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Best Scenic Train Ride (2021)

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Sometimes the journey is just as important as the destination. Such is the case for passengers who step aboard these trains – hand-picked by a panel of travel experts as the best in North America.

  • 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 iStock / miroslav_1

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway

    The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway

    The Pikes Peak Cog Railway is the highest railway in America (and the world's highest cog train) reaching a height of 14,115 feet above sea level.
    This 9-mile 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

  • Mount Washington Cog Railway

    Mount Washington Cog Railway

    Passengers aboard the Mount Washington Cog Railway in New Hampshire enjoy a 3-hour tour to the highest peak in the Northeast, 6,288-foot Mount Washington. The first cog-driven train made the climb on July 3, 1869, and today – 150 years later – the Mount Washington Cog Railway is a National Historic Engineering Landmark.
    Photo courtesy of Mount Washington Cog Railway

  • 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

  • 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

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

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

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 the winners on the 10Best list!

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