If you want to visit a national park this summer but you’re concerned about rising gas prices and traffic, Amtrak Vacations might just have the solution you need.
Amtrak Vacations provides passenger railroad service to national parks so you can relax and take in the scenery with family or friends. Plus, all of the national park itineraries may be customized to suit your preferences — including origin city, trip length, and even budget.
“Lose yourself in the exquisite beauty and wonder of North America’s treasured national parks,” Amtrak Vacations explains. “You could spend a lifetime exploring these beautiful landscapes and still discover something new to appreciate each time.”
Here’s how the trips are possible. Amtrak Vacations’ trains travel along a 21,000-mile rail system that stretches across 46 states to more than 500 different destinations, many of which are some of the most-famous national parks in the U.S.
“When you travel aboard Amtrak’s iconic train routes such as the Empire Builder, California Zephyr, Coast Starlight, and Southwest Chief to visit these natural wonders, you’ll sweep through scenery that’s sure to astound you,” Amtrak Vacations explains. “Desert landscapes, awe-inspiring mountain ranges, surreal sunsets and sunrises, lush forests, vast plains, and states and cities you probably would never see except by train are just a handful of the views you’ll get to enjoy while onboard en route to your destination. Regardless of where you choose to begin and end these popular national park rail journeys, you can expect to create memories you’ll talk about for years to come!”
Here’s a quick look at some of Amtrak Vacations’ most-popular national park rail journeys.
Glacier National Park Express
Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park, which the National Park Service (NPS) calls the “Crown of the Continent,” is known for its rugged mountains, spectacular lakes, deep forests, and more than 700 miles of trails.
“This is a 10-day rail journey on the Empire Builder route that you don’t want to miss!” Amtrak Vacations explains. “If you choose to visit Glacier National Park from Chicago, your train will traverse major portions of the Lewis and Clark Trail and follow in the footsteps of early pioneers. You’ll also have the opportunity to take in incredible views of untouched wilderness along the way before eventually reaching Seattle.”
You can learn more about the Glacier National Park Express here.
Grand National Parks Of The Southwest – Bryce, And Zion To The Grand Canyon
Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, Zion, And Grand Canyon National Parks
“If you’ve been imagining what it would be like to experience some of the most beautiful, untamed landscapes of the American Southwest, this 9-day, 8-night roundtrip rail journey from Chicago is a perfect adventure!” Amtrak Vacations explains.
Along the way, you’ll be able to take in Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, Lake Powell, and even Grand Canyon National Park.
“Featuring dazzling views everywhere you look, you could spend a lifetime exploring these regions and still discover something new and exciting each time,” according to Amtrak Vacations. “Gorgeous year-round, this is your opportunity to experience what millions of other travelers from around the world travel to see each year.”
You can learn more about the Grand National Parks of the Southwest – Bryce, and Zion to the Grand Canyon vacation here.
Rails To The Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon National Park
“Traveling on-board the Southwest Chief and the Grand Canyon Railway to one of the seven wonders of the natural world is certainly a bucket list experience like no other,” Amtrak Vacations explains. “Known as ‘the most spectacular gorge in the world,’ the Grand Canyon is one of those places that stays with you long after you return home from vacation.”
This 5-day adventure begins and ends in Los Angeles.
You can learn more about the Rails to the Grand Canyon vacation here.
Grand Tetons And Yellowstone Rail Journey
Grand Teton National Park And Yellowstone National Park
The seven-day journey begins in Chicago and ends in Salt Lake City onboard Amtrak Vacations’ California Zephyr.
“Travel through the wide-open landscape of the ‘Heartland of America’ by rail before reaching Salt Lake City. Continue on to Jackson Hole for an exploration of Grand Teton National Park and its spectacular wildlife,” Amtrak Vacations explains. “From there, the journey north continues to Yellowstone National Park, where you can take in the amazing scenery that has made this destination a must-see for decades.”
You can learn more about the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone Rail Journey vacation here.
The Rocky Mountains To Arches & Canyonlands
Rocky Mountain, Arches, And Canyonlands National Parks
This 5-day trip aboard the California Zephyr, which ends in Moab, begins in Denver with a chance to explore the city before traveling to Rocky Mountain National Park.
“Then board Amtrak’s California Zephyr for a scenic ride from Denver to Grand Junction, Colorado, your base for exploring the red-orange sandstone and desert blue skies of Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. It’s no surprise the U.S. Postal Service chose to depict Arches on one of its commemorative Park Service centennial stamps,” Amtrak Vacations continues. “The thousands of sandstone arches at Arches National Park are a must-see, and Canyonlands National Park provides a wealth of scenery — from vast mesas to soaring rock columns, and even examples of Native American cave painting.”
You can learn more about the Rocky Mountains to Arches and Canyonlands vacation here.
Yosemite National Park
This 9-day journey begins with an “entertaining day of sightseeing in San Francisco before touring the award-winning wineries of Napa and Sonoma Valleys,” Amtrak Vacations notes. “Spend a full day exploring the iconic Yosemite National Park. Get to know Los Angeles on a narrated tour and learn why so many stars call this fabulous city home. And, last, but certainly not least, explore the scenic coastal landscape of San Diego.”
You can learn more about the Californian vacation here.
Shenandoah And Great Smoky Mountains National Parks Roundtrip From Washington, D.C.
Shenandoah And Great Smoky Mountains National Parks
This 7-day trip begins with opportunities to explore Washington, D.C, and visit the national monuments.
“Then, in your included car rental, you’ll head to Shenandoah National Park and enjoy a scenic ride along the Skyline Drive through the park,” Amtrak Vacations explains. “Next up is the most visited U.S. national park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where a sightseeing tour will take you to the most spectacular overlooks, through the valleys, and more. Finally, at your leisure, you’ll make your way back to Washington for a final night stay.”
You can learn more about the Shenandoah and Great Smoky National Parks Roundtrip from New York City vacation here.
Portland & Acadia National Park Getaway
Acadia National Park
This 5-day journey allows passengers to “discover the best of Maine,” Amtrak Vacations explains.
“Portland, Maine’s largest city, is a bustling seaport town filled with art galleries, boutiques, historic sites, and museums. Known for its many lighthouses, your all-encompassing harbor cruise tour will take you to see some of the most picturesque ones,” Amtrak Vacations notes. “Then hop in your included rental car and continue up the coast of Maine to Mount Desert Island, home to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. This treasure on the coast of Maine is painted with rocky beaches, woodlands, and glacier-polished peaks including the ever-impressive Cadillac Mountain — the highest point on the East Coast.”
You can learn more about the Portland & Acadia National Park Getaway vacation here.
Learn More So Planning Is Easy
If you’re thinking about visiting a national park by train, you can learn more about all of Amtrak Vacations’ national park rail vacations here.
If you want to visit a national park by rail but can’t decide which one to visit, Amtrak Vacations also has a planning guide, called the National Parks by Rail map. You can download the map, which explains different trip options as well as what you’ll see along the way, here.
Be sure to also visit our national parks content, including 10 Unique Rustic Campsites Near U.S. National Parks. And while you’re thinking about trains, be sure to visit our rail content, including: