Exploring America by Train, The World’s Most Spectacular Train Routes

In an age where air travel dominates, the romance and adventure of train travel are often overlooked.

However, exploring America by train offers a unique perspective on the nation’s vast and varied landscapes, connecting passengers with the country’s heart and history in a way no other mode of transport can.

This article embarks on a journey through some of the most spectacular train routes in America, showcasing the beauty, diversity, and charm of the United States from the comfort of a railway carriage.

1. The Coast Starlight

Starting our journey on the West Coast, the Coast Starlight is a legendary route running from Los Angeles to Seattle.

This journey takes passengers along the stunning Pacific coastline, offering breathtaking views of the ocean, before winding its way through the majestic Cascade Mountains.

The observation cars on this route provide an unobstructed view of the dramatic landscapes, from lush valleys to towering peaks. The Coast Starlight not only offers a visual feast but also a historical one, tracing routes that have connected towns and cities for over a century.

2. The California Zephyr

The California Zephyr is one of the most beautiful train journeys in North America, if not the world. Stretching from Chicago to San Francisco, this route traverses the plains of Nebraska, the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, and the Sierra Nevadas.

The Zephyr offers a panoramic view of America’s diverse landscapes, including the snow-capped peaks of the Rockies and the desert landscapes of Utah.

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This journey is a testament to the pioneering spirit of the American West, taking passengers through regions that were once the frontier of the United States.

3. The Empire Builder

The Empire Builder takes passengers on an epic journey from Chicago to either Seattle or Portland. This route follows the path of the Lewis and Clark expedition, offering a historical journey through the vast plains of the Midwest to the rugged beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

Along the way, passengers witness the changing landscapes of America, from the wheat fields of North Dakota to the dramatic gorges of the Columbia River. The Empire Builder is a nod to the days of early American exploration and the relentless pursuit of the West.

4. The Sunset Limited

The Sunset Limited, America’s oldest continuously running train service, offers a journey from New Orleans to Los Angeles.

This route showcases the diversity of the American South and Southwest, passing through the bayous of Louisiana, the vast Texas plains, and the deserts of New Mexico and Arizona.

The Sunset Limited is a journey through America’s cultural melting pot, offering glimpses into the rich histories and varied landscapes of the southern United States.

5. The Northeast Corridor

While not as scenic as the cross-country journeys, the Northeast Corridor, running from Washington D.C. to Boston, is a testament to the efficiency and history of American rail travel.

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Passing through major cities like Philadelphia, New York, and Providence, this route offers a glimpse into the bustling urban life of the East Coast.

The Northeast Corridor is the backbone of American rail travel, showcasing the importance of trains in connecting the nation’s most significant metropolitan areas.

6. The Alaska Railroad

For those seeking adventure in the last frontier, the Alaska Railroad provides a unique experience. Stretching from Seward to Fairbanks, this route offers views of pristine landscapes, including Denali National Park and the Kenai Fjords.

The Alaska Railroad is a journey into the wild, offering passengers a chance to witness the untouched beauty of America’s northernmost state.

7. The Grand Canyon Railway

Finally, the Grand Canyon Railway offers a historic and scenic route to one of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders.

Starting from Williams, Arizona, this journey takes passengers back in time with vintage cars and locomotives, leading up to the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon. This route is not just a train journey; it’s an experience steeped in history and natural beauty.


Exploring America by train is more than just a mode of transport; it’s an adventure through the heart and soul of the country.

Each route offers a unique perspective on America’s history, culture, and landscape, connecting passengers with the spirit of exploration and discovery that defines the United States.

Whether it’s the rugged mountains of the West, the vast plains of the Midwest, or the urban landscapes of the East Coast, America’s train journeys offer an unforgettable experience for travelers seeking a different view of this vast and beautiful land.

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