When the temperature drops and a nip fills your lungs, you know it’s time to go outside and enjoy the autumn leaves.
Seeing the leaves at the peak of their autumnal transformation into reds, golds, and toasty browns is one of the season’s greatest pleasures. And what better way to accomplish so than to glide peacefully around the countryside?Traveling by rail through a scenic area forces you to slow down and enjoy the sights.
“If you haven’t experienced these seasonal colors, you’ll come to learn that there’s nothing quite like witnessing this unforgettable, brief display of brilliant color each year,” Roger Harris, president of Amtrak, told Travel + Leisure. “Whether it’s the Rocky Mountains, the Appalachians, or New England, if you haven’t experienced them, you’ll come to learn that there’s nothing quite like witnessing this unforgettable, brief display of brilliant color each year.” “Instead of being surrounded by miles of highway, there is something about riding the train, with its unabridged scenery that allows you to get up close and personal with these spectacular fall views.”
Envision yourself relaxing on a train as you glide by the dazzling Adirondack Mountains or taking in the verdant scenery of Vermont, complete with a maple sugar snack. Here are eight of our favorite autumn Amtrak trips.
New York to Montreal
Why go: In around 10 hours, you may make your way to the quaint city of Montreal from New York’s Hudson Valley and the Adirondack Mountains. Stop at Saratoga Springs for a glimpse of a bygone era of rustic opulence, or continue on to Montreal and hike to the peak of Mount Royal Park for a bird’s-eye perspective of the city’s skyscrapers and lush parkland.
Brunswick, Maine, to Boston
The autumn season in New England is enchanting, and this route connects some of the region’s loveliest villages without requiring travelers to rent a vehicle. The total driving time is roughly three and a half hours, but you can easily spend an entire weekend exploring the area. Start your autumn foliage bike tour in Brunswick, Maine, and then go to Portland to see the best leaves (and eat some lobster).
Los Angeles to Seattle
Why you should go: Fall foliage is beautiful all around the United States, not just on the East Coast. This 35-hour trip takes you through the Willamette Valley in Oregon, where you may have some hot coffee and French breakfast before getting off in Washington. Next, visit Mount Rainier National Park in September to view the changing colors of the trees and maybe even an elk browsing among the greenery.
Washington, D.C., to Chicago
As you leave the East Coast behind, go out of the nation’s capital and into the Potomac Valley. Visit Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, located between the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers, to learn about the construction of the first successful American railroad. After an 18-hour journey, you’ll arrive in Chicago, where you may take a walking or boat tour to take in the city’s distinctive architecture.
Chicago to Seattle or Portland
Why go: The Empire Builder is one of the best ways to view the American West, and it leaves daily in both directions. During the course of the 46-hour journey, you’ll see the Mississippi River, Big Sky Country in Montana, and the Pacific Northwest. And if you happen to be on the road between La Crosse, Wisconsin, and St. Paul, Minnesota, in the autumn, you’ll want to keep your eyes glued to the window as you take in the breathtaking display of fall leaves. Stop in Glacier National Park to take in the park’s golden views before continuing on to Seattle or Portland.
St. Albans, Vermont, to Washington, D.C.
Why go: The 14-hour journey from the maple syrup hub of phrazle the United States to the nation’s capital includes stops in both small communities and big metropolitan areas, including New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. Plan a hike in Stowe, Vermont, one of the best places in New England to see the fall foliage, or hop off the train in Springfield, Massachusetts, to visit The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum and reconnect with your inner child.
St. Louis to Kansas City
Why go:This daily service between Missouri’s two main cities is a scenic delight, and it attracts history buffs and nature lovers both. Stops are made at picturesque riverside communities like Hermann, Missouri, which is known for its 300-foot cliffs and rolling vineyards. There’s a lot to see and do, and the trip just takes four hours and forty minutes. Forest Park in St. Louis is the place to go to see the brilliant maple trees, while Faulkner’s Ranch near Kansas City is the place to go for pumpkin-themed celebrations.
Chicago to San Francisco
Why go: This is one of the longest rides in the nation at just over 51 hours, and it offers stunning views of the country’s mountains, plains, and autumn colors. Start your journey in Colorado, where the Rocky Mountains are home to spectacular aspen trees that turn a bright yellow in the autumn and are worth seeing at high speed. Glenwood Springs is a great place to get off the bus since the Rio Grande Trail, which runs for 42 miles and ends in Aspen, is right there.