18 Epic Train Rides That Show Off Some Of America’s Prettiest Landscapes

Ferris Bueller said it best: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” This unexpected nugget of wisdom from a high schooler really captures what our Bucket List articles try to do; that is, show you some of the most incredible places across the country that are just waiting to be explored and enjoyed. And in terms of stopping and looking around, well, there’s perhaps no better way to do that than aboard one of these epic train rides across America. There’s something inherently charming and magical about a train ride; sitting back while the world passes by, feeling the solid wood booths beneath you, with the chug of the locomotive and passenger chatter humming in the background. The following 18 train rides show off some of America’s most sweeping and scenic landscapes, offering once-in-a-lifetime experiences you’ll never forget.

Sometimes the journey really is just as important as the destination. Such is the case for passengers who step aboard these superlative trains. Climb aboard and get ready for one of these epic train rides across America the Beautiful.

For more stunning scenic adventures in the U.S., these 25 charming small towns are some of the best and brightest, offering visitors beauty, history, and experiences that will undoubtedly further your love for our great country.

Address: Branson Scenic Railway, 206 E Main St, Branson, MO 65616, USA
Address: Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad Rockside Station, 7900 Old Rockside Rd, Independence, OH 44131, USA
Address: Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, 45 Mitchell St, Bryson City, NC 28713, USA
Address: Mount Hood Railroad, 110 Railroad Street, Hood River, OR 97031, USA
Address: Arkansas & Missouri Railroad, 306 E Emma Ave, Springdale, AR 72764, USA
Address: 800 N Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90012, USA
Address: Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, 479 Main Ave, Durango, CO 81301, USA
Address: Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, 500 Terrace Ave, Chama, NM 87520, USA
Address: Cass Scenic Railroad State Park, 12363 Cass Rd, Cass, WV 24927, USA
Address: 515 Ruxton Ave, Manitou Springs, CO 80829, USA
Address: The Mount Washington Cog Railway, 3168 Base Station Rd, Mount Washington, NH 03589, USA
Address: 5401 Graham Hill Rd, Felton, CA 95018, USA
Address: Anchorage Depot, 411 W 1st Ave, Anchorage, AK 99501, USA
Address: 1001 Loyola Ave, New Orleans, LA 70113, USA
Address: Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023, USA
Address: 1301 W 11th St, Vancouver, WA 98660, USA
Address: 1275 McKinstry St, Napa, CA 94559, USA

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Train rides across America

May 25, 2022

What are some other bucket-list worthy train rides across America?

There’s something so inherently charming about a train ride: the opportunity to sit back and relax aboard a historic locomotive, surrounded by some of the most marvelous landscapes in the country. After you’ve tackled the above 18 train rides across America, you’ll want to out these three award-winning locomotives in Colorado. Compiled by the folks at 10Best, in 2020, they named the best ride in America as the gorgeous Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, noting that as “One of the most authentic steam-operated railroads in existence, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad runs for 64 miles between Chama, New Mexico and Antonito, Colorado, passing through the San Juan Mountains and the scenic Conejos Valley along the way.” In addition to the fabulous Cumbres & Toltec, named the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad at #5 and the Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway at #9, though we happen to think the latter excursion definitely ranks higher than that!

For some swoon-worthy rides in the Mid-Atlantic, look no further than North Carolina, where taking the ‘scenic route’ is always the best option. Between North Carolina’s picturesque mountains, rolling hills and valleys, and babbling streams and rivers, the best way to enjoy the views is to go the old-fashioned route — and take a train. No matter the season, these five scenic train rides in North Carolina will leave you in awe of the unparalleled beauty of the Tar Heel State. Spoiler alert: our favorite train ride in NC is the Nantahala Gorge Excursion, which you’ll find listed above. But in addition to this scenic adventure, we also love the Triangle Train excursion offered by New Hope Valley Railway. Just 30 minutes outside of Raleigh, you can have an authentic historic experience aboard this open-air train. The New Hope Valley Railway offers excursion rides on vintage equipment at the North Carolina Railway Museum. It’s one of the best train trips in North Carolina. The railway also hosts seasonal events like Halloween and Santa Trains. After your ride, be sure to stop by the North Carolina Railway Museum for more locomotive-themed fun!

Address: Branson Scenic Railway, 206 E Main St, Branson, MO 65616, USA
Address: Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad Rockside Station, 7900 Old Rockside Rd, Independence, OH 44131, USA
Address: Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, 45 Mitchell St, Bryson City, NC 28713, USA
Address: Mount Hood Railroad, 110 Railroad Street, Hood River, OR 97031, USA
Address: Arkansas & Missouri Railroad, 306 E Emma Ave, Springdale, AR 72764, USA
Address: 800 N Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90012, USA
Address: Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, 479 Main Ave, Durango, CO 81301, USA
Address: Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, 500 Terrace Ave, Chama, NM 87520, USA
Address: Cass Scenic Railroad State Park, 12363 Cass Rd, Cass, WV 24927, USA
Address: 515 Ruxton Ave, Manitou Springs, CO 80829, USA
Address: The Mount Washington Cog Railway, 3168 Base Station Rd, Mount Washington, NH 03589, USA
Address: 5401 Graham Hill Rd, Felton, CA 95018, USA
Address: Anchorage Depot, 411 W 1st Ave, Anchorage, AK 99501, USA
Address: 1001 Loyola Ave, New Orleans, LA 70113, USA
Address: Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023, USA
Address: 1301 W 11th St, Vancouver, WA 98660, USA
Address: 1275 McKinstry St, Napa, CA 94559, USA

OnlyInYourState may earn compensation through affiliate links in this article.