Travel Tips & Prep, USA

USA Rail Journey with Amtrak

June 26, 2017

View from the California Zephyr Amtrak train

In 2013 we journeyed all around the US on the Amtrak rail network (read about that here) and having talked about using the trains as a great way to get across the country, we wanted to give some credit to Amtrak as an experience in its own right.

Map of Amtrak routes

We’ve highlighted our complete journey in the picture above in green, but the red lines show just how extensive the rail network really is. The network is divided up into routes much like it is in the UK, however the routes are given much cooler names like Capitol Corridor or Sunset Limited.

Life is about the journey…

When we planned our trip around the US the train was simply a cost-effective means of transport and we had no idea that some segments of the journey would become part of top trip highlights! Here are our two favourite journeys on the Amtrak.

California Zephyr: Denver to Salt Lake City, 570 miles

Map of Amtrak routes, Denver to Salt Lake City Highlighted

This section is described in the California Zephyr route guide as “the most scenic stretch of track in America” and with breathtaking views of the Rockies and the Colorado River it’s easy to see why. You’ll want to make sure you get a seat in the observation car for this one!

View from the California Zephyr Amtrak train View from the California Zephyr Amtrak train

Coast Starlight: Emeryville to Los Angeles, 469 miles

Map of Amtrak routes, San Francisco to Los Angeles Highlighted

Our other favourite section of track was the dreamy coastal cruise between Emeryville and Los Angeles, which skirts the Pacific shores for mile after mile. The Coast Starlight route guide gives you all the details about points of interest on the route and where to point your head for all the best views. Here’s a teaser…

View from Coast Starlight Amtrak train

There are many more incredible views to be seen on from the comfort of the Amtrak observation cars and we would definitely recommend it as way to experience a different side to the great American adventure.

Have you got any great Amtrak tips to add? Let us know below!

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