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8 Scenic Train Trips You Can Take in a Day

Woman riding a train
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Want to unplug and unwind? Consider leaving the car at home and taking a daylong train trip.

Train trips offer fabulous views of mountains, deserts, oceans and forests, as well as cultural and historic experiences. They allow you to sit back and ponder the scenery instead of the traffic.

The cost will depend on the season, route and class of train car. But discounts are often available for military members, seniors, students, children and members of AARP or AAA.

And best of all, these trips all take a day or less.

1. Cass Scenic Railroad

Passengers of the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park train enjoy the view from the Bald Knob overlook in Back Allegheny Mountain, West Virginia
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For a short but magical historical jaunt, try the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park rail line. Riding in a restored steam-powered train, you will traverse the scenic mountains of eastern West Virginia during an 11-mile jaunt.

The full route from the Cass Depot up to the Bald Knob overlook is about 4.5 hours round-trip. Check out ticket and pricing information.

2. Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad

View from the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad
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The route of this train, which has been designated a national historic landmark, runs between Antonito, Colorado, and Chama, New Mexico, with trains departing daily from both cities.

The full-day trip takes in 64 miles of scenery that includes “some of the most spectacular scenery in the Rocky Mountain West.” Check out ticket and pricing information.

3. Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

A train on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
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This Colorado ride travels between Durango — not too far from the Four Corners area where the borders of Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico meet — and Silverton and has been in operation since 1882. The journey is 45 miles and includes a two-hour stop in Silverton.

Check out ticket and pricing information.

4. Ethan Allen Express

Penn Station in Manhattan, New York City
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A ride on this Amtrak route between New York City (pictured) and Rutland, Vermont — by way of Albany — is about 5.5 hours. It features wilderness and views of the Hudson River Valley. Book your trip.

5. Grand Canyon Railway

The Grand Canyon Railway
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This train journey offers travelers a unique and low-stress way to view the heavily tourist-invaded Grand Canyon — one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

In operation since 1901, the railway traces a 130-mile round-trip journey. Check out ticket and pricing information.

6. Great Smoky Mountains Railroad

The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
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The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad route in western North Carolina begins at a historic depot in Bryson City and takes riders through the mountains.

Check out ticket and pricing information.

7. Napa Valley Wine Train

The Napa Valley Wine Train in California
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This Northern California route traversing the popular wine valley combines fine dining, vintage cars and, of course, wine. It travels 36 miles round-trip from downtown Napa to St. Helena and back, passing famous and historic wineries.

Check out ticket and pricing information.

8. Mount Washington Cog Railway

The Mount Washington Cog Railway in New Hampshire
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The Mount Washington Cog Railway is in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

Built for climbing Mount Washington, it will take you to the highest peak in the Northeast. Check out ticket and pricing information.

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