Our research is editorially independent but we may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

12 Best Fall Foliage Train Rides in the United States

Seeing fall foliage across the United States is a popular bucket list item for many. While most opt to drive, scenic train rides allow everyone in the family to soak up the surreal landscapes. Watch the changing scenery from the comfort of a train as it does all the work for you, where the only thing you’ll need is your sense of adventure and a few snacks.

Late September typically marks the start of the leaves changing, so be sure to plan your fall journey for peak leaf viewing around October. Sit back and enjoy the ride on one of these top fall foliage train rides in the United States.

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway - Blue Ridge, Georgia Blue Ridge Scenic Railway
Credit: Blue Ridge Scenic Railway by Brscenic.com

Blue Ridge Scenic Railway - Blue Ridge, Georgia

Perfect for taking in the season’s colors, the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway is a scenic 26-mile round-trip excursion that takes a four-hour journey along the Toccoa River in the Chattahoochee National Forest. Sit in your vintage car and admire the views, then stop for a layover at the George-Tennessee border in McCaysville, Georgia and Copperhill, Tennessee, for a break. Here you can enjoy an afternoon of antique shopping or grab lunch at one of the quaint cafes.

Dates and Ticket Info

Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad - Colorado & New Mexico Cumbres and Toltec Scenic
Credit: Cumbres and Toltec Scenic by cumbrestoltec.com

Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad - Colorado & New Mexico

You can take a half-day or full-day trip on the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, where this narrow-gauge steam train travels on the Colorado-New Mexico border. The National Historic Landmark is a coal-fired steam engine chugging 64 miles across elevations that reach up to 10,000 feet. Soak up the view of historical buildings and an 800-foot gorge, while the open gondola car is perfect for spotting deer, elk, and bears along the route.

Dates and Ticket Info

Green Mountain Railroad - Chester, Vermont Green Mountain Railroad
Credit: Green Mountain Railroad by rails-vt.com

Green Mountain Railroad - Chester, Vermont

Vermont is known for some of the most spectacular displays of fall foliage in the United States, so it only makes sense that a train ride here would be one of the best. The Green Mountain Railroad in Chester, Vermont, is a two-hour roundtrip scenic ride that the entire family can enjoy. Book the four-course fine dining experience on the dinner train or make a pit stop at Okemo Mountain Resort for a romantic overnight stay.

Dates and Ticket Info

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad - Peninsula, Ohio Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad
Credit: Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad by cvsr.org

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad - Peninsula, Ohio

Hop on the scenic Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in Peninsula, Ohio, for a memorable journey where you can soak up sights of sugar maples and dogwood trees that have turned various shades of red, orange, and yellow. This 3.5-hour loop travels through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and has been operating in the valley since 1880. Book the dining car if you enjoy your meals with a view and special events, including beer tasting, paint and sip rides, and costumed Halloween trains.

Dates and Ticket Info

Essex Steam Train - Essex, Connecticut Essex Steam Train & Riverboat
Credit: Essex Steam Train & Riverboat by Essex Steam Train & Riverboat

Essex Steam Train - Essex, Connecticut

Gaze out at the unspoiled fall landscapes surrounding the Connecticut River Valley on the Essex Steam Train in Essex, Connecticut, where an authentic steam engine pulls the train. You can also combine your trip with a riverboat trip on the Becky Thatcher. Want to make your trip truly special? Sign up for a dinner train excursion or one of the outings that feature treats like chocolate and wine, while you can also plan a full day of exploring the villages of Haddam and East Haddam.

Dates and Ticket Info

Alaska Railroad Denali Star Train - Anchorage, Alaska Denali Star - Anchorage to Fairbanks
Credit: Denali Star - Anchorage to Fairbanks by Brandon Wood via Wikimedia Commons

Alaska Railroad Denali Star Train - Anchorage, Alaska

Traveling from Anchorage to Fairbanks in Alaska, the Alaska Railroad Denali Star Train is a dream for landscape gazing and a bucket list item for many. Not only can you see a variety of colorful foliage through the dome car windows on this 12-hour train journey, but you can also catch a glimpse of Denali and the northern lights (if you’re lucky!) In Fairbanks, weather permitting.

Dates and Ticket Info

Mount Washington Cog Railway - Bretton Woods, New Hampshire Mount Washington Cog Railway
Credit: Mount Washington Cog Railway by thecog.com

Mount Washington Cog Railway - Bretton Woods, New Hampshire

Admire the views from 6,288 feet at the summit of Mount Washington on the Mount Washington Cog Railway, which has been operating for over 150 years. This three-hour roundtrip excursion operates two vintage steam locomotives and allows riders to see five states, Canada and the Atlantic Ocean. After your fall foliage journey, hop out and explore the visitor center at the summit to capture views from the observatory and browse the interactive weather museum.

Dates and Ticket Info

Mount Hood Railroad - Hood River, Oregon Mount Hood Railroad
Credit: Mount Hood Railroad by mthoodrr.com

Mount Hood Railroad - Hood River, Oregon

Located 60 miles east of Portland, the Mount Hood Railroad in Hood River offers a 22-mile trip through the kaleidoscope of colors found in Oregon’s foliage surrounding the snow-capped Mt. Hood. Nestled in the Columbia River Gorge, the Hood River is an iconic place to see some of the best autumn foliage in the Pacific Northwest. The Harvest Fall Special trip includes photo stops, a harvest gift, and a tasting of harvest brews.

Dates and Ticket Info

Napa Valley Wine Train - Napa Valley, California Napa Valley Wine Train
Credit: Napa Valley Wine Train by Napa Valley Wine Train

Napa Valley Wine Train - Napa Valley, California

What could be better than a scenic train ride? A scenic train ride with wine. You’ll get just that on the three-hour Napa Valley Wine train in California, where a luxurious vintage train transports riders back to a simpler, more Victorian era as they soak up the views of Napa. Save your appetite for the dining car’s “Napa-style, multiple course gourmet meal” with impressive wines and book seats in the two-story vista dome car for the best views of Northern California’s foliage.

Dates and Ticket Info

Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad - Romney, West Virginia Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad
Credit: Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad by Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad

Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad - Romney, West Virginia

If you want a scenic journey in West Virginia, hop aboard the vintage New Tygart Flyer on the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad. This scenic fall journey will take you through the state’s lush, unspoiled mountain wilderness. Not only will you find incredible views of the impressive changing foliage blanketing the Potomac Highlands region, but you’ll traverse the steep mountain grades to see the picture-perfect High Falls of Cheat. Best seen from the end of September to early October to experience the peak colors, Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad offers two-hour, half-day, and Castaway Caboose overnight experiences.

Date and Ticket Info

Amtrak’s Downeaster Route - New England Amtrak Downeaster
Credit: Amtrak Downeaster by Amtrak Downeaster

Amtrak’s Downeaster Route - New England

Amtrak’s Downeaster Route puts on a good show in autumn, traveling between Boston and Maine. It offers a stunning panoramic leaf-peeping experience where you can ride in a vintage dome car from the 1950s and admire views of the Adirondack Mountains. The window-covered car typically joins the Adirondack route from Albany to Montreal, where you can get some of the best views of upstate New York’s fall foliage.

Dates and Ticket Info

Conway Scenic Railway - North Conway, New Hampshire Conway Scenic Railroad
Credit: Conway Scenic Railroad by Conway Scenic Railroad

Conway Scenic Railway - North Conway, New Hampshire

Hop on the five-hour Conway Scenic Railway in North Conway, New Hampshire, to see some of the state’s most scenic landscapes. Sit back and admire the famed Crawford Notch pass of the White Mountains, which lights up in a red, yellow, and orange spectacle from late September to October.

Dates and Ticket Info

Travel Deals

$250 Off | Air & 9-Day Ireland Guided Group Tour

$2299+

9-Day Historic Cities of Eastern Canada Tour

$2958+

$500 Off | Air & 16-Day Turkiye Deluxe Guided Tour

$4099+

11-Nt Ireland Tour - $100 off use TI-CDSUM24

$2639+

7-Day North of Ireland Escape Guided Tour

$1329+

Air & 7-Day Introduction to Ireland Guided Tour

$1699+

Up to 15% Savings on Last Minute Ireland Vacations

$1653+

Save $400 | 10-Day Ireland Rail Tour - 4 Destinations

$1399+

Explore Anchorage's Local Flavor: Dining, Pubs, more

FREE

7-Day Northern Ireland Guided Tour w/ Airfare

$1599+

Unleash Your Wild - Discover Anchorage Today

VISIT

7-Day Tuscany Culinary Holiday | 50% Off

$2399+

Create the Ultimate Trip to Anchorage this Year

PLAN

Up to $2K Off or a Land Pkg | 7-Nt Luxury River Cruises

$2798+

Ireland | 9-Nt Custom Golf Trip - Play the Best Courses

QUOTE