Golden West Ramble
Journey through the Colorado Rockies on this fantastic 12-day rail trip aboard Amtrak's renowned California Zephyr bound for California.
Journey through the Colorado Rockies on this fantastic 12-day rail trip aboard Amtrak's renowned California Zephyr bound for California. Begin your journey at Chicago's legendary Union Station where you will board the Zephyr for your overnight journey across the Rockies to your first destination, San Francisco. Spend some time discovering the City by the Bay as you hop aboard the city's classic cable cars, or dine at the legendary Fisherman's Wharf. A guided sightseeing tour will help you see all the popular highlights of the city including Chinatown, Golden Gate Park, Jackson Square and more.
While in San Francisco take a special excursion aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train as you head into California's wine country where you will have the opportunity to travel through the vast amount of vineyards and wineries in the area, and concluding your day with a tasty three course gourmet lunch. From San Francisco travel south to Felton where you will board the historic Roaring Camp & Big Trees Narrow Gauge Railroad for a scenic journey through California's redwoods. Spend the night in picturesque Monterey.
Embark on a sightseeing tour of Monterey which will take you to iconic destinations such as Seal Rock and Cypress Point, from there you will continue your rail adventure with a visit to the popular Hearst Castle, home to the late publishing czar William Randolph Hearst. After, continue south to Santa Barbara with a short sightseeing trip before boarding Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner bound for Los Angeles. While in Los Angeles have the opportunity to travel to the gorgeous island of Catalina, only a short 22 miles off the California coast, where you can explore the spectacular coves, profound canyons and crystal blue ocean water. You will then have time to discover Los Angeles on a extensive sightseeing tour to famed sights such as Rodeo Drive and the Grauman's Chinese Theatre. From Los Angeles board Amtrak's Southwest Chief for you journey back to Chicago.
Highlights and Inclusions
- Train travel aboard the California Zephyr from Chicago to San Francisco
- Train travel aboard the Southwest Chief from Los Angeles to Chicago
- Roomette train sleeping accommodations for four nights
- Hotel accommodations for 7 nights
- 19 meals
- Sightseeing including San Francisco, Monterey, Hearst Castle, Catalina Island, and Los Angeles
- Excursions board the Napa Valley Wine Train and the Roaring Camp and Big Trees Narrow Gauge Railroad
- Transportation by deluxe motorcoach
- Services of professional tour director
- Baggage handling, taxes, and tips
Day 1- Depart Chicago
The Golden West Rail Ramble tour group will meet our Tour Director in the Metropolitan Lounge of Chicago's Union Station. We'll board the famous California Zephyr in time for its mid afternoon departure. The Zephyr features double-decker Superliner equipment. Relax in your comfortable Roomette sleeping accommodations. Bedrooms are available at an additional cost. After settling in you may want to go to the glass-walled Sightseer Lounge. Enjoy a sumptuous, full-course dinner in the dining car. All meals are included on the Zephyr. (D)
Day 2- Colorado Rockies
The Zephyr will depart Denver this morning and begin its climb over the Front Range of the awesome Colorado Rockies. Throughout the day the train will wind around sharp mountain curves and through numerous tunnels. You'll look down at fast-flowing streams winding through valleys far below. The breathtaking mountain vistas will continue until late afternoon. (B, L, D)
Day 3- En Route/ San Francisco
During the night you crossed the dry, sparsely populated Nevada countryside. Today's scenery will be almost as spectacular as that experienced yesterday as the Zephyr ascends the Sierra Nevada mountains through the famous Donner Pass. From rugged terrain and pine trees to lush greenery and palm trees . . . in just three hours.
Our arrival in Emeryville is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. Then it is on to the famous “City by the Bay”. Our home for three nights in San Francisco is the attractive Holiday Inn Fisherman's Wharf. (B, L)
Day 4- San Francisco
You're free this morning to ride a cable car or just wander through the great shops and galleries. At 1:00 p.m. we'll embark on a three-and-a-half hour sightseeing tour of San Francisco, including Chinatown, Golden Gate Park, Jackson Square, the Mission District, Telegraph Hill, the Presidio, and Fisherman's Wharf. Our tour will end at the world-renowned Fisherman's Wharf, with its picturesque sights and pungent smells. It attracts millions of visitors annually. You'll have time to discover the excellent restaurants, markets, import houses and souvenir shops. Return to our hotel or spend more time at this marvelous attraction. Choose one of the many fine restaurants in Fisherman's Wharf.
Day 5- Napa Valley Wine Train
This morning we'll board a comfortable motorcoach and travel eastward across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and head north into the famous California wine country. Our destination is Napa where, for a few hours, we'll return to the gracious era of elegant rail travel and distinguished service. The rail cars that make up the Wine Train have been meticulously restored to their original splendor. The Lounge and Wine Tasting cars are resplendent in polished mahogany, brass, and etched glass. You'll savor hors d'oeuvres chosen to enhance the Wine Train's own selection of the finest Napa Valley wines. Later you'll be ushered into the 1917 Pullman Dining Car. While the train rolls slowly past many of the valley's 50+ vineyards and wineries, you'll enjoy a three-course gourmet lunch. At mid afternoon our travelers will return to San Francisco for a final night. (L)
Day 6- Monterey
Our travelers will check out of the hotel this morning and travel by motorcoach south about 80 miles to Felton. At 11:00 a.m. we'll board the historic Roaring Camp & Big Trees Narrow Gauge Railroad train for a spectacularly scenic, six-mile ride through a magnificent stand of tall California redwood trees. We'll enjoy a picnic lunch (included). We'll continue to picturesque Monterey. This charming resort community is one of the most scenic locations on the Pacific Coast. Late this afternoon, we'll visit historic Cannery Row, which was once a raucous industrial street famous for canning sardines and for the haunts of characters in John Steinbeck's 1945 novel, “Cannery Row.” ?There are many shopping opportunities and restaurants . . . all within walking distance. You will have time for an “on-your-own” dinner before transferring to our hotel, the Portola Plaza Hotel and Spa. (L)
Day 7: Cambria
We'll strike out this morning on a sightseeing tour of the Monterey area. The high point of our visit will be the scenic, 17-mile drive from Pacific Grove to Carmel. Points of interest along the way include Seal Rock and Cypress Point. You'll also see Pebble Beach and other golf courses made famous as the site of the annual Bing Crosby golf tournaments. After an “on-your-own” luncheon stop, we'll travel south along the Pacific Ocean shoreline to Cambria. Our home for this evening is The Fog Catcher Inn. The Tour Director will host dinner tonight. (D)
Day 8- Hearst Castle
After breakfast (included) we'll transfer from our hotel to one of California's major attractions and a high point of our tour, the famous Hearst Castle. You'll see the Castle greenhouses and 123 acres of the estate of the late publishing czar William Randolph Hearst. The main residence is a huge Hispano-Moorish building called La Casa Grande, where millions of dollars worth of the Hearst art collection and antiques are displayed. The landscaped gardens are decorated with pools, fountains and statuary. We'll take an hour-and-a-half walking tour of this magnificent complex. We'll reboard our motorcoach and continue south another 150 miles to Santa Barbara. Upon arrival in Santa Barbara we'll embark on an hour-and-a-half sightseeing tour that includes the famed Courthouse with its massive murals. At 4:12 p.m., we'll board an Amtrak Pacific Surfliner train for the final 103 miles to Los Angeles. On the train you'll see more of the beautiful Pacific coastline before we enter the sprawling San Fernando Valley. Our arrival into beautiful Los Angeles Union Station is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. Upon arrival, we'll transfer to the Los Angeles suburb of San Pedro. We will check into the Crowne Plaza Los Angeles Harbor hotel for the next two nights. Dinner will be at the hotel tonight. (B, D)
Day 9- Catalina Island
Breakfast is included each morning in San Pedro. It takes a little more than an hour to cover the 22 miles from Long Beach to Avalon on Catalina Island in a modern express boat. A two-hour sightseeing tour ten miles into the scenic interior of the island is included. You'll see spectacular vistas, deep canyons, quiet coves, and the blue ocean. Be on the lookout for wildlife. You'll also have time to explore the primary city of Avalon. Glass-bottom boat tours are available. We'll return to the mainland late this afternoon.(B)
Day 10- Los Angeles
Late this morning we'll strike out on an extensive tour of Los Angeles. The famous sites we'll visit include Chinatown, Griffith Park, Exposition Park, exquisite Rodeo Drive, and Grauman's Chinese Theatre where the hand and footprints of many stars are imprinted in concrete. Enjoy an “on-your-own” lunch at the world-famous Farmers' Market. After the tour, we'll continue on to Los Angeles Union Station where we'll board Amtrak's Southwest Chief for Chicago. You'll again enjoy private-room sleeping accommodations, all the train meals and other amenities experienced on your westbound train. Count on a full-course dining car dinner after departure. (B, D)
Day 11- En Route
You'll want to take advantage of the fascinating scenery of Arizona and New Mexico our train will pass through during the day. The Sightseer Lounge is the best vantage point. (B, L, D)
Day 12- En Route To Chicago
The Southwest Chief will roll across northern Missouri, a corner of Iowa, and all of Illinois before our late afternoon arrival in Chicago. Some tour members will change to trains bound for Midwest, Eastern, and Southern home cities. Some will spend the night in Chicago and fly home tomorrow morning. (B, L)
Rail Your Way
Add more flexibility to your rail vacation by choosing when and where to begin and end your vacation. Whether you want to go east to west, west to east, north to south, south to north, start at the beginning, travel the reverse itinerary or begin in the middle, Rail Your Way allows you to tailor make your rail vacation so you can have the experience you want.
Look for the Rail Your Way icon to identify those vacations that offer customized rail connections or joining points. Ask your rail specialist how you can have Rail Your Way!
Train and Hotel Accommodations
Portola Plaza hotel
Take a step away from the ordinary and toward the excitement of Monterey Bay at the Portola Hotel & Spa, a relaxing waterfront retreat surrounded by unique shopping, fine dining, spectacular coastal trails and beaches, and the rich historical setting of Old Monterey. The hotel in Monterey has an ideal location near Carmel by the Sea, Big Sur, Carmel Valley, 17-Mile Drive and the world class Pebble Beach Golf Links. If you can pry yourself from the comforts of one of the 379 nautically inspired guest rooms, park the car and walk or bike the scenic length of Monterey’s famous scenic bike path to many of Monterey’s world-famous attractions, such as Pebble Beach, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Cannery Row. The Portola Hotel is a full service hotel with a fitness center in Montrery, offering balconies, patios with cabanas, high-speed wireless or wired internet access and eco-friendly amenities.
Crowne plaza LA habor hotel
At the Crowne Plaza® Los Angeles Harbor hotel you are near the Port of Los Angeles, USS IOWA Battleship and Long Beach Convention Center. With almost 10,000 sq ft of flexible meeting space, the hotel is within minutes of the Aquarium of the Pacific, cruise and ferry terminals, historic Fort MacArthur and the HMS Queen Mary. You can play a round of golf at the nearby Trump National Golf Club or hop a ferry to Catalina Island for the day or weekend visit to Crafted at POLA. For a relaxing evening, spend time at the San Pedro Gateway; watch the dancing waters of the Fanfare Fountain. You can start your day with a Guaranteed Wake-Up Call and enjoy the outdoor pool, Fitness Center and on-site Blu Restaurant and Lounge.
Holiday Inn Fisherman’s Wharf
Holiday Inn San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf is a sophisticated, full service hotel with impeccable service and contemporary amenities combined to provide each guest with a well-rounded visit to the City by the Bay. The Holiday Inn San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf has 585 spacious San Francisco hotel rooms and suites with free Wi-Fi access and an on-site Bristol Bar & Grill for food, fun and refreshments. Enjoy the heated outdoor pool and sundeck or spend the day exploring the beautiful city of San Francisco.
Dates & Prices
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