Best Scenic Train Ride (2020)


Sometimes the journey is just as important as the destination. Such is the case for passengers who step aboard these 10 American trains – voted by our readers as the best in North America. 

  • Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad

    Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad

    One of the most authentic steam-operated railroads in existence, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad runs for 64 miles between Chama, New Mexico and Antonito, Colorado, passing through the San Juan Mountains and the scenic Conejos Valley along the way. This moving National Historic Landmark represents one of New Mexico's most spectacular day trips.
    Photo courtesy of Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad

  • Colebrookdale Railroad

    Colebrookdale Railroad

    Passengers riding the Colebrookdale Railroad board a restored century-old railcar for a two-hour journey into Pennsylvania’s Secret Valley. An open car offers near 360-degree views of the passing scenery, while the first-class parlor car, called Storm King, offers drinks and snacks to the sounds of piano music.
    Photo courtesy of Colebrookdale Railroad

  • Cass Scenic Railroad

    Cass Scenic Railroad

    Tucked into the scenic mountains of West Virginia lies the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park, where visitors can take a step back in time aboard a steam-driven locomotive once used to haul lumber. Trips depart from the town of Cass and take visitors to Whittaker Station (2 hours round trip) or all the way to Bald Knob (4.5 hours round trip).
    Photo courtesy of Walter Scriptunas II / Cass Scenic Railroad State Park

  • Roaring Camp Railroads

    Roaring Camp Railroads

    Roaring Camp offers two experiences aboard 19th century steam strains. The Redwood Forest Steam Train takes passengers on a 75-minute excursion through California’s towering redwood groves to the summit of Bear Mountain. Onboard narration explains the history of Roaring Camp and how the trains were used to haul logs. The Santa Cruz Beach Train travels from the mountains through Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.
    Photo courtesy of Roaring Camp Railroads

  • Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

    Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

    The historic Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad once hauled silver and gold along the stretch of track laid during the late 19th centuries between the two towns. Today, visitors hop aboard for the 7-hour roundtrip journey from Durango through some of Colorado's most impressive scenery with a chance to stop and explore the historic mining town.
    Photo courtesy of Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

  • Wilmington & Western Railroad

    Wilmington & Western Railroad

    The Wilmington & Western route was laid in the 1870s, and today, the same track hosts one of the most popular tourist railroads on the East Coast. Excursion through Delaware’s Red Clay Valley depart from Greenbank and travel through Faulkland, Wooddale, Ashland, Yorklyn and Hockessin.
    Photo courtesy of Wilmington & Western Railroad

  • Strasburg Rail Road

    Strasburg Rail Road

    Founded in 1832, the historic Strasburg Rail Road didn’t become a tourist railroad until 1958. Today, passengers continue to board the train for a chance to soak up the views of Pennsylvania’s scenic Lancaster County.
    Photo courtesy of Strasburg Rail Road

  • Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

    Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

    The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad is one of the best ways to explore Cuyahoga Valley National Park located in Northeast Ohio. The train travels north-south between Independence and Akron, with stops for both pedestrian and bike passengers. In addition to scenic rides through the park, the train also hosts evening excursions (Ales on Rails, Cocktails on Rails or Grape Escapes) as well as a Murder Mystery Train.
    Photo courtesy of Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

  • The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway

    The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway

    The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs recently acquired the historic Pikes Peak Cog Railway, and guests will enjoy new trains, new tracks and a new depot starting in 2021. This classic journey takes passengers to the top of Pikes Peak, traveling along Ruxton Creek, past Minnehaha and through Deer Park along the way.
    Photo courtesy of The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway

  • White Pass & Yukon Route Railway

    White Pass & Yukon Route Railway

    The White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad was built during the Yukon Gold Rush in 1898. Today the real treasures aboard this narrow gauge railroad – an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark – are the glaciers, gorges, mountains, waterfalls, tunnels and bridges on display as the vintage train climbs almost 3000 feet in just 20 miles.
    Photo courtesy of White Pass & Yukon Route Railway

The top 10 winners in the category Best Scenic Train Ride are as follows:

  1. Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad
  2. Colebrookdale Railroad
  3. Cass Scenic Railroad
  4. Roaring Camp Railroads
  5. Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
  6. Wilmington & Western Railroad
  7. Strasburg Rail Road
  8. Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad
  9. The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway
  10. White Pass & Yukon Route Railway

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning train rides!

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AlertThe Experts

Chez Chesak

Chez Chesak

Chez Chesak

Lydia Schrandt

Lydia Schrandt

Lydia Schrandt

10Best Editors

10Best Editors

10Best Editors