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Best Routes To See Fall Colors On Amtrak

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This Autumn you may be seeking the best routes to see the fall colors on Amtrak. We are here with our top 5 routes to make your choice easier for your next trip. These are all popular routes, it is best to book early to ensure you get a seat.

best routes for fall foliage on amtrak
Fall in Vermont

What Is The Best Month For Fall Foliage?

Peak time depends on the region. In general, the best times to observe fall foliage is near the end of September in the northeast. The beginning of October is best for the White Mountain region and the middle of October is best for the south. There are several train routes on Amtrak that will put you right in the middle of the action in each region.

Capitol Limited

The Capitol Limited will take you on a beautiful journey from Washington DC to Chicago. Along the way will journey through Harpers Ferry Historical Park. You will enjoy incredible views from both the Potamac and Shenandoah Rivers. This area boasts beautiful scenery which is accented by the changing colors of the leaves. Don’t miss the colorful arrival into Chicago with the city skyline in the background.

Coast Starlight

The Coast Starlight is likely one of the most popular routes on Amtrak. This train journey begins in Los Angeles and takes you up the California Coast to Seattle, Washington. The breathtaking views of the leaves are not saved for the East Coast. The Willamette Valley in Oregon will leave you breathless. Once you arrive in Seattle, head up to Mt. Rainier to experience even more breathtaking foliage. Mt. Rainier is one of the best national parks to experience the leaves changing colors.

best routes for fall foliage on amtrak
Enjoying the Pacific Ocean before heading into Oregon

California Zephyr

The California Zephyr is the most popular Amtrak train route in America. It’s easy to see why this route is popular, from the dramatic canyons, to crossing Continental Divides, you get a bit of everything on this ride. One unexpected bonus of this journey is observing the fall foliage as you ride through the Rocky Mountains and canyons. You will think you have entered a painting when riding through this area. The bright golden yellow of the Aspen’s will leave you breathless. This is another journey that is certainly at the top of the list of the best routes to see the fall colors on Amtrak.


This is likely the most popular fall foliage route on Amtrak. The Vermonter goes from St. Albans, Vermont to Washington DC. Leaving from Vermont you will be overwhelmed with the colors of fall. This train adds an Observation Car during fall foliage season. Be sure to check out the leaves changing in Stowe, Vermont. This is the most popular place to see this glorious event in New England. The Vermonter will not disappoint you in any way on a fall foliage journey. This is one of the best routes to see the fall foliage on Amtrak so be sure to book your journey early.

best routes for fall foliage on amtrak
The Adirondacks starting to turn


This gorgeous route takes you from New York to Montreal. You will be taken aback as you journey through the Hudson Valley. The vast views of the Adirondack Mountains will make you forget you just left the big city behind. The views will be amazing in Saratoga Springs. This area will take you back in time with it’s rustic city style. The colors of the foliage will keep you looking up the whole time.

Best Routes To See The Fall Colors On Amtrak

As you can see, there are several great choices to pick from for your fall foliage trip. You only get one a year, so choose wisely. Pick based on your location or you can choose based on where you want to end your journey. There are many possibilities to choose from. Amtrak makes your journey easy with the transportation, all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the view and the ride.

Allie Marmion
Allie is married to Rob and has been traveling with him across the world for the last two years. She is an accomplished personal trainer, speaker and author.