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California Zephyr


Chicago - Omaha - Denver - Salt Lake City - Reno - Sacramento - San Francisco

The California Zephyr service by Amtrak is an epic cross-country journey that takes you from Chicago to Emeryville (San Francisco), California, showcasing the stunning landscapes of the American West. Traverse the heartland of America, cross the mighty Mississippi River, and ascend through the towering peaks of the Rocky Mountains. Marvel at the beauty of the Sierra Nevada range and the vast deserts of Nevada.

Relax in spacious seating or private sleeping accommodations and enjoy amenities like a dining car serving delectable meals and sightseeing lounge car where you can unwind, socialize, and watch the world go by. With the California Zephyr service, Amtrak offers an unforgettable travel experience that immerses you in the breathtaking natural wonders of the West.

52 hours

Trip Time

2,438 mi (3,924 km)

Trip Length



Route Highlights

Chicago: Departing from Chicago, passengers on the California Zephyr embark on a cross-country adventure. The vibrant city offers a rich blend of architecture, culture, and culinary delights, including iconic landmarks such as Millennium Park, the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower), and Navy Pier.

Mississippi River: As the train ventures westward, it crosses the mighty Mississippi River, the longest river in North America. Passengers can witness the majestic waters and take in the scenic beauty of the surrounding landscapes as they traverse this iconic waterway.

Denver: Colorado's vibrant capital city known as the "Mile High City." Passengers can explore the city's rich history, visit renowned attractions such as the Denver Art Museum and the Denver Botanic Gardens, and enjoy the bustling downtown area surrouding Union Station with its vibrant culinary scene and lively entertainment options.

Rocky Mountains: The California Zephyr winds through the breathtaking Rocky Mountains, providing passengers with awe-inspiring vistas of towering peaks, deep valleys, and rugged wilderness. Highlights include the Moffat Tunnel, a remarkable engineering feat, and the iconic scenery of the Colorado Rockies.

Glenwood Springs: This charming Colorado town offers a welcome respite for California Zephyr passengers. Known for its natural hot springs, visitors can relax in soothing mineral waters while taking in the stunning mountain views. The historic Glenwood Springs Train Depot is also worth a visit.

Ruby Canyon: The train traverses the dramatic Ruby Canyon as it follows the meandering path of the Colorado River. Passengers are treated to stunning red rock formations, sheer cliffs, and the tranquility of the river, making it a memorable sight along the route.

Book Cliffs: As the train travels through the Utah desert, passengers can marvel at the striking Book Cliffs. These towering cliffs extend for miles, displaying intricate layers of sedimentary rock formations in various hues. The Book Cliffs provide a stunning backdrop, showcasing the geological wonders of the region.

Salt Lake City: The California Zephyr makes a stop in Salt Lake City, Utah's vibrant capital. Visitors can explore the city's rich history, visit the iconic Temple Square, and take in the panoramic views of the nearby Wasatch Mountains.

Sierra Nevada Mountains: After leaving Reno, the "Biggest Little City in the World," the train climbs through the magnificent Sierra Nevada Mountains, crossing the iconic Donner Pass. Passengers can marvel at the towering peaks, deep valleys, and pristine alpine lakes, immersing themselves in the natural beauty of this legendary mountain range.

Sacramento: The western end of the Transcontinental Railroad and home to the world famous California State Railroad Museum. Sacramento is an underrated city with beautiful rivers, rich history, and more trees per square mile than anywhere else in North America.

San Francisco Bay: The final destination of the California Zephyr is the stunning San Francisco Bay Area. Passengers can catch glimpses of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of the city, known for its diverse culture, culinary scene, and world-famous landmarks like Alcatraz Island and Fisherman's Wharf.



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