5 Great National Park Train Rides

A good train ride provides passengers with stunning scenery, high adventure and a bit of nostalgic romance. These classic rail trips through America's national parks include a panoramic dome car, a restored vintage railway and more!

Photos

Adirondack Park

Adirondack Park

With seemingly bottomless lakes and a diverse mountain landscape, the Adirondack Park covers roughly 6 million acres of New York’s lush countryside. Filled with pristine camping grounds, the state-owned Adirondack Forest Preserve within the park is an ideal location to spot wildlife, from large, dangerous animals such as moose and black bears to smaller species including muskrats and foxes. 960 1280

Chris Murray / Aurora / Getty Images  

Mount Hood National Forest

Mount Hood National Forest

One trip to majestic Mount Hood, and it’s easy to see why so many Americans are infatuated with the Pacific Northwest. Known as the crown jewel of the Columbia River Gorge, Mount Hood, the highest point in Oregon, is also considered an active volcano, although it hasn’t erupted in about 150 years. 960 1280

deebrowning / iStock / Getty Images  

Channel Islands National Park

Channel Islands National Park

You may technically be in Southern California when you travel to Channel Islands National Park, but it sure doesn’t feel like it. Encompassing about 250,000 acres, the park consists of 5 islands, including Anacapa (pictured), and the ocean surrounding them. 960 1280
Coconino National Forest

Coconino National Forest

Covering nearly 2 million acres in northern Arizona, Coconino National Forest is divided into 3 different districts, each with its own attractions, including a group of volcanic summits known as the San Francisco Peaks; the largest natural lake in the state, Mormon Lake; the scenic Mogollon Rim; and the expansive red-rock canyons in Sedona (pictured). 960 1280

Coconino National Forest (AlbertHerring) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake in southern Oregon has azure waters that make up the deepest lake in the country. Surrounded by sheer cliffs, the fifth-oldest national park also boasts some of the United States’ cleanest air, allowing hikers to see clearly into the distance along more than 90 miles of trails. 960 1280
Devils Tower National Monument

Devils Tower National Monument

Deep within the Black Hills of Crook County, WY, lies an impressive geologic laccolith known as Devils Tower National Monument. Protruding from the ground to an astounding 1,200-plus feet above the Belle Fourche River, Devils Tower was formed by igneous rock intruding between the layers of surrounding sedimentary rocks. 960 1280
Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

Filled with amazing natural features, from Old Faithful to the Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park is primarily in Wyoming but spreads into parts of Montana and Idaho as well. Established in 1872, America’s first national park also provides incredible picturesque landscapes, including the Lower Falls (pictured). 960 1280

By Brocken Inaglory [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons  

Hurricane Hole

Hurricane Hole

Located on St. John in the US Virgin Islands, Hurricane Hole consists of 3 separate bays — Otter Creek, Water Creek and Princess Bay — and provides pristine blue waters and once-in-a-lifetime snorkeling adventures. 960 1280

TravelingOtter via Flickr Creative Commons SA 2.0, color corrected and cropped  

Arches National Park

Arches National Park

Moab, UT, is home to some of the most glorious rock formations in the US, and the same can be said for nearby Arches National Park. With more than 2,000 natural stone arches, this red-rock wonderland also includes an unbelievable number of hiking trails, spires and monoliths unlike any others you’ll find in the world. 960 1280
Mosquito Bay

Mosquito Bay

Truly a sight to see, Mosquito Bay — located on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques — offers one of the most unusual water experiences you can have. Also known as Bioluminescent Bay, it gets its name from microscopic organisms that reside in the water and generate a phosphorus blue glow when agitated. 960 1280

Puerto Rico Tourism Company  

Redwood National and State Parks

Redwood National and State Parks

Home to some of the world’s oldest living organisms and the tallest trees on Earth — including Hyperion, which stands close to 380 feet — Redwood National and State Parks welcome an average of more than 400,000 visitors per year. They’re located in Humboldt County along the coast of California. 960 1280
Tonto National Forest

Tonto National Forest

Encompassing nearly 3 million acres of beautiful desert countryside, Tonto National Forest is the fifth-largest forest of its kind in the United States. It’s most impressive feature, the Salt River (pictured), measures almost 200 miles long. It’s the perfect place to go tubing, as it acts as a lazy river for locals trying to escape Arizona’s sweltering summer heat. 960 1280

Sean Foster / Moment / Getty Images  

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

Nestled deep within the Sierra Nevada, Yosemite National Park is one of the most visited national parks in the country, let alone California. With plenty of scenic overlooks, countless breathtaking waterfalls and stunning, ancient sequoias, Yosemite is paradise for even the most novice of outdoorsmen. 960 1280

AngMoKio (Original text: selfmade photo)) [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons  

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Not more than 175 miles from the Atlanta metropolitan area, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is by far the most visited national park in the country. 960 1280

Beth Rucker  

A Park for All, and All Seasons

A Park for All, and All Seasons

Most park visitors explore by car on one of the major scenic roads such as Cades Cove Loop or Newfound Gap Road. To beat the crowd, you can avoid busy times of year like July, August and October. 960 1280

Katie Hausauer  

How to Escape the Crowds

How to Escape the Crowds

Fortunately, with 384 miles of mountain road, the Smokies offer plenty of space to escape the crowd. Hiking is also enjoyed all year where the park'€™s old-growth deciduous forests bring a different reward with each season. 960 1280

Kelly Smith Trimble  

Appalachian Trail

Appalachian Trail

Stretching approximately 2,200 miles from Georgia to Maine, the Appalachian Trail is the premier hiking trail of the Eastern U.S. The trail is so popular that there is an entire subculture of books, memoirs, websites and fan clubs for passionate enthusiasts. The southern terminus of the trail is Springer Mountain approximately two hours north of Atlanta; many thru-hikers choose to start there. 960 1280

Beth Rucker  

Congaree National Park

Congaree National Park

As an important bird sanctuary, visitors to Congaree National Park, one of our nation'€™s newest parks, can stroll boardwalks watching wood duck, wild turkey, barred owls, and whippoorwill amongst cypress trees. 960 1280

Eric Foltz / iStock  

Cherokee National Forest

Cherokee National Forest

Though not technically a national park, Cherokee National Forest is well worth nothing. A truly notable feature of Cherokee National Forest is the Ocoee River, used during the 1996 Summer Olympics; the Ocoee has some of the greatest whitewater rafting and kayaking destinations in the Southeast. 960 1280

Tim Doyle  

Chattahoochee National Recreation Area

Chattahoochee National Recreation Area

This national park north of the city gives access to a 48-mile stretch of the Chattahoochee River. Residents of large northern suburbs like Marietta and Roswell can access the recreation area within minutes, while those living downtown or other coordinates along the city’s perimeter can be there in less than an hour. 960 1280

Sebastien Windal / iStock  

The Lowcountry

The Lowcountry

Made up of a stretch of coastline that extends through South Carolina and into Georgia, the Lowcountry is a region bustling with natural as well as cultural beauty. One national park is Fort Sumter outside Charleston, S.C. 960 1280

Will Hollerith  

The Lowcountry

The Lowcountry

Tidal marshes, rivers, estuaries, barrier islands and the Atlantic Ocean make the Lowcountry rich with national forests, wildlife preserves, and cultural heritages sites that provide a bounty of recreation and accommodation options to visitors. One such site is Cumberland Island National Seashore, Georgia’s largest barrier island and former Carnegie family escape. 960 1280

Will Hollerith  

Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park

A new option for Grand Canyon visitors with adequate cell phone service is listening to the free audio tours offered through the National Park Service. On this web application, park rangers give two-minute narrations on topics including the park'€™s unique geology and Native American history. 960 1280

John Mulloy  

Grand View

Grand View

Seen from even its best viewpoints, the unexpected grandeur of the Grand Canyon is so impressive in scale that viewers can see only a fraction of the gorge's 227 miles from any one viewpoint on the plateau 960 1280

John Mulloy  

Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park

The Island In The Sky, the Needles, the Maze, and the combined Green and Colorado Rivers make up the four districts of Canyonlands National Park, which author Edward Abbey described as "€œthe most weird, wonderful, magical place on earth." 960 1280

John Mulloy  

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Glen Canyon NRA is a recreation and conservation area that encompasses 1.25 million acres and offers limitless water recreation and camping opportunities around Lake Powell and lower Cataract Canyon. 960 1280

John Gillanders  

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

The junction between the rugged Colorado Desert and the 3,000 feet higher, wetter and more vegetated Mojave Desert at Joshua Tree National Park makes for a stark and striking contrast. 960 1280

Jamie Abart  

Cholla Gardens

Cholla Gardens

Though from far away the gardens of cholla (pronounce choya) cacti in Joshua Tree appear soft and fuzzy, these distinctive succulents are actually covered by barbed spines that have a reputation for easily detaching and sticking to skin, fur and clothing. 960 1280

Kelly Smith Trimble  

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Eroded and weathered by water, the orange, red and white spires (called hoodoos) of Bryce Canyon will give the most spectacular views during sunrise and sunset. 960 1280

John Mulloy  

Zion National Park

Zion National Park

Zion National Park is about a six-hour drive from Phoenix, but visitors can make it seven if they choose to take the longer route through Las Vegas to roll some dice. 960 1280

Whitney North  

Canyoneering

Canyoneering

Zion is one of the premier national parks for canyoneering. Not for the claustrophobic or faint of heart, this outdoor activity combines hiking, navigation, swimming, caving and sometimes rappelling. 960 1280

Whitney North  

The Hot List

Explore America’s most stunning scenery.
Join the conversation on Social Media!
Stay updated on the latest travel tips and trends.
Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss Travel Channel in your favorite social media feeds.