10 Scenic Train Routes for a Mesmerizing Fall Foliage Experience

Introduction

Every fall, Mother Nature graces America with one of her most stunning displays as the leaves transition into a vibrant symphony of gold, orange, and crimson. Historic train journeys, like Conway, Cape Cod, and Sugarloaf, come alive with these warm hues, offering unforgettable rides. For those seeking the best fall foliage views while staying close to civilization, embarking on a scenic fall train journey is a top tip. Local train excursions provide the perfect way to revel in the colors of nature from the comfort of an observation car or lounge. Here are some of the top scenic train routes in the U.S. that provide breathtaking views of the fall foliage.

10 Scenic Train Routes for a Mesmerizing Fall Foliage Experience

1. Conway Scenic Railroad (New Hampshire)

In North Conway, New Hampshire, the Conway Scenic Railroad takes passengers on a journey alongside the meandering Saco River, offering captivating views of the White Mountains’ Presidential Range. The hillsides are adorned with maple, birch, and ash leaves, creating a mesmerizing landscape. With round-trip fares starting at just $18 for adults, it’s an affordable family outing.

2. Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (Colorado)

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad in southwestern Colorado offers a spectacular fall experience as it travels through Animas Canyon to Silverton. Aspen groves line the tracks, their leaves shimmering in shades of gold and copper. This historic coal-fired steam train ride lasts over three hours but feels like a world away from Durango. Fares start around $80 per person.

3. Cape Cod Central Railroad (Massachusetts)

The Cape Cod Central Railroad traverses Cape Cod, offering passengers the chance to witness seasonal transformations along the coastal landscape. As the train crosses saltwater marshes, passengers can admire crimson cranberry bogs against the blue waters. The scenery may also include herons wading in cordgrass and snowy egrets fishing in the shallows. Round-trip fares begin at approximately $20.

4. Sugarloaf Scenic Railroad (New Hampshire/Maine)

Connecting New Hampshire and western Maine, the Sugarloaf Scenic Railroad provides a one-hour journey with sensational foliage views, particularly vibrant in September and October. Departing from Conway or Kingfield, passengers can enjoy the sight of the Saco River Valley, Crawford Notch, and Mount Washington valley covered in brilliant oranges, reds, and yellows. With round-trip fares ranging from $18 to $28 per person, it’s one of the most affordable fall train excursions in New England.

5. Catskill Mountain Railroad (New York)

In the Catskills Mountains of New York, the Catskill Mountain Railroad offers one of the most scenic fall train rides. Passengers can take in the picturesque farmland and woodlands adorned in crimson, burnt orange, and sunny yellow. Rustic vineyards and century-old covered bridges further enhance the charm of this journey. Ticket prices are $17 for children (ages 2-12) and $25 for adults.

6. West Virginia Rail Excursion (West Virginia)

High in West Virginia’s eastern mountain region, the West Virginia Rail Excursion provides passengers with grand views of fall foliage against steep sandstone rock faces. Dense forests of maples and oaks offer vibrant reds and oranges, creating a stunning backdrop for the winding Cheat and Elk river valleys below. Round-trip ticket prices range from $35 to $52, and children 3 and under ride for free.

7. Vermont Rail System (Vermont)

Northern and central Vermont offer a premier fall train destination via the scenic Vermont Rail System. Passengers can enjoy the pastoral scenery from heated bi-level coaches, passing by thriving maple sugar shacks and historic covered bridges between Waterbury, St. Albans, and Montpelier. Round-trip fares for children start at $15, while adults start at $25.

8. Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (Ohio)

Spanning 80 miles between Cleveland and Canton, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad takes passengers through one of Ohio’s most scenic regions in September and October. Along the winding Cuyahoga River, crowds of maple and oak leaves create a vibrant backdrop. Occasionally, white-tailed deer make appearances, adding to the scenic experience. Preservation and online fees apply.

9. Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad (New Hampshire)

For unrivaled foliage views, choose New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee, where the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad departs from Meredith or Weirs Beach station. Passengers can enjoy the tranquil setting of the lake’s bright autumnal hues reflected on its surface as they pass by resort villages and offshore islands. Round-trip fares range from $16 to $36, with advance reservations required.

10. Taconic train Railroad (New York)

The Taconic Railroad along New York’s Hudson River offers stunning fall scenery in the scenic Berkshires region. Passengers can gaze at farmland, forests, and hillsides painted in shades of crimson and deep scarlet. Ticket prices for round trips range from $16 to $26, making it a great value for families eager to witness nature’s seasonal transformation.

Conclusion

These scenic train routes offer a front-row seat to nature’s spectacular fall display. Whether you choose to travel through New England, the Catskills, or the mountains of Colorado and West Virginia, you’re sure to be enchanted by the breathtaking beauty of autumn foliage. So, hop aboard and enjoy an unforgettable journey through the vibrant colors of fall.

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10 Scenic Train Routes for a Mesmerizing Fall Foliage Experience

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