It’s easy to forget that people come from all over the globe to enjoy the vistas we frequently take for granted. Some of the loveliest foliage can be seen in the United States, and photographers’ fall splendor for postcards can be seen on a leisurely trip only a few hours outside of the city. All you have to do is drink your steaming hot cider or pumpkin spice coffee on the go, sit back, and enjoy the trip.
The Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad.
The Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, built in 1880, takes passengers on a 64-mile journey across two states on a train powered by a coal-fired steam engine. Riders may board in Antonito, Colorado, or Chama, New Mexico, from July to October, but boarding in the autumn allows them to view the Southwest’s beautiful foliage at its best.
North Carolina’s Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
Experience the brilliant red, orange, and gold leaves of the Smoky Mountains from the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad’s steam train. Ride in open-air gondolas or relax in the comfort of a first-class vehicle, complete with sophisticated eating choices and a private attendant. Board the train at Bryson, North Carolina, near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
New York’s Adirondack Scenic Railroad
Leaf-peepers generally go roundtrip via the Adirondack Railroad from Utica to Thendara, New York, for stunning views of the Adirondack Mountains foliage. Utica is just four hours from New York City, but a long weekend in the autumn may include stops in Saratoga and Ithaca for a hearty dose of fresh fall air and handmade cider doughnuts.
Oregon’s Mt. Hood Railroad
Hood River, about 60 miles east of Portland, is home to the Mt. Hood Railroad. It’s a two-hour drive through the lush Oregon forest surrounding the majestic, snow-capped Mt. Hood. The Hood River, located in the Columbia River Gorge, is famous for having some of the most incredible fall vistas in the Pacific Northwest.
California’s Napa Valley Wine Train
This luxurious, historic train takes passengers back to a Victorian period when people dressed up for a meal in the elite dining car. The vistas of Napa Valley are breathtaking, the dining car delivers “Napa-style, multiple course gourmet dinners,” and the wine is outstanding. The two-story vista dome car on the Napa Valley Wine Train offers the most incredible views of Northern California. This three-hour train excursion is a drunken and magnificent way to observe the foliage on the West Coast.
The Downeaster Route of Amtrak: New England
Ride Amtrak’s Downeaster from Boston to Brunswick, Maine, in a historic dome car for a panoramic leaf-peeping experience. These 1950s dome cars may be seen on this route and Amtrak’s Albany to Montreal service, which passes through the Adirondack Mountains. The Downeaster is a must-see if you’re in the Northeast in the autumn.
Georgia and Tennessee Blue Ridge Scenic Railway
The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, built in 1905, goes across Georgia and Tennessee. Guests on this train can travel in open-air carriages to breathe the crisp autumn air while admiring the almost dazzling color scheme. The 26-mile journey takes four hours, including two-hour stops for lunch at McCaysville, Georgia and Copperhill, Tennessee. McCaysville and Copperhill are technically the same towns, although they are divided by the Georgia-Tennessee state boundary. The Blue Ridge Railway’s prime leaf season is from September 28 to November 12.
VIA Rail’s Great Western Way in Canada
This route from Toronto to Vancouver takes you via the Rocky Mountains and Jasper National Park, where you’ll see some spectacular autumn foliage. Western Canada features world-class hikes and waterfalls, vibrantly colored lakes, and golden leaves in the autumn. These train routes are selected by VIA Rail to highlight the most incredible scenery in Canada.