Travel across the rugged Colorado Rockies aboard the legendary California Zephyr en route to California, where your west coast adventure begins. Starting in San Francisco, travel south through the state, enjoying the local flavors of the Napa Valley, Monterey, Carmel, San Simeon, Santa Barbara, Catalina Island and Los Angeles before traveling through America's heartland aboard the Southwest Chief for your return trip home.
Call 877-929-7245 for fares to and from New York or Essex.
- 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
Scenic highlights of your trip include:
- Colorado Rockies
- San Francisco
- Golden Gate Park
- Napa Valley
- Cannery Row
- Pebble Beach
- San Simeon
- Hearst Castle
- Santa Barbara
- Catalina Island
- Long Beach
- Los Angeles
- Rodeo Drive
Call 877-929-7245 for Golden West Rail Ramble tour.
Day 1 - Chicago
Your rail adventure begins in Chicago, where you will meet your Tour Director in the Metropolitan Lounge of Chicago's Union Station. Board the famous California Zephyr and settle in for your mid-afternoon departure. As the train begins its journey east, take time to get acquainted with the train's many features including the glass-walled Sightseer Lounge offering up fantastic views of the passing scenery. Enjoy a sumptuous, full-course dinner in the dining car this evening. Overnight train. (D)
Day 2 - California Zephyr through the Colorado Rockies
As you wake up and enjoy a hot meal in the Dining Car, the Zephyr is departing Denver and beginning its climb over the Front Range of the rugged Colorado Rockies. Throughout the day the train will wind around sharp mountain curves and deep tunnels. You'll look down at fast-flowing streams winding through valleys far below. The breathtaking mountain vistas will continue until late afternoon. Overnight train. (B, L, D)
Day 3 - En Route to San Francisco
Overnight the train crosses the dry, sparsely populated Nevada countryside. This morning you'll be met with breathtaking views of the Sierra Nevada mountains as the train passes through the famous Donner Pass. The Zephyr arrives in Emeryville at 4:10 pm. Transfer to your hotel in San Francisco with the remainder of the day at your leisure. Overnight Fisherman's Wharf Tuscan Inn. (B, L)
Day 4 - San Francisco
The morning is at your leisure to ride a cable car or just wander through the great shops and galleries that line the city streets. At 1:00 pm, the group will embark on a 3 ½-hour sightseeing tour of the City by the Bay, including Chinatown, Golden Gate Park, Jackson Square, the Mission District, Telegraph Hill, and the Presidio. The tour ends at the world-renowned Fisherman's Wharf, a popular city sight that attracts millions of visitors annually. There will be time to discover the Wharf's excellent restaurants, markets, import houses and souvenir shops. Return to your hotel or spend the evening at this marvelous attraction. Overnight Fisherman's Wharf Tuscan Inn.
Day 5 - Napa Valley Wine Train
This morning board a comfortable motorcoach and travel eastward across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and then head north into the famous California wine country for an excursion aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train, which is reminiscent of the golden age of rail travel. 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. Return to San Francisco this afternoon, where the remainder of the day will be at your leisure. Overnight Fisherman's Wharf Tuscan Inn. (L)
Day 6 - Monterey
This morning travel by motorcoach 80 miles south to Felton, where you'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. A picnic lunch is included.
Continue on to picturesque Monterey. This charming resort community is one of the most scenic locations on the Pacific Coast. Late this afternoon, the group will visit historic Cannery Row, once a raucous industrial street famous for canning sardines and for the haunts of characters in John Steinbeck's 1945 novel, "Cannery Row." There will be time for dinner on your own before transferring to your hotel. Overnight Portola Hotel and Spa. (L)
Day 7 - Cambria
Embark on a sightseeing tour of the Monterey area this morning. The high point of your 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. There will be a stop for lunch on your own before continuing south along the Pacific Ocean shoreline to San Simeon. Your Tour Director will host dinner tonight. Overnight The Fog Catcher Inn. (D)
Day 8 - Hearst Castle
After breakfast, transfer from the hotel to one of California's major attractions and a high point of the 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.
Later, continue by motorcoach along the coastline another 150 miles south to Santa Barbara. Upon arrival, embark on a 1 ½-hour sightseeing tour that includes the famed Courthouse with its massive murals.
At 4:30 pm, 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 entering the sprawling San Fernando Valley. Your arrival into Los Angeles' Union Station is scheduled for 7:40 pm. Upon arrival, transfer to the Los Angeles suburb of San Pedro, with a stop en route for a buffet dinner. Overnight Crowne Plaza Los Angeles Harbor Hotel. (B, D)
Day 9 - Catalina Island
Today's excursion takes you to stunning Catalina Island. It takes a little more than an hour to cover the 22 miles from Long Beach to Avalon in a modern express boat that features airline-style seats. 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. You'll also have time to explore the city of Avalon, Catalina Island's primary city. You'll return to the mainland late this afternoon with the remainder of the day at your leisure. Overnight Crowne Plaza Los Angeles Harbor Hotel. (CB)
Day 10 - Los Angeles
Late this morning strike out on an extensive tour of Los Angeles. You'll visit famous sites including 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 lunch on your own at the world-famous Farmers' Market.
After the tour, continue on to Los Angeles' Union Station where you'll board Amtrak's Southwest Chief bound for Chicago. Count on a full-course meal in the Dining car after departure. Overnight train. (B, D)
Day 11 - Southwest Chief Bound for Chicago
You'll have an entire day to take advantage of the train's many amenities and be dazzled by the scenery of America's southwest. The best place to take it in is the Sightseer Lounge. Overnight train. (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 its late afternoon arrival in Chicago, where your tour will come to a close. (B, L)