The time of year for admiring fall foliage is upon us, and what better way could there be to do so than from the window of a train? This allows passengers to slow down for a moment and truly take in the marvelous autumn views between mountains, over rivers, and alongside golden trees and hills that are home to wildlife.
Although “slow” is a valuable keyword regarding plans for a train excursion, the number of worthwhile train outings available across the US is plentiful. Here is a quick list of fall train rides that are worth the time investment.
10 Great Smoky Mountains Railroad – North Carolina
The magnificent views of the Great Smoky Mountains feel even more magical by railroad. This railroad leaving from Bryson City, North Carolina, carries passengers through some of the best vantage points from which to take in the colors of autumn with a mountainous backdrop.
A variety of excursion packages are available to choose from on the company website.
9 Durango And Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad – Colorado
The Rockies are especially breathtaking during the fall, so Colorado is a splendid fall destination for travelers and locals alike.
This railroad trip runs from Durango to Silverton via the San Juan National Forest on a ride that is both mountainous and vividly colorful in restored trains dating from 1923 to 1925, which provides an extra atmospheric touch.
This route which takes approximately 3.5 hours to complete can easily fit into any Colorado day trip.
8 Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad – West Virginia
Anyone finding themselves in West Virginia this fall should consider the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad. This journey by rail through the Potomac Highlands follows along the Potomac River as passengers approach a nearby gorge which serves as a prime eagle-watching spot.
These excursions are offered in 3-hour and 8-hour packages, so those looking for either a full-day event or just a quick outing both have easy options.
7 Conway Scenic Railroad – New Hampshire
This delightful train ride is especially immersive from inside its vintage trains. It carries passengers through the wondrous panoramic views of the East Coast and picturesque scenes of fall foliage from the famous Willey Brook Bridge. Varied excursions are available, featuring slightly different routes, and range in length from 1 to 5.5 hours.
6 Catskill Mountain Railroad – New York
Catskill Mountain Railroad offers tours through the colorful Catskill Mountains in their open-air Fall Adventure Trains made for optimal views of the landscape.
Two fall excursions are offered that take the same route, with the only difference being that the Pumpkin Express tour available in late October includes a pumpkin for every passenger to take home!
5 Essex Steam Train – Connecticut
Essex Steam Train offers a variety of trips for passengers of all kinds through the Connecticut River Valley.
These options for classic steam engine rides include a combined riverboat tour and an indulgent dinner train which includes desserts, wine, spirits, and cigars.
4 Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad – Ohio
Railway rides through Cuyahoga Valley National Park are a great option for those in the area. Aside from standard two-hour scenic excursions, there are more specialized options available like dinner trains, Halloween rides, and even murder mystery rides.
3 My Old Kentucky Dinner Train
The My Old Kentucky Dinner Train experience is as simple and straightforward as it sounds while still providing as beautiful of a fall experience of Kentucky as one can imagine.
This route shows off the scenery of the Bardstown, Kentucky countryside as passengers have lunch, join a joyous Bourbon Excursion, or have a classic murder mystery dinner.
2 Cumbres And Toltec Scenic Railroad – Colorado To New Mexico
The Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railway, which is officially a National Historical Landmark, carries passengers through the colorful terrain of the Colorado – New Mexico border.
Excursions are available for half or full-day trips through a colorful countryside that is home to wildlife like elk and bears before it crawls over an 800-foot gorge.
1 Mount Washington Cog Railway – New Hampshire
This spectacular railway ascends its riders to the top of Mount Washington, which is the tallest mountain in the Northeast.
This was the first mountain-climbing cog railway in the world and reaches the summit in approximately 45 minutes before making the journey back down after an hour.
The view from the top spanning across six states and the first visible glimpses of Canada makes for one of the greatest fall foliage vantage points.