(CNN) – Clickety crackling sounds. Steam whistles. Sports overalls connectors. What do you dislike about train travel?
In a world of instant gratification, welcoming a slower travel experience can be a wonderful change of pace.
Whether it’s a day trip or a long-distance trip, you’ll score instant nostalgia with one of North America’s amazing rail journeys.
Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad
With evergreen forests, gorgeous valleys, and jagged peaks, a visit to the Rocky Mountains makes no sense.
Made the trip in a coal-fired steam engine even better.
Not to mention, you’ll be traveling to remote places in Colorado and New Mexico that cars can’t reach on a 64-mile road.
Top speed is 12 mph – so the wildflowers and rocky canyons won’t be a blur.
The train departs every day from Chama, New Mexico, and Antonito, Colorado. The best part is: there is no cellular service along the way. You have no choice but to relax. Tickets start at $115 for adults.
Broadmoor Manitou & Pikes Peak Cog . Railway
The highest railway in the northern hemisphere.
There’s a good reason Katherine Lee Bates wrote “America the Beautiful” atop Pikes Peak in Colorado: It’s absolutely gorgeous there at 14,115 feet above sea level.
We’re talking snow-capped slopes, alpine vistas, and the Garden of the Gods, a group of swissical-like rock formations.
It is the highest railway line in the Northern Hemisphere and one of two cogwheel railways in the country. At the top, it is worth calling the visitor center to try the cakes at high altitudes (a robotic machine extracts 700 of them per hour).
grand canyon railway hotel
The Grand Canyon Railroad offers a slice of American history.
Are you ready for edge-to-edge trekking or kayaking down the mighty Colorado River?
Since 1901, travelers (including Theodore Roosevelt, Clark Gable, and Bill Gates) have ridden the Grand Canyon Railway to enjoy the stunning views of Grand Canyon National Park.
Even the train stations are national historical monuments themselves.
Hop aboard in Williams, Arizona and end up in the historic village of South Rim after a few hours with plenty of time to explore the canyon.
It is especially ideal for families with young children thanks to the active musicians and cowboy characters. A stay at the Grand Canyon Railroad hotel evokes nostalgia. Tickets start at $67 for adults.
Via Rail Canada
The Canadian domed car fascinates the view.
As you pass the Canadian Shield, prairies, and Rocky Mountains, keep your eyes peeled for grizzly bears, mountain goats, bison, and coyotes on this popular Canadian route that takes passengers from Toronto to Vancouver.
Chefs switch up the menu daily, and tastings of Canadian beers and wines make the trip even more enjoyable.
During the 4-night trip, choose from vaulted lounge cars or Art Deco dining carts. The sleeper car starts at $1,111 Canadian ($875).
Rocky Mountain Mountaineer to Red Rock
This Rocky Mountaineer Trail is filled with mountain scenery, desert cliffs, and rock formations.
The two-day luxury cruise takes passengers through a series of steep and rugged rock-walled canyons.
The road between Glenwood Springs, Colorado, and Moab, Utah, is littered with mountain scenery, desert cliffs, and rock formations.
You may or may not see wildlife such as deer, hornets, and eagles. But one thing is for sure: the gourmet food served by the executive chefs is as great as the views.
Tickets start at $1,375.
Denali Star Train
The Denali Star Train is one of the best ways to experience the majestic scenery of Alaska.
Stuart L Sterling
On a clear day you’ll see the star of the show: Denali, the highest peak in North America, and that’s reason enough on its own to make the trip.
GoldStar’s service is definitely worth the splurge thanks to its glass-domed windows.
Besides the national park, other stops include Wasilla, Talkeetna, and Fairbanks.
Once in Denali, you can visit the sled dogs, take a ranger-led walk or sign up for a sightseeing tour (if you’re lucky, you’ll spot moose and bears). Tickets start at $259 for adults.
Amtrak’s Cascades train trips from Vancouver to Oregon.
Glacier bays and rainforests. Examines. Waterfalls and volcanoes. Examines.
Watch seaplanes land on Coal Harbor in Vancouver. In Seattle, stop by the Experience Music Project Museum.
In Tacoma, watch a glassblower in action at the Museum of Glass.
And when you get to Portland, make a beeline for the world’s largest bookstore. Prices vary throughout the year.
The 35-hour rail journey between Los Angeles and Seattle is filled with stunning scenery.
Along the way, you’ll see Santa Barbara, the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, and Portland.
At the San Luis Obispo station, it is worth hiring a local waiter and driver to take you to a winery; After all, there are 30 to choose from.
In Chico, California, sample craft brews. And don’t forget to have your camera ready when you get to Crater Lake, traveling through the Cascades at 5,000 feet above sea level.
Other filming locations include Mount Shasta, Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier, and long stretches of the Pacific Ocean. Ticket prices vary throughout the year.
Amtrak’s California Zephyr takes travelers on an epic journey from California to Chicago.
At a Truckee, California stop, take a walk in the Tahoe National Forest.
In Salt Lake City, Utah, leave time to sledge at Olympic Park. Prices vary according to travel dates.
Covering stories of travel, fitness, and extraordinary people, Sarah Sikola’s assignments have taken her to all seven continents. Follow her adventures on @sarahsomewhere.