Top 10 Fall Foliage Train Rides

Image of train riding near great view of fall foliage

Yesterday I was searching through the website Mommy Poppins for fun things to do ideas.  I came across an article by Rachel Sokol on Halloween Trains in New Jersey.  Funtober has information on a number of different types of train rides.  I thought I would write about scenic train rides looking at fall foliage as part 1.  Then part 2 would be about ghost tours and haunted train rides.  Then finally part 3 about vacation type train rides.

Westbound freight train at Glacier park MT

Northeast Scenic Train Rides Through New York – New Hampshire – Connecticut

Adirondack Scenic Railroad – 321 Main Street, Utica, NY 13501
See the beautiful fall colors of the Adirondacks on the Fall Foliage Train operated by the Adirondack Scenic Railroad.  The train departs Utica, New York and travels to Thendara.  It runs approximately 49 miles each way.  The price for the round trip is $35.50 for adults.  The train is climate controlled and has observation cars, rest room, and a café.  The train leaves Friday and Sunday at 11:30 am and returns at 4:30 pm between the dates of September 21 – October 12, 2014.

Mount Washington COG Railway – 3168 Base Station Road, Marshfield Station, NH.
Journey to the top of Mount Washington on the COG Railway.  A trip that takes you to the highest peak in New England at over 6200 feet.  In September and October the trains run every day at half hour intervals.   The 3 Hour Round trip includes one hour on top of the mountain.  The ticket price is $66 for adults.  The cars are climate controlled.  There are no restrooms or food service on board.

Essex Steam Train & Riverboat – One Railroad Avenue, Essex, Connecticut 06426.
Enjoy a train excursion deep into Connecticut’s natural forests.  The Essex Steam Train offers a combined train and riverboat ride on its Connecticut River Fall Foliage event.  The trip takes about 2 1/2 hours including the 75 minute ride aboard the Becky Thatcher riverboat.  The train operates Friday – Sunday between September 5-28, 2014 and Thursday – Monday between October 2-26, 2014.  Tickets are priced at $28.00 for adults.

Southern Scenic Train Rides Through Georgia and North Carolina

Great Smokey Mountains Railroad – 226 Everett St., Bryson City, NC 28713
Travel the Nantahala Gorge Excursion on the Great Smokey Mountains Railroad this fall on a 4 1/2 hour westbound trip.  Enjoy this 44 mile fall foliage adventure.  Roundtrip includes a one hour layover for sightseeing or a picnic lunch at the visitor centor.  The train travels the Little Tennessee and Nantahala River and into the Nantahala Gorge.  Truly one of America’s best scenic routes.  They offer several versions of this trip including a Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown ride.  They also offer a train going east called the Tuscasegee River Excursion.  Depending on seating desired the ticket prices start at $55.00 for adults.  Book your tickets in advance.  The most common running times are 9 am and 2 pm.

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway – 241 Depot Street, Blue Ridge, GA 30513
The Fall Leaf Excursion has a ticket price of $48.00 plus taxes for adults.  The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway runs this trip daily from October 1st – November 1st, 2014.  They have both enclosed climate controlled and open air railcars.  It is recommend you purchase your tickets 3 weekends in advance as they will sell out.    Start your 4 hour journey at the historic depot in Blue Ridge and travel through the Chattahoochee National Forest.  They stop in McCaysville, Georgia and Copperhill, Tennessee.  A town on the border with two names.  You will have time to eat, view the town, and shop the crafts and antiques.  The fall foliage in October is spectacular.


Western Scenic Train Rides Through California, Colorado, and Arizona

Grand Canyon Railway – 233 N. Grand Canyon Blvd., Williams, Arizona.
Williams Arizona is the gateway to the Grand Canyon.  It is approximately 180 miles from Phoenix.  The Grand Canyon Railway views of the canyon and changing landscape are amazing.  The train leaves daily from the Williams depot at 9:30 am and returns at 5:45 pm.  The train ride itself is a little over 2 hours each way to travel the 65 miles.  It arrives on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park at 11:45 am.  There are 6 classes of tickets.  The lowest priced Pullman car adult ticket is $62.00.

Napa Valley Wine Train – 1275 McKinstry Street, Napa, California 94559
The train station is approximately 5 miles outside of downtown Napa.  The Napa Valley Wine Train takes a leisurely 3 hour 36 mile round trip excursion from Napa to St. Helena and back.  There are several lunch, dinner, murder mystery, and winery tour options.  All packages include a specially prepared on board lunch or dinner.  The complete packages are not what I would consider cheap.  Check their website for complete details.

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad – 479 Main Avenue, Durango, CO 81301
One of America’s legendary western railroads, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad has continuously operated between Durango and Silverton since 1882.  From September 1 – October 25 the train departs Durango at 8:45 am and returns at 6:00 pm with a 2 hour layover in Silverton.  There are a number of packages, railcars, and ticket prices.  The basic price is $85.00 and up.  There is a concession car and restrooms onboard.  In case your curious standard gauge rails are 56 1/2 inches apart based on Roman chariot wheels.  Narrow gauge is only 36 inches apart and better suited for the sharp curves of mountain terrain.

Mid-America Scenic Railroads in Ohio

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad – 1630 West Mill Street, Peninsula, OH 44264.
Trains operate Wednesday through Sunday from September 1 – October 31, 2014.  Tickets for the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad  are $18 for adults for the round trip from Independence and Akron through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  You can board the train at the Rockside, Pennisula, Akron Northside and Canton Lincoln Highway Stations.

Southern Michigan Railroad – 101 N. Evans, Tecumseh, Michigan
This October spend two hours on the Fall Colors Tour aboard the Southern Michigan Railroad.  Travel the 14 miles from Tecumseh along the Raisin River over a magnificent bridge with a stop for cider and donuts at Kapnick’s Orchards.  Adult tickets are $19.90.  It runs Saturday and Sunday October 11-26, 2014.

Image of train riding near great view of fall foliage
See Fall Foliage by Train

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