Sky country, the stunning Cascade Mountains and the spectacular Columbia River Gorge.
West Glacier Station is just steps away from the park’s entrance, and the all the stunning glaciers, waterfalls and mountains the area is known for. The impressive, timbered Glacier Park Lodge sits to the left of the station and is a wonderful option for overnight stays at the park. Constructed from trees estimated to be over 600 years old, the lodge was built by the Great Northern Railway to promote rail travel and to attract tourists to this beautiful area. Nowadays, the park is one of the most popular stops in the entire Amtrak system.
Amtrak Vacations’ trip featuring Glacier National Park:
Prepare to take in all the grand natural beauty of three of America’s most beloved national parks! Visit the Grand Canyon and view one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World. Take in the green pine forests and stony mountains during your visit to Yosemite National Park. Head north and visit the “Crown of the Continent” high in the mountains at Glacier National Park. Explore all these amazing landscapes as well as the beautiful scenic journey by train along the way. Grand National Parks is an unforgettable adventure to the best of the American outdoors!
2. GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARKLocation: Arizona
Train: Amtrak’s Southwest Chief
Route/Time: From Chicago, the train takes approximately 33 hours to get to Williams, Arizona.
What You’ll See: Onboard the Southwest Chief, you’ll witness some of the most iconic geographies in the country from the comfort of your seat. From the prairies of the heartland to the painted desert palette in New Mexico and Arizona, the views are impressive and plentiful. Route highlights include Santa Fe Trail, Raton Pass, Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Sedona Red Cliffs, the Continental Divide, and of course, the magnificent Grand Canyon.
The train stops in Williams, AZ near the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. From Williams, Amtrak passengers can be shuttled to the Grand Canyon Railroad Station to board the Grand Canyon Railway for the short, scenic journey to the Canyon’s South Rim.
Amtrak Vacations’ trip featuring Grand Canyon National Park:
Get ready for a scenic trip of a lifetime from the City of Angels to the majestic Grand Canyon! Board Amtrak in Los Angeles and enjoy the picturesque scenery of the great American Southwest as you venture over to Arizona. Your next stop is the magnificent Grand Canyon, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World! Go where no automobile has ever gone before aboard the Grand Canyon Railway and travel down into the Canyon’s South Rim for a guided tour of many lovely sights. Spend another full day exploring everything this amazing wonder has to offer and bask in the fresh mountain air and gorgeous scenery. This is one trip you will be talking about for years to come!
Train: Amtrak’s California Zephyr
Route/Time: From Chicago, the train takes approximately 34 hours to get to Salt Lake City, Utah.
What You’ll See: This unforgettable journey features views of America’s heartland from Chicago to Denver, and on into the spectacular Colorado Rockies through the Continental Divide. Enjoy the breathtaking views of the snow-capped Sierra Nevadas and the dramatic red rock formations as you enter Utah. The train stops in beautiful Salt Lake City, Utah, and from there, it’s a short journey to Yellowstone National Park.
Amtrak Vacations’ trips featuring Yellowstone National Park:
Journey cross-country to explore the majesty of Yellowstone National Park! After traveling by train across the Great Plains and through the Rocky Mountains, you will be transported north to Yellowstone. Take in the spectacular landscapes, wondrous geothermal features such as geysers and hot pools, and keep an eye open for the abundant wildlife. Yellowstone will absolutely amaze you!
Interesting in upgrading to a sleeping accommodation on an overnight train journey? CLICK HERE to learn more about sleeping options on the train!