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America's Great National Parks

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13 days From $6,095 $5,895 per person
4.5 stars(200 reviews)
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Tour Glacier, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Arches and Canyonlands National Parks - five of America's most awe-inspiring sites - on this 13-day journey.

Travel among a group of like-minded travelers led by a professional tour manager
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Offer Ends June 19th: Save $200 per person on select US & Canada escorted vacations. Book now before tours sell out.

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Limited Time Offer: Single Supplement Charges Waived on Select Departures. Book online or call for details.

Mobility Rating 3

2024 Tour code: AGP24

About the tour

Discover five of America's beloved national parks on this 13-day rail tour to America's West. Start your tour with a classic overnight rail adventure aboard the  Empire Builder following the pioneer route into Big Sky Country. Here, we visit the first national park of the itinerary, Glacier National Park. Glorious spectacles of nature and the famed Going-to-the-Sun Road are just some of the sites to behold before we continue onto Yellowstone National Park for a 2-night stay. We see all the most popular attractions, including the Upper and Lower Falls and the most famous sight of all, Old Faithful. The adventure continues as we head to the resort town of Jackson Hole and the picturesque landscapes in Grand Teton National Park. Finally, a visit to Utah brings us to Salt Lake City, the red rocks of Moab and the natural wonders in Arches and Canyonlands National Parks

Unforgettable Experiences

Empire Builder Train
Empire Builder Train
Classic overnight rail journey aboard Amtrak's Empire Builder.
Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park
Get a new perspective on Glacier National Park's beauty on a Swiftcurrent Lake boat cruise.
Red Jammer Bus
Red Jammer Bus
Cross the Continental Divide on a drive along the Going-to-the-Sun Road aboard vintage Red Jammer buses.
Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park
Admire the Teton Mountains on a Snake River float trip.

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 – Depart Chicago aboard the Empire Builder

Arrive at Chicago Union Station and board the Empire Builder. Settle into your onboard accommodations and prepare for your overnight rail journey. Travelers may elect to travel from Seattle or points in-between and meet your tour manager in Glacier National Park. Overnight train.

Day 2 – Glacier National Park, Montana

The  Empire Builder continues its journey to East Glacier Park or Whitefish today. With more than 25 glaciers, over 130 named lakes, 200 waterfalls, and more than 1,000 different plant species, Glacier National Park promises breathtaking wonder. The evening is at your leisure to relax at your hotel. Overnight East Glacier Park or Whitefish, MT.

Day 3 - Going-to-the-Sun Road/At Leisure

Travelers staying in East Glacier Park will board a vintage open-air Red Jammer bus mid-morning for a tour of Glacier National Park. The journey takes you along one of the most scenic roadways in the world, the famed Going-to-the-Sun Road across the Continental Divide. There is a stop at historic Lake McDonald Lodge for lunch on your own, as well as time to explore the area. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to explore Glacier National Park.

Those guests with accommodations in Whitefish will instead have the day at leisure to explore the town and its surroundings. This mountain town is filled with life and brimming with things to do. Sample your way through the local restaurants or peruse art in the galleries and shops that line the streets. Downtown Whitefish is incredibly walkable, with Whitefish Lake City Beach, Whitefish River, and more connected to the bustling district by walking trails. Plenty of hiking trailheads are also nearby, giving you the option of city amenities or nature's bounties. Overnight East Glacier Park or Whitefish, MT.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 - Lake Cruising/Going-to-the-Sun Road

East Glacier Park vacationers begin their day with a trip to the Many Glacier region of the park, where incredible views of the Lewis Range beckon. Many Glacier features a large lake - Lake Sherburne - and a historic town dating to the early 1900s. Proceed through the region's lush meadows and colorful valleys to Swiftcurrent Lake, and relish seeing Glacier National Park from a different perspective as you set out on a cruise. Lunch is served at Many Glacier Lodge, a historic Swiss-style chalet on Swiftcurrent's shores, and the afternoon is yours to continue exploring at leisure.

If you are instead staying in Whitefish, the activities for your day are dictated by your departure date. Some departures will venture along Going-to-the-Sun Road in a vintage Red Jammer Bus, crossing the Continental Divide and marveling at sweeping views of glaciers, mountains, valleys, and wildlife. The tour also includes lunch at historic Lake McDonald Lodge and time to explore the park at leisure. Other departures will instead take to the emerald-hued water of Lake McDonald on a scenic cruise. The excursion departs from Lake McDonald Lodge aboard the historic DeSmet, built in 1930, and presents panoramic views of Glacier's towering peaks and natural wonders. Continue exploring the park, its plentiful hiking trails, and beautiful lakeshores at leisure following the excursion. Overnight East Glacier Park or Whitefish, MT.

*Please note that cruises are seasonal and that late September departures may fall outside the season. Those travelers will instead have lunch at Lake McDonald or explore Going-to-the-Sun Road.*

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 5 – Yellowstone National Park

After breakfast, depart Glacier National Park for the scenic drive to Yellowstone National Park. Our route takes us through Lewis and Clark country, into Madison Canyon Gorge and past Quake Lake into Yellowstone National Park's West Entrance. Overnight Yellowstone National Park.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 6 – Yellowstone National Park Touring

Spend the day exploring America's first National Park, Yellowstone, on a guided tour of the Park's most well-known attractions including the Upper and Lower Falls, Hayden Valley, Old Faithful, Fountain Paint Pots and the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Overnight Yellowstone National Park.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 7 – Jackson and Grand Teton National Park

The morning we have a leisurely departure from Yellowstone National Park with a stop to view Lewis Falls before entering Grand Teton National Park with a picturesque landscape filled with towering mountains, sparkling lakes and an abundance of wildlife. Overnight Jackson, WY.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 8 – Grand Teton National Park

After breakfast, embark on a float trip in Grand Teton National Park. As you float along the Snake River, admire the Teton mountain range, the glaciers that surround the forests, and wetlands in the Park. Keep an eye out for bison, elk, and moose! The remainder of the day is yours to visit the shops and restaurants in Jackson. Overnight Jackson, WY.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 9 – National Oregon/California Trail Center and Salt Lake City

Depart Jackson, this morning, stopping at the National Oregon/California Trail Center in Montpelier, Idaho. Located at what was once the rest stop for pioneers traveling the Oregon Trail, this interpretive center gives you the opportunity to step back in time and experience pioneer life in the 1850's, including a simulated wagon train. Your journey continues to Salt Lake City, where you have the remainder of the day on your own to explore the city. Overnight Salt Lake City, UT.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 10 – Moab

Enjoy a leisurely start to the day to sleep in or linger over morning coffee. Later this morning, we embark on the scenic drive from Salt Lake City to Moab, the gateway to two renowned national parks. Our route takes us through the grasslands of the San Rafael Valley. Overnight Moab, UT.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 11 – Arches National Park

After breakfast embark on a guided tour of Arches National Park, home to more than 2,100 rock formations of varying sizes and colors. Highlights of the park include Delicate Arch, the free-standing arch that is the symbol of Utah, and Landscape Arch, the world's longest natural arch. This afternoon is yours to explore the scenery around Moab and the Colorado River Red Rocks. Overnight Moab, UT.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 12 – Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse Point State Park

Today's excursion takes you to Canyonlands National Park for another spectacular day of scenery. This National Park showcases colorful canyons, mesas, and buttes along the Colorado River. Your day continues with a visit to Dead Horse Point State Park, offering stunning views from 2,000 feet above the Colorado River. Overnight Grand Junction, CO.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 13 – Tour Conclusion

Your journey concludes after breakfast today.  A group transfer to Grand Junction Amtrak Station or Grand Junction Airport will accommodate trains departing after 9:00am and planes departing after 12:00pm.

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

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Reviews

4.5 stars4.5 / 5 · 200 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (112)
  2. 4 stars
    (85)
  3. 3 stars
    (2)
  4. 2 stars
    (1)
  5. 1 star
    (0)

PAMELA ZIMBARDI

5 stars

Submitted 22 Sep 2023

Both our guide Edgar & our bus driver Adrian were great! They were both very knowledgeable & shared great information and stories

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JN

5 stars

Submitted 21 Sep 2023

A most efficient way to see a bundle of spectacular national parks on a single trip without worrying about the logistics. The train feature adds to the adventure and affords an opportunity to witness the vastness of the Plains states, but travelers should be realistic about the overnight trip. Overall, it is more enjoyable than an overseas flight but don’t expect your best night sleep. Upgrade to a roomette if you can. Group travel isn’t our first preference but meeting and getting to know like-minded travelers was enjoyable. The tour leader and coach driver were excellent, smoothly dealing with all issues that came up and remained attentive to safety. Really glad we went on this trip.

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JOHN BACHELOR

5 stars

Submitted 21 Sep 2023

Great scenery, creative travel guide and safe bus driver. However we both got covid on this trip probably from a fellow passenger. I would recommend the wearing of masks.

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DIANE FOGLESONG

5 stars

Submitted 17 Sep 2023

We were on the move right away. We saw 5 national parks during this trip. The Going-to-the-Sun road trip was the highlight of our trip. The scenery was amazing! We rode in style in the Red Jammers busses. The float down the Snake River with the Grand Tetons in the background was also amazing. This was a trip of a lifetime.

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BARON SIMMERMAN

5 stars

Submitted 14 Sep 2023

Vacations by Rail was great trip, guided by David French and our bus drive Jack. Wonderful time spent out west seeing 5 major National Parks. We ate very well and enjoyed ourselves greatly in seeing the natural wonders of Nature and the USA. Many thanks again to both parties for giving us such a great trip and good price. The photos included are from Glacier, Yellowstone, and the Great Tetons.

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Susan Laflamme

5 stars

Submitted 13 Sep 2023

Before travelling, I had read a number of reviews here that mentioned the tour guide and bus driver by name and thought that was kind of a gimmick. However, I just returned from a 14 day "America's Great National Parks" tour and have to give a shout out to tour guide Dewi A. and bus driver Glen S. because their expertise and organization cannot be topped. A good guide and driver are essential to a successful trip, and an organized tour is the way to go.The hotels chosen were all top notch. Yes, Glacier Park Lodge could use a refresh but it is one of the original historical lodges built by the railroads at the turn of the century with an impressive structure and location. The dining choices everywhere were excellent except at Yellowstone Canyon Lodges where the breakfast buffet featured powdered eggs. The float down the Snake River was a very relaxing highlight. The step-on guides were great with the Red Jammer bus a lot of fun with breathtaking vistas. We had perfect weather the entire trip with one brief downpour in the usually very dry Utah that washed out the road ahead of us. Glen executed a perfect 3 point turn in a tight canyon and found an alternate route. Every day Dewi gave us an agenda for the following day spelling out exactly where we were going, what we would see, and where we could expect rest stops, dining and shopping. Glen provided us with bottled ice water every day. Both were knowledgable about the area and provided tidbits about the towns we were passing through. This tour was a perfect blend of mountainous, forested parks with dry desert-type parks highlighting the variety of geography in our beautiful country. This trip fulfilled all of my expectations and I would use Vacations by Rail again. Oh, the train trip! I loved the observation car. We slept in coach and would do it again. There is plenty of leg room but I would get an inflatable wedge to stretch my legs out on. We were also able to get reservations in the dining car (as opposed to the cafe car) for several meals in a very organized process and the food was very good. The one disappointment is that a fellow traveler, unbeknown to the rest of us, had Covid and several of us tested positive on returning home.

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