Last updated: 07:00 AM ET, Fri August 21 2015

5 Train Rides to Find the Fall Foliage

Features & Advice | Tom Bastek | August 21, 2015

5 Train Rides to Find the Fall Foliage

Photos courtesy of those featured

There is nothing better than a railcar ride in the fall through the hills to see the fall foliage.  Unlike in Europe, where travel by rail is more common, there is a limited number of places in the U.S. to still take that classic train ride through the countryside.  So here are five places where you can take a great ride, learn a lot about the history of railroads across the country and at the same time, take in a leaf peeper’s dream.

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad – Durango, Colorado

The City of Durango was founded by the Denver & Rio Grande Railway in 1879, and by 1882 the route to Silverton had been laid and the train was in motion. The train has been in service ever since.  With the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad you get a real steam locomotive pulling rolling stock just like you would have found on the line more than 100 years ago. Rides rund twice daily until Oct. 15 and then once a day after that, and the trip takes all day with a two hour and fifteen minutes stopover in Silverton.

Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad – Blue Ridge, Georgia

The Blue Ridge Scenic Railroad starts in Historic Blue Ridge, Georgia at the depot, which was built in 1905. The ride is a four-hour roundtrip down the Toccoa River nestled amongst the Chattahoochee National Forest. There is a two-hour layover at the Georgia/Tennessee line in the towns of McCaysville, Georgia and Copperhill, Tennessee.  There is shopping, restaurants and river views for you to enjoy before your trip back. Fall foliage tours are offered on most week days in October, and twice on Friday and Saturdays.

Essex Steam Train & Riverboat – Essex, Connecticut

The Valley Railroad Company has been proudly in constant operation since 1868. This is a New England tour not to miss where after a 12-mile train ride, guests get onto the Becky Thatcher riveboat for a tour of the inlets and marshes of the Connecticut River. Then upon return to the dock, guests are given the return trip on the train, ending a perfect leaf viewing day through the towns of Deep River and Chester. Trips run weekends in September and Thursday through Monday through October.

Napa Valley Wine Train – Napa, California

What’s better than touring Napa Valley during the fall by train? Touring it with a great lunch and stops at the major wineries along the way on the Napa Valley Wine Train. Their restored Pullman dining cars offer a perfect view of the valley while allowing you to eat a spectacular meal with, what else, wine. They run the wine and non wine tours seven days a week all the way through November and if you go early enough in the season, you can request to be sat in their open air dining car.

Grand Canyon Railway – Williams, Arizona

The Grand Canyon Railway and Hotel is known as one of the greatest way to see the Grand Canyon. But it is also a place for the colors to come out bright and the kids to come to the pumpkin patch.  Each October the railway runs to the pumpkin patch and each child gets to pick a pumpkin to take home with them included in the price.  Pumpkin pie, hot apple cider, hot chocolate, and other Halloween treats will be available for purchase as well. If you just want to ride and you don’t need the pumpkin patch, the train runs seven days a week.


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