Golden West Ramble
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 famous 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 an 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 your 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
- Excursions board the Napa Valley Wine Train and the Roaring Camp and Big Trees Narrow Gauge Railroad
- 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
- 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. With its picturesque sights and pungent smells, Fisherman’s Wharf attracts millions of visitors annually. You’ll have time to discover the excellent restaurants, markets, import houses and souvenir shops. (B, L)
Day 4 - San Francisco
This morning 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. Following the tour, you’re free to ride a cable car or just wander through the great shops and galleries.
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” lunch stop, we'll travel south along the Pacific Ocean shoreline to Cambria. Our home for this evening is The Fireside 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 the beautiful Los Angeles Union Station is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. Upon arrival we’ll enjoy dinner at the critically acclaimed Traxx Restaurant (included). Following dinner we’ll transfer to the Hilton Long Beach, our home for the next two nights. (B, D)
Day 9 - Catalina Island
Breakfast is included this morning and tomorrow. 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. Upon arrival, we will enjoy a tour of Avalon City. Following an on-your-own lunch we will set off on a glass-bottom boat tour. We'll return to the mainland late this afternoon. (B)
Day 10 - Los Angeles
Today’s sightseeing tour includes many famous attractions such as Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and Hollywood’s Walk of Fame where you see the hand and foot prints of the stars! We’ll visit the Hollywood & Highland Center home of the TCL Chinese Theatre (formerly Grauman’s and Mann’s Chinese Theatres) and the Dolby Theatre (formerly Kodak Theatre), home of the Academy Awards.. 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.
Holiday Inn Fisherman’s
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.
Click here to view testimonials for Golden West Ramble.
Experienced the great adventure of a railroad trip
We had never been on a train for that long, and we were pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable it was!
Dates & Prices
Select from the packages below to view prices for this tour.
|6th September 2018||$3,995||Book Now|
|6th September 2018||$4,990||Book Now|
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Included Roomette: Departs 6th September 2018 ($3,995)
Bedroom Upgrade: Departs 6th September 2018 ($4,990)
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