California Zephyr with Yosemite National Park - Chicago to San Francisco
Explore both big city culture and grand natural wonders with this trip that takes you from Chicago to San Francisco, traversing through the Rockies and Sierra Mountains, topping off with a visit to beautiful Yosemite National Park.
The only thing more appealing than a train vacation through the Rocky and Sierra Mountains is one that includes a visit to the waterfalls and Giant Sequoia groves of Yosemite National Park. Your great western rail adventure begins in Chicago with a two-night stay in this Midwest metropolis, providing ample time to explore the highlights such as the Bean in Millennium Park, a Ferris wheel ride at Navy Pier, or a stop to do some shopping in one of the several fabulous stores lining the Magnificent Mile.
After you're done discovering “The Windy City”, continue on your train vacation as you board Amtrak's legendary California Zephyr for a two-night rail journey across the plains of the Midwest into the snow-capped Rocky and Sierra mountain ranges to San Francisco. During your two-night stay in the City by the Bay, spend the first part visiting famed highlights such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Fishermans Wharf, or a take a ride on one of the city's classic cable cars.
Conclude your stay in San Francisco with a visit to the famous Yosemite National Park. Known for its dazzling waterfalls and vibrant evergreen forests, discovering the wonders of this National Park is the absolute ideal way to complete this unique rail adventure.
This vacation is also available from San Francisco to Chicago based on your travel preference.
Highlights and Inclusions
- Transportation aboard Amtrak (2 nights on train)
- Hotel accommodations for five nights
- Meals onboard the train when upgrading to a roomette or bedroom
- Chicago Hop On/Hop Off trolley tour
- Chicago sightseeing tour
- San Francisco Hop On/Hop Off tour
- Yosemite National Park tour
Day 1 - Welcome to the "Windy City"
Arrive in Chicago and spend the day exploring the city at your leisure with a hop on/hop off trolley tour. See Millennium Park, the theatre district, the Art Institute, Navy Pier, the John Hancock Observatory, Willis Tower and other important city landmarks. Overnight Chicago.
Day 2 - Chicago Sightseeing
Discover Chicago's South Shore on this 2-hour tour! Highlights include Grant Park, Soldier Field, the Adler Planetarium, the Art Institute, Orchestra Hall, the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum, Jackson Park, the University of Chicago, the Museum of Science and Industry and much more! The remainder of the day is at your leisure to shop, take in a spectacular theater performance or enjoy a delicious meal. Overnight Chicago.
Day 3 - All Aboard the California Zephyr
Arrive at Chicago's historic Union Station for your 1:50 pm departure and prepare for your train adventure. Once onboard the iconic California Zephyr, settle into your onboard accommodations for the 2,400+ mile journey across the country to San Francisco. As the train chugs across the Midwest, make sure to visit the Sightseer Lounge to meet some new friends and admire the passing scenery. Enjoy dinner in the Dining Car as you cross the mighty Mississippi River. Overnight train. (D Sleeping Car passengers only)
Day 4 - Westward Ho! California Zephyr and the Rockies
Stunning views of the Colorado Rockies await you this morning as the Zephyr climbs the front range of the Rockies. Keep an eye out for wildlife and enjoy the breathtaking scenery from your onboard accommodations, or opt for a more panoramic setting in the Lounge Car. During the summer months, take advantage of the opportunity to learn about the area through which you're traveling during a Trails and Rails presentation conducted by volunteer rangers as you travel from Denver to Grand Junction. Overnight train. (B, L, D Sleeping Car passengers only)
Day 5 - Over the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the Bay
The train arrives in Reno, Nevada mid-morning and continues across the border into California, climbing through the legendary Donner Pass, the high point in the northern Sierra Nevada Mountains. The California Zephyr is scheduled to arrive in Emeryville around 4:10 pm this afternoon. Upon arrival, hop a shuttle for your transfer to the San Francisco Ferry building, where you can get a taxi to your hotel located near Fisherman's Wharf. Overnight San Francisco. (B, L Sleeping Car passengers only)
Day 6 - San Francisco Sightseeing
Spend the day exploring the City by the Bay on a Hop On/Hop Off city tour. Learn about San Francisco's history from the early Spanish settlers and the Gold Rush to today. Highlights include the Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown, Haight Ashbury, Coit Tower, Ghirardelli Square and more! Overnight San Francisco.
Day 7 - Yosemite National Park
Discover the wonders of Yosemite National Park on a full-day excursion to Yosemite Valley and the Giant Sequoias. Visit El Capitan, Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, Bridalveil Falls and Inspiration Point before driving to a lesser-traveled part of the Park for a chance to hike in the evergreen forest to see the world's largest living things: a grove of Giant Sequoia trees! Overnight San Francisco.
Day 8 - Tour Conclusion
Your California Zephyr and Yosemite National Park vacation comes to an end today. Check out of your hotel and transfer on your own to the airport or railway station for your return travel home.
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!
Add a Cruise
Many of our rail vacations begin and end in popular port cities. Spice up your vacation by adding an ocean or river cruise aboard your preferred cruise line to your itinerary and experience the best of both worlds. Popular cruises include Alaska’s Inside Passage, the Panama Canal, New England and Eastern Canada, and historic river towns along the Mississippi River.
Look for the Add a Cruise icon to identify those vacations that offer pre- or post-cruises. Ask your rail specialist how you can Add a Cruise!
Extend Your Vacation
Extend your rail vacation with new city packages in Chicago, Toronto, and Vancouver. Optional pre- or post-night packages include hotel accommodations for two nights and popular local sightseeing, and may be added to the beginning or end of qualifying rail vacations.
Look for the Extend Your Vacation icon to identify those vacations which offer new city stay packages. Ask your rail specialist for details about these pre- and post-night extensions.
Train and Hotel Accommodations
Hotels include the Hilton Palmer House and Sheraton Fisherman’s Wharf.
Amtrak accommodations are available in Coach class, Roomette, and Bedroom. Coach accommodations include a reclining seat with leg rest. Roomette accommodations include a private cabin featuring two comfortable seats beside a picture window during the day, converting to an upper and lower berth at night. Bedroom accommodations feature a sofa and chair by day, and upper and lower berth by night. Bedroom accommodations also include a sink and self-enclosed toilet and shower. All travelers have access to the Sightseer Lounge. Roomette and Bedroom accommodations include all meals aboard the train.
+Vacations By Rail can supply connecting rail from your closest Amtrak Station.
Hotel accommodations are based on availability; substitutes will be similar in quality and amenities.
Click here to view testimonials for California Zephyr with Yosemite National Park - Chicago to San Francisco.
We both enjoyed our experience and the coverage of the trip
We had never taken a rail vacation before...The scenery we saw was wonderful and any other mode of travel would not have provided us with that. The food on the train was also very good.
We had a wonderful time!
Dates & Prices
Select from the packages below to view prices for this tour.
|Departs Daily between 1st May 2017 and 20th October 2017||$1,465||
|Departs Daily between 1st May 2018 and 20th October 2018||$1,475||
|Departs Daily between 1st May 2017 and 20th October 2017||$1,899||
|Departs Daily between 1st May 2018 and 20th October 2018||$1,975||
|Departs Daily between 1st May 2017 and 20th October 2017||$2,530||
|Departs Daily between 1st May 2018 and 20th October 2018||$2,575||
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Amtrak Coach: Departs daily between 1st May 2017 and 20th October 2017 from $1,465, daily between 1st May 2018 and 20th October 2018 from $1,475
Amtrak Roomette: Departs daily between 1st May 2017 and 20th October 2017 from $1,899, daily between 1st May 2018 and 20th October 2018 from $1,975
Amtrak Bedroom: Departs daily between 1st May 2017 and 20th October 2017 from $2,530, daily between 1st May 2018 and 20th October 2018 from $2,575
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Chicago Historical Tour is not available on Thursdays and substitution of equal value would occur. The Giant Sequoias hike on the excursion to Yosemite is dependant on snow levels and trail conditions. Prices are correct at the time this webpage is published; however are subject to change. Vacations By Rail can supply connecting rail from your closest Amtrak Station.