Take a rail journey to three of the US's famed National Parks, aboard three renowned Amtrak trains.
About the Tour
Start your rail vacation in Chicago, with the first day at your leisure. Between the city's numerous museums, terrific shopping, and delicious local cuisine, it will be hard to fit experiencing all that's outstanding about this city in one day. After Chicago, begin your train journey by visiting one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon. While at the Canyon have the opportunity to ride the historic Grand Canyon Railway to the Canyon's South Rim. Additional highlights include city stays in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.
Continue your journey aboard the Southwest Chief towards Los Angeles. Keep your eyes peeled for a possible celebrity sighting as you get a day to sightsee in this star-studded city. Upon your visit to Los Angeles continue to San Francisco, which is a short motor coach ride to the beautiful Yosemite National Park. The dazzling waterfalls and diverse plant and wildlife are what make this National Park truly unique.
Proceed north towards Seattle, where you will board your final train of the trip, the Empire Builder, to gorgeous Glacier National Park. Spend the last part of your journey exploring this stunning National Park, with glaciers over 4,000 years old.
For 2020 departures please contact a rail specialist at 1-877-929-7245.
- Transportation aboard Amtrak (5 nights on train)
- Hotel accommodations for 13 nights
- 2 meals
- Chicago Hop On/ Hop Off tour
- Motorcoach tour of South Rim of the Grand Canyon
- Los Angeles Hop on/ Hop off Double Decker tour
- Yosemite National Park
- Glacier National Park
- Going-to-the-Sun Road on vintage Red Jammer buses
Day 1 - Arrive ChicagoArrive at your centrally-located hotel in the heart of downtown Chicago. Explore the city on a hop-on/hop-off trolley tour and see all the famous sites including the Magnificent Mile, Navy Pier, and the John Hancock Observatory. Make sure to indulge in some local cuisine such as Chicago deep dish pizza. Overnight Chicago.
Day 2 - Depart Chicago aboard the Southwest ChiefThe morning is yours to explore Chicago at your leisure before you transfer on your own to Chicago's historic Union Station for your 3:00 pm departure aboard Amtrak's Southwest Chief for your overnight journey to Williams, AZ. Overnight train. (D Sleeping Car passengers only)
Day 3 - Arrive in Williams, AZ.Spend the day socializing with other passengers or take in the sights in the Sightseer Lounge as you travel through the great Southwest. Arrive in Williams, AZ around 10:30 this evening. Overnight Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. (B, L, D Sleeping Car passengers only)
Day 4 - Grand Canyon Railway to South RimWake-up early and enjoy a hearty breakfast at the Grand Depot Cafe. Then board the vintage rail cars of the Grand Canyon Railway for a 9:30 am departure to the South Rim of the Canyon. Travel the same route as other notable Railway passengers before you including William Howard Taft, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Clark Gable, Jimmy Durante, and Doris Day. Upon arrival, you will be met by tour buses waiting to take you on a Freedom Tour of the Grand Canyon. This narrated motorcoach tour of the South Rim visits the most scenic overlooks of the canyon, with stops at breathtaking vistas including Mohave Point, Pima Point, the Abyss, and Hermits Rest. Overnight Maswik Lodge (B)
Day 5 - Explore the South Rim of Grand Canyon on ownSpend the day exploring the South Rim on your own. There are several historic buildings worth visiting including Buckey O'Neill's Cabin, the longest continually standing structure in the South Rim; Desert View Watchtower with one of the few views of the bottom of the Canyon and the Colorado River; and Bright Angel Lodge with its small museum honoring Fred Harvey, who played a prominent role in popularizing the Grand Canyon. Overnight Maswik Lodge.
Day 6 - Grand Canyon Railway to Williams Southwest Chief to LATransfer to Williams aboard the Grand Canyon Railway. Enjoy dinner and relax before you board the 10:30 pm Southwest Chief bound for Los Angeles. Overnight train. (D)
Day 7 - Arrive Los AngelesSay “Hooray for Hollywood” as you arrive in Los Angeles around 8:15 am. Check into your downtown hotel and take the rest of the day to explore LA at your leisure. Take in the sights, go shopping or dine seaside. Overnight Los Angeles.
Day 8 - Explore Los AngelesDiscover Los Angeles on a comprehensive hop on/hop off tour featuring over 50 stops! Enjoy the open-air view from a vintage Double Decker Bus as the narrated tour points out landmarks from Downtown L.A. to the beaches of Santa Monica, with Hollywood and Beverly Hills in between. Hop-On or Hop-Off as often as you like to explore major attractions, movie studios or dine and shop at Los Angeles's hotspots. Overnight Los Angeles.
Day 9 - Coast Starlight to San FranciscoThis morning arrive at Los Angeles' Union Station to board Amtrak's Coast Starlight for your 10:10 am departure for San Francisco. Spend the day relaxing, reading a book, watching a movie or socializing with other travelers, taking time to enjoy the gorgeous California coastline! Arrive in Emeryville, this evening and transfer by thruway bus to San Francisco. Overnight Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco.
Day 10 - Yosemite National ParkHome to the American Black Bear, Ponderosa Pine, Spotted Owl, and mule deer, Yosemite's biodiversity is bound to leave you breathless. Discover all the beauty of one of the world's greatest natural wonders on a full-day tour to this beautiful National Park. Start early as you cross the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge at sunrise. Then spend the day exploring the Park's five vegetation zones, a guided tour of the Sierra Mountains, and the options of shopping, hiking and dining in Yosemite Village. Overnight Sheraton Fisherman's Wharf or similar.
Day 11 - Coast Starlight to SeattleYou have a full day at leisure in San Francisco. This evening, head to the Emeryville Amtrak station for your 10:00 pm departure aboard the Coast Starlight. Settle in and prepare for the overnight journey to Seattle, Washington. Overnight train.
Day 12 - Arrive SeattleArrive in Seattle around 9:30 pm and check into your centrally-located hotel. Overnight Seattle. (B, L, D Sleeping Car passengers only)
Day 13 - Seattle at LeisureToday you have a full day to explore Seattle at your leisure. Visit iconic sites like the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, and Chinatown. Tonight, dine in one of Seattle's distinct neighborhoods, like quirky Fremont or upscale Queen Anne. Overnight Seattle.
Day 14 - Empire Builder to Glacier National ParkSpend the day exploring more of Seattle, visiting one of its many incredible museums, or taking a ferry cruise on Puget Sound until your late afternoon Empire Builder train departure for Glacier National Park. Overnight train. (D Sleeping Car passengers only)
Day 15 - Arrive Glacier National ParkArrive in Glacier National Park mid-morning and check into your hotel and spend the rest of the day exploring the Park on your own, taking in the wildlife and all the gorgeous scenery including mountains and breathtaking glaciers. Spanning more than 1.2 million acres of lakes and waterfalls, dramatic peaks and breathtaking ice-carved glaciers, all the majesty of Glacier National Park is at your fingertips. The next three nights will be spent at Glacier Park Lodge, where you will experience the western charm of this historic lodge. Modeled after a Swiss chalet, the heated outdoor swimming pool and nine-hole golf course make for a spectacular retreat. Overnight Glacier Park Lodge. (B Sleeping Car passengers only)
Day 16 - Exploring the ParkToday embark on an inclusive tour of Glacier National Park that starts with a morning drive over Marias Pass, with wildlife viewing at Goat Lick and a stop at the historic Izaak Walton Inn. After an optional lunch at Lake McDonald Lodge, tour the rich cedar and hemlock forests that lie within the Lake McDonald Valley. Ascend to the high alpine region of the Going-to-the-Sun Road at Logan Pass and down into the St. Mary Valley, stopping at the Wild Goose Island overlook for another incredible photo opportunity. Your excursion concludes with grand vistas of grassland, prairie, and mountains as you arrive back at Glacier Park Lodge. Overnight Glacier Park Lodge.
Day 17 - Glacier at LeisureLocated at the southeast corner of Glacier National Park, Glacier Park Lodge was built in 1913 by the Great Northern Railway. Inside the historic hotel, Douglas Fir logs tower over the lobby, a fire crackles in the stone fireplace and guests gather to share stories of the day’s adventures.You have a full day to explore the lodge and its grounds. Perhaps take an Interpretive Tour of the grounds, visit the Native American Trading Post, or venture into the park for a leisurely hike. Shuttle transfers to Two Medicine Lake and Many Glacier are also available. Overnight Glacier Park Lodge.
Day 18 - Empire Builder to Chicago
Begin your journey home as you board the Empire Builder mid-morning. Take time to reflect on your amazing travels, socialize with fellow passengers or wind down and relax in the Sightseer Lounge. Overnight train. (L, D Sleeping Car passengers only)
Day 19 - Arrive Chicago
Arrive at Chicago's Union Station late this afternoon where your Canyons, Glaciers & Waterfalls vacation comes to an end. (B, L Sleeping Car passengers only)
Hotels include the Palmer House Hilton, Grand Canyon Railway Hotel, Maswik Lodge, Sheraton in Los Angeles downtown, Hotel Riu Plaza Fisherman's Wharf, Westin in Seattle, and Glacier Park Lodge (or similar).
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 that features two comfortable seats beside a picture window during the day, which converts 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.
Know before you go
Please be aware Amtrak may experience occasional schedule changes and service disruptions. Vacations By Rail recommends visiting the Amtrak web site prior to your departure for the latest information.
Hotel accommodations are based on availability; substitutes will be similar in quality and amenities.
+Vacations By Rail can supply connecting rail from your closest Amtrak Station.
It is your responsibility to check and fulfill the passport, visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your itinerary. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel, or incur any other loss because you have not complied with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities. You agree to reimburse us in relation to any fines or other losses which we incur as a result of your failure to comply with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.
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