| Amtrak's California Zephyr train travels along the Colorado River |
near McCoy, Colorado
On a good day on the rails, Chicago to San Francisco on Amtrak's California Zephyr is an adventure every American should take at least once.
This coast-to-coast trip is a 2-night, 2,438-mile journey aboard one of the world's greatest trains, the California Zephyr. A train called the California Zephyr first took to the rails in 1949, run jointly by the three railroads over which it ran, the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy (the 'Burlington'), the Denver & Rio Grande Western ('Rio Grande') and the Western Pacific.
It couldn't compete on speed with the rival Union Pacific City of San Francisco but it more than made up for that with superb scenery and gleaming stainless steel carriages which featured no fewer than four vista domes for sightseeing.
Amtrak's modern incarnation of the California Zephyr follows much of the same route, through superb scenery in the Rockies, across the arid country of Utah and Nevada, and through the snow-capped Sierra Nevada in California to the Bay Area.
It runs once a day weather permitting.
It's the most scenic and historic of all the Amtrak train routes across the United States. When you step off this train in California, you'll have seen more of America than many Americans.