Taking Amtrak To Seattle: All Your Options

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Amtrak trains arriving in Seattle will use the beautiful King Street Station in downtown Seattle. There are 3 routes that service Seattle on Amtrak, so you’ll have a choice of how you arrive.

Amtrak to Seattle Trains

There are 3 Amtrak trains that arrive in Seattle.

  • Coast Starlight
  • Empire Builder
  • Cascades

The Empire Builder arrives in Seattle from Chicago, while the Coast Starlight comes north from Los Angeles. These two trains are both long distance overnight Superliner trains with sleeper car cabins and an observation car. They also both feature Amtrak traditional dining, for sleeper car passengers.

The Cascades route is a day train and does not have sleeper cars, but runs more than once a day from places like Portland, Oregon. The Cascades train has both coach and business class seating.

Amtrak To Seattle Map

Amtrak To Seattle
Amtrak To Seattle Route Options

Which Amtrak Routes To Seattle Are The Most Scenic

The most scenic Amtrak route to Seattle is the Coast Starlight. It hugs the Pacific Ocean south of San Luis Obispo and gives wonderful views of the coast. It is one of the most scenic routes in the county. If you are lucky you’ll also see Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens on this trip, on some day the clouds cover the view.

Since you cannot guarantee which side of the train your seat will be on, the only way to guarantee you get to see the coast is in the observation car of the Coast Starlight. Observation cars are available to all passengers, whether they are in coach class, business class, or a sleeper cabin.

The Empire Builder is also an incredibly scenic trip, among the top 3 in the country. On the way to Seattle you’ll pass by Glacier National Park and Puget Sound.

Cost of Coach Class Tickets To Seattle

The following prices are for a coach class ticket, when purchased well in advance, for the full length of the route. If you don’t travel the full route, the ticket will be cheaper.

TrainFrom Coach Ticket Price
Coast StarlightLos Angeles, CA$101
Empire BuilderChicago, IL$150
CascadesPortland, OR$27

Alternate Routes to Seattle

If you’d like to take the most scenic route possible from Chicago to Seattle, you can take the California Zephyr from Chicago to Emeryville, CA and then the Coast Starlight from Emeryville, CA to Seattle.

This will involve taking two trains, which will raise the cost. These two trains however are the most scenic in the US. Doing it this way will also involve an overnight stay in Emeryville, but if you want the absolute most scenic route, this is it.

Does Amtrak Go To Mt. Rainier

You can get to Mt. Rainier on Amtrak by take the Coast Starlight to Seattle and then renting a car and driving. There is no direct station at Mt. Rainier National Park, so you’ll have to get off the train and drive.

Can I Take A Train From Seattle To Alaska

There is no train from Seattle to Alaska. To get to Alaska from Seattle you can either, fly, drive, take a ferry, or take a cruise ship. Once in Alaska, you can ride the Alaska Railroad, which only runs within the state. The Alaska Railroad has some of the prettiest routes in the USA.

How Long Is The Amtrak Ride From Seattle To Portland

The Amtrak Cascades can make the trip from Seattle to Portland in 3 hours and 25 minutes. There are 3 trips per day on this route. The Amtrak Coast Starlight also makes 1 trip per day but takes 4 hours to get there.

Amtrak Cascades Vs. Amtrak Coast Starlight

The Amtrak Cascades differs from the Coast Starlight in that it is a commuter train that only runs during the day for shorter distances. The Cascades does not have the sleeper cars and observation car found on the Coast Starlight. Both trains feature coach and business class seats. Long distance passengers or those looking for a scenic trip will prefer the Coast Starlight, while those who want the fastest ride should choose the Cascades as it is slightly faster.

Can You Take A Train From Seattle To Canada

You can ride the Amtrak Cascades from Seattle to Vancouver, Canada to take the hassle out of your trip. The Amtrak Cascades makes one stop in Canada, at the Vancouver, BC – Pacific Central Station (VAC). This is the only way to get to British Columbia by train on Amtrak.

Robert Marmion
Rob is married to Allie and together they have been traveling the world for the past 5 years. Rob is one of the most published photographers in the world, having published over 1 million images in the last 20 years. He enjoys doing landscape and astrophotography while on the road.