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Exploring America's Natural Wonders by Train

Amtrak's national railway holds the key to exploring America's natural wonders.
Exploring America
Yaki Point Sunset 9517/Grand Canyon NPS/Flickr
     One of the best ways to see the United States is by train as it is a large country whose cities, while beautiful, are not the true gems of this country. It is the natural environments that are so vastly different and stunning from state to state that you don’t want to miss. On the railway, you have the opportunity to see the varying landscapes without the distraction of looking at maps and keeping your eyes and ears pealed for GPS directions and exit signs. If you get tired of peering out your window at the snow-covered mountains, alien like lava formations, verdant pine forests, and glacier cut clear blue lakes and rivers, you can read a book, write those postcards you keep meaning to send, or catch up on some much needed sleep. Amtrak, the country’s national railway, offers several different travel packages for tourists.

    Amtrak sells USA rail passes for 15 days/8 segments, 30 days/12 segments, and 45 days/18 segments durations. Each segment is a trip from one destination to whatever location requires you to get off the train either to change trains or arrive at your destination. You can cover a lot of ground this way as long as you take direct lines and are not too picky about destinations. Stops include most major US cities allowing you to get to New York City, Chicago, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles easily. Costs range, for adults, from $449 to $879, and passes can be picked up at any Amtrak station or arranged in advance online. If your main goal is to reach the sunny star-studded beaches of California, there is a separate rail pass just for the state that will cost you $159.00 and give you seven days of travel any time during a 21-day period.

    Amtrak Vacations are more structured options which will make sure you are all taken care of setting you up with hotel or train dorms for sleeping, some meals, passes to sites, tours, and entertainment. There are various themes such as Glacier National Park Discovery, Grand Canyon and Las Vegas, and Jazz, Blues and Rock ‘N’ Roll. The cost for these packages range from $3,000 to $5,000. Regional Rail Tour Packages offer similar benefits at discounted rates, but you can create a package based on your preferences and with more freedom.

    Must sees along your journey are Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Canyon. These natural wonders provide some of the best America has to offer. In Yellowstone, you can see buffaloes in their natural habitat and view some of the most impressive geysers resulting from the pressure of heated hot springs below. Once a volcano, this hot bed national park sits at the center of its exploded crater. Microorganisms, which thrive in the extreme heat that would burn a human, create colorful patterns that are aesthetically pleasing. The Grand Canyon is equally stunning, and its steep cliffs hold mysteries to the earth’s formation and history. At the Grand Canyon Skywalk in Arizona, visitors can stand on a glass transparent cantilever bridge allowing incredible view points over the Canyon’s Colorado River that would give even the most fearless tourists a case of vertigo. With experiences like these, you will not want to miss the endless natural wonders the United States has to offer you by train.

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