2fer Tuesday: Scenic Western Rail Rides

I used to spend a lot of time on the busy commuter Amtrak line between NYC and Washington, DC, but lately I’m having the urge to depart on a slower, more scenic railway. Here are a couple train rides in western North America that would make for awesome getaways:

Rocky Mountaineer: Their “First Passage to the West” British Columbia rail journey retraces the steps of 19th-century explorers as it winds through the towering Canadian Rockies. In a decked-out train with huge panoramic windows, you ride from Vancouver to Calgary, all while enjoying hot meals, complimentary beverages, and of course, amazing vistas.

Grand Canyon Railway: I think it would be really cool to ride on this vintage train, on the same route that Grand Canyon visitors have traveled since 1901. The restored locomotive passes through cute historic train depots as it makes its way towards the Grand Canyon.

Keep in mind: The Rocky Mountaineer provides luxury touches, and the prices reflect this. Also, the Grand Canyon Railway is a short ride (only a little over two hours), so make some hotel reservations at the Grand Canyon and spend a long weekend there!

Bonus tip(s): My Grand Canyon lodging pick is the rustic Bright Angel Lodge and Cabins. The circa 1935 Lodge has pretty reasonable rates, ranging from $81/night for a standard room with shared bathroom all the way up to $178 – $340/night for various suites. Personally, the beautiful views have me sold on their mid-priced Rim Cabins.

Photo via rockymountaineer.com.

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