Until visiting my uncle in Germany in high school, my only railroad experience entailed a battery-powered engine that repeatedly looped on a 15-foot track in my basement. America lacks the convenient, dependable and popular railroad system that serves as the backbone of European transport. But this does not mean there aren’t trips worth taking simply to enjoy the ride. Lonely Planet recently featured five of the best scenic train routes in the US, with The California Zephyr from Denver to San Francisco topping the list.
“There’s no better way to experience the sheer grandeur of the North American continent than by rail. Considerably more relaxing than driving or flying, many trains in the United States offer a leisurely, nostalgic sightseeing experience, often passing through pristine landscapes inaccessible by other means.”
– Lonely Plant’s “Top scenic USA train routes”
I completely subscribe to the idea that the journey is as important, if not more, than the destination. These train rides may not be the most efficient way to get from point A to point B. However, they are the most relaxing way to experience the American scenery through giant picture windows. I hope to experience some of these routes myself. If I can sit still long enough.