While American history is deeply rooted in the railway industry, including many cities that were once thriving railroad axes, today, we usually navigate our gorgeous country by car. Yet, there’s something nostalgic and unique about hopping on board to see the untouched wilderness throughout the US. If touring in North America possesses one problem, it’s where do you begin?
North America holds a wide variety of wonderful cities and towns to visit, artificial and natural wonders to gawk at, and fun activities to participate in. So why not discover America’s most popular destinations on a guided train tour? Setting off with an unknown group for guided travel through the country allows for an exciting sense of friendship as you voyage between destinations.
Who knows, you may even be traveling through the Old West on a train that horse-riding bandits might just rob! Here are 13 train tours you won’t want to miss in America.
Guided Bevans Mine Tour
An underground adventure awaits! The Mining & Rollo Jamison Museum is located in the heart of the Driftless Area between Madison, Wisconsin, and the Mississippi River, surrounded by rolling farm country.
This guided tour that goes from May to October also includes the underground 1845 Bevans Lead Mine and a ride in a 1931 mine train. Museum exhibits here document the history of Platteville and rural life in this nook of the country, especially the history of lead and zinc mining in the Upper Mississippi Valley mining district.
Fun Fact: These limestone-hosted lead-zinc deposits created a famous Lead Rush in the 1820s that led directly to Wisconsin statehood and earned Wisconsin the name “the Badger State.” The zinc minerals sustained the region through the two World Wars until the 1970s.
NYC to Washington DC Day Trip by Rail
Explore America’s most historical landmarks and museums on a full-day trip to Washington D.C. starting from New York City. Begin with a scenic ride by rail, then enjoy a 2-course lunch at the Hard Rock Café upon arriving in Washington.
Board a double-decker bus for a sightseeing journey of the city, and enjoy the liberty of hopping on or off so you can explore the sights that interest YOU the most. Visit D.C.’s marble memorials, moving cemeteries and government buildings at your own pace, then board on an evening train back to NYC, round trip train fare included!
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Yosemite’s One Day Trip by Train and Bus
Reach Yosemite easily from the Bay Area with must-see sights on this small-group tour that starts in San Francisco. You can avoid the cost of a rental car, and travel by bus and train to the park, and you’ll be provided with a written tour guide. You can use your four hours however you wish, exploring at your leisure before returning.
On your tour, you will make a short stop at the Visitor Center to see Ansel Adams Gallery, Yosemite Theater, the American Indian village of The Ahwahnee, and Yosemite Falls. You can take a short, thirty-minute walk from the Visitor Center area to Yosemite Falls and Yosemite Valley Lodge. We recommend you spend the night in El Portal or inside Yosemite Valley to give you a fuller experience.
Verde Canyon Railroad and Historic Jerome Tour
You can experience Arizona’s picturesque Verde Valley on this guided getaway! After an easy pickup from the Phoenix or Scottsdale area hotels, learn about the valley’s history, culture, and geology from an informative guide. You’ll visit the former mining town of Jerome, check out the Arizona Copper Art Museum, and will have a complimentary lunch.
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Then, Kick back on a luxury train with hor d’oeuvres and spectacular views on your return trip. Your only worries will be to choose between a small-group or private tour. Explore Arizona’s history, nature, and culture and learn about this distinctive region from a knowledgeable local guide.
Tuckasegee River Excursion
The Tuckasegee River Excursion takes you along the gorgeous North Carolina countryside through the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. The four-and-a-half-hour journey departs in Bryson City, and the beautiful sweeping countryside with mountains in the distance is truly incredible.
You’ll pass under the Cowee Tunnel and even breeze by the set where the movie Fugitive was filmed. This river excursion includes a 1.5-hour pitstop in the historic town of Dillsboro, where you will find more than 50 shops, restaurants, bed and breakfasts, and country inns. There is time to shop, snack, and visit the many unique shops before returning to Bryson City.
White Pass Summit Rail and Bus Tour
Here you can enjoy a personalized experience on a small-group tour. Explore the best that Skagway has to offer with a train ride on the White Pass Summit Railroad.
Take in the stunning Alaskan scenery on this 1 hour and 45-minute train ride and see the famous landmarks such as Bridal Veil Falls, the Gold Rush Cemetery, Tormented Valley, the Skagway Scenic Overlook, and many more. Snap some shots along the way as you sit back and enjoy this relaxing ride. Ride along the White Pass Summit Railroad and see Alaska’s beautiful scenery.
Amish Country Tour in Lancaster County
Absorb yourself into Amish culture with a visit to the country’s earliest Amish settlement, in Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County. On this full-day journey of Pennsylvania Dutch Country from Philadelphia, step back in time to discover the Amish culture while visiting some of the area’s highlights, such as an Amish bakery, a quilt shop, and an ordinary homestead.
You will also view the Amish Experience F/X Theater Presentation “Jacob’s Choice.” What’s Included? Hotel pickup and drop-off from downtown Philly Hotels, Spend a fun-filled day of sightseeing, shopping, and tasting home-style cooking at your convenience. In Lancaster Amish County, America’s oldest Amish settlement, many still live the “plain” lifestyle.
Evening Lantern Railbike Ride and Train Ride
Take a tour in Boulder City with Rail Explorers and experience the magic of the railroad like never before! Ride the rails on their pedal-powered ‘Rail Explorers,’ a unique activity suitable for anyone, just 20 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip. On this exciting 4 mile downhill railbike ride, you’ll enjoy the mystery of the Nevada desert and the River Mountains like never before.
The steel wheels clickety-clack away over the rails as you coast along the tracks in the cool of the night. The surrounding desert lit up by the moon and stars provide a romantic, lantern-lit getaway and a one-of-a-kind experience. Enjoy the rail-side picnic area, but you must bring your own refreshments, then ride back to the top of the hill in one of the Museum’s historic trains.
Wild West Train Ride from Lake Tahoe
This day trip takes you back in time to the old Wild West on its tour from Southern Lake Tahoe to Virginia City in Nevada. It also includes a train ride on the Virginia & Truckee Railroad. Guide included, you’ll start your day trip by minibus, driving along part of the Pony Express.
When you reach Virginia City, a National Historic Landmark District, you take a 6.5-mile round-trip train ride before enjoying some free time in town to explore at your leisure. Don’t forget to stop by the museums or the historical saloon. If time permits, visit the historic mansions and also learn about the region’s geology, history, and wildlife from a knowledgeable guide.
Grand Canyon Railroad Excursion from Sedona
Travel through the abstract landscape of the Arizona desert with a ride on the historic Grand Canyon Railroad. Sink into your reserved seat that’s been carrying passengers since 1901, and enjoy this ride on the historic Grand Canyon Railroad and canyon tour Ride in luxurious restored passenger cars and learn about the train’s history from amusing guides with onboard commentary along the way.
Move through the lovely countryside on your way to the magnificent Grand Canyon, and peer down into the canyon and hear about its formation on a guided rim tour Travel through Navajo Nation. You will also stop at the Cameron Trading Post on the drive back.
Sunset Railbike and Train Ride
The Nevada Southern Railway remains of the stretch of the historic train tracks used to build America’s Hoover Dam. On this tour, you will ride a 4 mile downhill stretch of the historic railroad on a traditional rail bike from the Nevada State Railroad Museum all the way to Railroad Pass.
Set out sometime in the early evening for the most atmospheric experience and watch the sunset over the Nevada desert and the River Mountains as you pedal along downhill on a leisurely rail-bike excursion. You also get the bonus of the magnificent sunset views over the Nevada desert and mountains.
Verde Canyon Railroad Adventure
Bring the whole family on an activity suitable for all ages as your train cruises along a route that follows the Verde River. Enjoy a 4-hour sightseeing adventure by train on the Verde Canyon Railroad, which glides through the stunning wilderness of the American Southwest near Sedona. Snack on light refreshments while traveling on the Verde Canyon Railroad through the Arizona desert.
Ride this vintage train to get a great perspective on the region’s natural and cultural treasures. You can see ancient cliff dwellings built by the Native American Sinagua people, historic mining sites and you may even catch a glimpse of the native wildlife such as bald eagles or antelope. At the same time, you ride in a covered vintage train car head to the open-air platform car.
Grand Canyon Railway Adventure Package
Imagine boarding a historic train, moving through beautiful landscapes, then being struck with a view by the Grand Canyon in all its glory that makes it one of the seven natural wonders of the world! This is what you can expect with this Grand Canyon Railway Package! Travel across the Northern Arizona countryside on a day trip aboard the Grand Canyon Railway.
You can hear legends and tales from the crew and witness authentic personalities and performers who bring the Wild West to life on this scenic escapade. Once you arrive at Grand Canyon Depot, choose from various activities, including a narrated motor coach tour of Grand Canyon National Park.
You can also upgrade to include first-class accommodations and a buffet lunch at the Maswick Lodge at the Grand Canyon. Don’t miss the Wild West shootout featuring the Cataract Creek Gang in an open-air theater.
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