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These Are The Top 6 Train Rides Across America For Stunning Winter Views 

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Now that America has entered the fall season, it’s time to start thinking about cold-weather travel. While there is no shortage of places across the country to visit for a fall getaway, choosing where to visit in the winter takes a bit more planning. 

One way to experience some of the beauty of the country is to take a winter train trip, offering everything from rides with Santa to cool coastal views.

Steam train ride in winter snow travel scene copy

Train travel in America has a classic, iconic feel, and while it might be slower (and oftentimes more pricey) than flying to your destination, there is something to be said for riding the rails and taking in the views. 

Train rides in the winter offer some stunning scenery, getting you from point A to B in a cozy and warm seat with huge picture windows to watch the landscape roll by.

Not to mention it takes away the need for having to drive, especially to remote places on winter roads, which is not fun for anyone. 

yellow train windows and snowy mountains

These Are The Top 6 Train Rides Across America For Stunning Winter Views:

Aurora Winter Train, Alaska

When it comes to trains with classic winter views, Alaska has it all covered. While there are many to choose from, the Aurora Winter Train has to be the best choice for visitors in the colder months. This 12-hour trip runs between Fairbanks and Anchorage, passing through snowy forests, frozen-icy rivers, and stops in Denali National Park and Talkeetna. 

This is a special train offered by the Alaska Railroad and only runs on the weekends, so make sure to plan accordingly if you are hoping to catch it. Food and drinks are available and the comfy seats face the big picture windows. 

Aurora Winter Train, Alaska

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, Colorado

Colorado is home to many of America’s most scenic railways, most of which are beautiful in winter.

A whole separate article on the most stunning railways in Colorado could be considered, but as this is a comprehensive list we had to narrow it down to one choice from this state. 

And narrow we did, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is one of the state’s most beautiful rides, and its Cascade Winter train is a favorite with travelers looking for views. With a ride of nearly thirty miles each way, visitors can enjoy the Rocky Mountains and the Animas River, through Durango and Cascade Canyon.

Watch the snow-capped San Juan National Forest roll by and enjoy a full concession car and even outdoor standing room as well. 

@katelinr0se The coolest train ride ever! 🚂❄️ #durango #silverton #durangosilvertontrain #train #trainride #snowy #winter #colorado #coloradocheck #coloradoadventures #steamenginetrain #sanjuanmountains #nationalforest #polarexpress #adventure #explore #fyp ♬ original sound – Train777

Winter Escape Grand Canyon 

This trip is more of a combination journey, offering a vacation in itself kind of itinerary.

Most start this journey in Chicago’s iconic Union Station, where they board Amtrak’s Southwest Chief and head on a scenic overnight trip toward Flagstaff, Arizona. Pass through Colorado and Kansas and stop in Albuquerque, enjoying the changing scenery the whole way. 

After arriving you spend the night in one of the Grand Canyon’s classic lodges, and then the next day you enjoy a breathtaking winter view of the Grand Canyon's south rim about the Grand Canyon railway.

While both of these trips can be booked on their own, the combination is a classic rail trip for an American winter vacation with a stunning view.

Winter storm; Grand Canyon south rim, December, Arizona

California Zephyr

This Amtrak journey is hailed as being one of the most beautiful routes in America, and the wintertime is no exception.

Running between Chicago and San Francisco, highlights include Omaha, Denver, and Salt Lake City, all places that are quite picturesque in the snowy season. 

Passing through both the Rockies as well as the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the high tracks and snowy peaks will keep you interested as you snake your way across the country on this journey. 

@flanders_images @amtrak California Zephyr heading down the hill at Yuba Gap, CA #fyp #trains #railroad #amtrak #californiazephyr #🚂 #drone #dji #railroad #railyard #snow #christmas ♬ Wonder – Shawn Mendes

Empire Service, New York

This East Coast route is one that connects Niagara Falls to New York City and passes some pretty landscapes along the way.

You'll wind your way through the Finger Lakes, part of Western New York's prettiest region in both the winter as well as the summer. 

Follow the Hudson Valley and cling to the side of the frozen Hudson River as you pass sights such as West Point, the abandoned Bannerman Castle, and possibly some icebreaker ships.

End at the stunning Moynihan train hall in Manhattan, or Niagara Falls, which has been making a comeback in recent years (and looks very cool frozen over). 

Sunrise on the amtrak rails along the frozen Hudson,River

Coast Starlight

A  stunning journey in all weather, this major west coast route connects Los Angeles and Seattle, passing through iconic locations such as San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Sacramento, and Portland. 

This route has you passing along Mount Shasta, forests and valleys, and the jaw-dropping  Pacific Coast shoreline, not to mention the Cascade Mountain range.

This 35-hour trip winds you through Washington State, Oregon, and Northern California, all places that are simply beautiful in the winter months. 

@toskami I felt like I was traveling through a Christmas card. #amtrak #coaststarlight #oregon #willamettevalley #snow #winter #train ♬ Comfort Chain – Instupendo

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