These 6 U.S. Scenic Train Rides Offer The Best Fall Views This Year 

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With the close of summer, it means that fall is starting to make its way into the minds of most of us.

To many people across the U.S., fall means cozy nights watching football, apple cider, warm sweaters, and, of course, the fall foliage craze that begins to take over the country. 

beautiful fall train ride usa foliage copy

Foliage fever is real, and it’s everywhere you look.

Nowadays the news has a leaf watch, and social media is taken over with the iconic fall snaps. While national parks, road trips, and fall getaways are great ways to check out the autumn views, why not consider viewing America’s beautiful foliage by rail this fall?

With some stunning views, the options for scenic train rides across the country are seemingly endless. Remember to check out the peak foliage times across the country for optimal leaf-peeping before you make any plans, especially as the prime color-changing times seem to come earlier each year. 

A vintage locomotive, caboose and passenger car amidst the falling Autumn leaves at the Delaware & Ulster Railroad depot in Arkville, NY

Another reason to consider a fall train trip? Train travel is having a moment, and whether it’s for the views, the vibes, or the environment, it seems Americans prefer traveling by train right now in many countries.

Here Are 6 U.S. Scenic Train Rides That Offer Some Of The Best Fall Views This Year:

Catskill Mountain Railroad, New York

About two and a half hours north of New York City, you can find the Catskill Mountain region. This underrated area of upstate New York is a great place to see some of the country’s best foliage, and what better way than to do it by a historic steam engine?

The Catskill Mountain Railroad offers a wealth of activities for all ages as it winds through some of the oldest farmlands in the country. 

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@travelwithsudipa Catskills Fall Foliage train ride#catskillsmountains #catskillsny #upstatenewyork #fallfoliagetrip #falltrips #fallbucketlist2022 @travelwithsudipa @travelwithsudipa ♬ original sound – Madeline Lu

Cuyahoga Scenic Railroad, Ohio

Ohio is no stranger to great fall foliage, and the winding Cuyahoga Scenic Railroad is a great way to experience the beauty of this region. You can take in the views in Cuyahoga Valley National Park and along the Cuyahoga River.

This area is home to some impressive deep forests, open farmlands, and endless hills rolling in the distance, all of which will explode into purple, red, and fiery orange shades this time of year. 

@wildwolfvan Riding the Cuyahoga Scenic Railroad in Ohio #ohio #akron #akronohio #cuyahogavalleynationalpark #nationalpark ♬ Pure Imagination – Dotan Negrin + Prismatic Mantis

Colebrookdale Railroad, Pennsylvania

This favorite tourist railroad is also known as the Secret Valley Line, and the two-hour round-trip ride takes you through this historic and beautiful region that is often overlooked.

This Civil War-era heritage railroad offers special events with a focus on the unique history of the region. Not to mention, the foliage here along the Colebrookdale Railroad line is pretty stunning as well. 

@railbrothers Had a great time at the Colebrookdale Railroad with @biddiescustomary! Would definitely recommend the dinner train. #dinnertrain #lunchtrain #dinnertrainride #scenicrailway #railroad #easternpa #boyertown #autumnvibes ♬ Aesthetic – Tollan Kim

Mount Hood Railroad, Oregon

If you are lucky enough to find yourself in the Pacific Northwest this fall, then a train ride on the century-old Mount Hood Railroad should be in your plans.

These scenic rides will take you through the Hood River Valley in Northern Oregon, and the foliage here will be something to marvel at. Of course, if you are looking for a bit more of a workout, the rail bikes are another option for you to explore the region. 

@michelevenlee Fall colors are later this year so we missed them 😢 but y’all have time to see them in the next week or so! 🍁 #hoodriveroregon #pnwlife #rainydays #portland #scenictrain #fallfoliage ♬ California Dreamin’ – The Mamas & The Papas

Essex Steam Train, Connecticut

If you are looking for a combination rail and river expedition, then the Essex Steam Train might be just what you need. Located in the Connectivity River Valley, an often overlooked beautiful part of the country, this trip will offer some serious views.

Dating back to 1868, this ride is narrated and offers some great birdwatching in the wetlands along the river as well. The train and riverboat trip runs around two and a half hours, and if you opt only for the train, it will take about one hour for the trip. 

Connecticut Valley Railroad Steam Train Locomotive in Essex, Connecticut , USA

Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, New Mexico

Often referred to as the C&TSRR, this iconic railway is one for the views. Only 3 feet wide, this narrow gauge heritage railway runs along nearly 65 miles of track between Chama, New Mexico, and Antonito, Colorado.

With sweeping views along the Western Rocky Mountains, this has often been called the best train ride in the country. A National Historic Landmark, this is the highest, longest, and most authentic steam railroad in the U.S. 

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Steam Train, from Chama, New Mexico

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