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Trip Overview

There’s something magical about taking a rail journey, especially when it’s as epic as this 19-day Grand National Parks Explorer train vacation! Traveling by train already evokes a sense of adventure by itself, but this is certainly a rare opportunity to cover great distances and see all of the beauty and wonder the national parks of the Western United States offer. Departing out of Chicago, you’ll venture west toward Denver, where you’ll get to tour Rocky Mountain National Park’s majestic peaks and wilderness. Next, arrive in Salt Lake City—the perfect jumping off point to reach Yellowstone National Park. From there, make the journey south down toward San Francisco. Enjoy all the iconic city’s popular attractions and then make your way to Yosemite National Park, with its gorgeous hikes, waterfalls, breathtaking granite rock faces, and serene meadows. In Seattle, you’ll have plenty of time to get to know the “Emerald City” before departing on an overnight train ride to Glacier National Park, considered to be one of the most beautiful and wild places on earth. This rail journey is epic in scope—spanning legendary routes and breathtaking landscapes in a single journey. And it’s one you’ll surely never forget! The landscapes you discover and the experiences you have will take on a whole new depth and meaning as you traverse through ever-changing backdrops and horizons.


  • Sightseeing tour of Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Sightseeing tour of Yellowstone’s Lower Loop
  • Sightseeing tour of Yellowstone’s Upper Loop
  • Dinner at The Roof Restaurant in Salt Lake City
  • Sightseeing tour of Yosemite National Park
  • Multi-day hop-on, hop-off sightseeing tour of San Francisco
  • San Francisco Bay Cruise
  • Admission to the Space Needle Observatory Deck
  • Big Sky Circle Tour of Glacier National Park
  • Two Medicine Valley Boat Cruise in Glacier National Park

Package Also Includes:

  • One-way Amtrak® in Coach accommodations from Chicago to Denver; Denver to Salt Lake City; Salt Lake City to San Francisco; San Francisco to Seattle; Seattle to Glacier National Park; Glacier National Park to Chicago in Coach accommodations on the California Zephyr®, Coast Starlight®, and Empire Builder®
  • 13 nights’ hotel accommodations; 5 nights’ onboard Amtrak
  • 5 meals included (2 dinners; 3 breakfasts)
Trip Map

Customizable Vacations

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Package prices are per person, double occupancy, tax included. Prices do not include rail from your hometown. Please call for pricing. Package prices are subject to change without notice, and all reservations are based upon availability at the time of booking. Amtrak travel is for Coach accommodations unless otherwise noted. Upgrades to Roomette or Bedroom accommodations on board Amtrak are available. Call for pricing. Other restrictions may apply. Activities referenced in the itinerary during free time are for suggested purposes only and are not included. Seasonal activity (if applicable): During the off-season, some tours may not be available. In this case, a similar tour will be substituted. Passports (if applicable): Passports are required when crossing the Canadian border. Amtrak and Amtrak Vacations are registered service marks of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation.

Depart Chicago's Union Station this afternoon onboard the California Zephyr. Travel through America's heartland and the Midwest plains as you make your way to the Rocky Mountains. (Overnight onboard Amtrak)

DAY 2            DENVER
Welcome to Denver, Colorado! You’ll arrive in at 7:15am and have the entire day to explore on your own. This scenic metropolis offers stunning views of the Rocky Mountains. There is much to see and do, like Red Rocks Park, the Denver Art Museum, Denver Zoo and more. (Overnight in Denver)

Experience the majestic splendor of the Rocky Mountains on an exhilarating day tour of Rocky Mountain National Park. Widely celebrated for its abundance of wildlife and awe-inspiring views, Rocky Mountain National Park will make you feel like you're on top of the world! On the journey back to your hotel, you'll get a chance to enjoy several photo opportunities during a leisurely break for rest and refreshments. (Overnight in Denver)

DAY 4            SALT LAKE CITY
Today you will travel on your own to the Amtrak station and board the California Zephyr to Salt Lake City. Many travelers say this route is one of the most beautiful train rides in all of North America. As you climb through the heart of the Rockies and west through magnificent snow-capped mountains, we just know you will find it hard to disagree. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the gorgeous scenery around you. (Overnight in Salt Lake City)

Your included roundtrip shuttle service will take you on a scenic drive to West Yellowstone. Check in to your included hotel and settle in for a good night’s rest. (Overnight in West Yellowstone)

Enjoy a full-day sightseeing tour of Yellowstone National Park’s wonders. Highlights of this informative and scenic tour include all the beautiful, popular sights that attract more than four million people from around the world each year. You may even encounter unexpected delights, such as a bison herd blocking the highway or a grizzly bear showing its cubs how to find food. Enjoy a leisurely lunch on your own at the Old Faithful Village. (Overnight in West Yellowstone)

Continue exploring Yellowstone National Park on your sightseeing tour and take in all the experiences and sights that you didn’t get to yesterday. Crowd-pleasing attractions may include the Old Faithful Geyser, Isa Lake on the Continental Divide, Hayden Valley, Upper and Lower Falls, Lamar Valley, Mammoth Hot Springs, and Lower Geyser Basin. (Overnight in West Yellowstone)

Transfer back to Salt Lake City on your included shuttle service and in the evening, enjoy dinner at The Roof Restaurant before traveling to the Amtrak station and board the California Zephyr for the overnight journey to San Francisco. (Overnight onboard Amtrak) D

DAY 9            SAN FRANCISCO
Arrive in the evening in San Francisco at the Emeryville station, where you will board your included motor coach transfer for a short trip across the bay to San Francisco. Upon your arrival in the festive “City by the Bay,” feel free to start exploring the area on your own. The famous Fisherman’s Wharf, which offers entertainment, shopping, and tasty local cuisine, is a great place to start. (Overnight in San Francisco)

Today you’ll spend the day taking in the beauty of one of America’s most iconic national landmarks, Yosemite National Park. But first, enjoy the panoramic views of the gorgeous San Francisco sunrise while crossing the Bay Bridge. The rest of your drive to Yosemite will offer stunning scenery as well, including the snow-capped Sierra Nevada Mountains. Once you reach this serene destination, you’ll have 2.5 hours to hike, shop, and sample the local cuisine in Yosemite Village. Arrive back at your hotel just in time for a spectacular San Francisco sunset.  (Overnight in San Francisco)  

Take advantage of your included Hop-On, Hop-Off sightseeing tour and get to know the gorgeous, bustling city of San Francisco! Visit Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf, SOMA District, Nob Hill West, Chinatown, the Filbert Street Steps, Haight-Ashbury, Golden Gate Park, and so much more. Then, embark on your included bay cruise. Featuring live narration describing all the major landmarks, incredible views of the city’s skyline and the Golden Gate Bridge, you’ll get to experience San Francisco from an entirely different perspective. (Overnight in San Francisco)

Continue using your Hop-On, Hop-Off sightseeing tour pass to check out all the sights and experience you didn’t get a chance to the day before. You’ll have plenty of time to explore since your train doesn’t depart for Seattle until the evening. Travel on your own to the Amtrak station and board the Coast Starlight for your overnight journey north to the “Emerald City.” (Overnight onboard Amtrak)

DAY 13          SEATTLE
Arrive to Seattle in the evening and check into your hotel. Perhaps you want to stroll down to the popular Pike’s Place Market, or enjoy the Seattle Waterfront. There is plenty to do and see in Seattle, and excitement for every type of traveler. (Overnight in Seattle)

You have the entire morning and early afternoon to continue exploring Seattle, maybe even making a stop at the Seattle Space Needle and taking advantage of your included admission. Travel to the King Street Station on your own and board the Amtrak Empire Builder for an overnight journey to the West Glacier Station. (Overnight onboard Amtrak)

In the morning, you’ll arrive in Glacier National Park with the entire day to explore on your own. Home to two different mountain ranges, 130 lakes, 1,000 species of plants, and 16,000 square miles of protected land, this national park is truly a sight to behold. Enjoy the mountain air and settle into the iconic Glacier Park Lodge for a good night's rest. (Overnight in Glacier National Park)

Today, you will continue exploring Glacier National Park on the Big Sky Circle Tour. Drive over the breathtaking Maria's Pass. Enjoy the local wildlife at Goat Lick. Venture along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, a windy-mountain thoroughfare that spans 50 miles through the park. After your tour, you'll return to Glacier Park Lodge for dinner and your final night's stay. (Overnight in Glacier National Park) B, D

After breakfast, you'll explore the serene sights of Glacier National Park on a scenic boat cruise of Two Medicine Valley. Enjoy a relaxing cruise while listening to the Blackfoot Indian folklore surrounding this gorgeous area. The Two Medicine Valley boat cruise will take your breath away! (Overnight in Glacier National Park) B

Enjoy breakfast in the morning and then board your train for the journey back to Chicago. Soak up the beautiful sights of the United States, such as the Moffat Tunnel, Glenwood Canyons, and Midwest plains. (Overnight onboard Amtrak) B



Legend for meals: B - Breakfast, BR - Brunch, L - Lunch, D - Dinner

Warwick Denver Hotel

Boasting an ideal location that connects Denver's vibrant downtown area with all the charm and attractions of the local Uptown Neighborhood, Warwick Denver offers a true urban refuge in the Mile High City. The Warwick Denver was originally built as the Governer's Court, and is still remembered by many for the Playboy Club, the first and only one in Colorado. This luxury downtown hotel features private balconies and oversized guest rooms and suites designed elegantly to reflect the outdoor spirit of the Rockies. The exclusive rooftop heated pool and bar offer captivating year round panoramic views of the Denver skyline and snowcapped Rocky Mountains.

The attention to detail makes this boutique hotel the ideal place for business and leisure travelers seeking genuine, warm and dedicated service. A stone's throw from the pedestrian 16th Street Mall, the State Capitol building, and the eclectic Union Station, the Warwick Denver is also in close proximity to the convention center, The Denver Art Museum Larimer Square, Coors Field and the Pepsi Center.

Glacier Park Lodge

Glacier Park Lodge was built almost a century ago by the Great Northern Railway. Located in East Glacier Park Village it is 3 miles outside of Glacier National Park. The Glacier Park Lodge's 161 guest rooms can accommodate over 500 people.

Embassy Suites by Hilton, Seattle Downtown Pioneer Square

Union Station is located just outside 1 minute walking distance. Hotel is located a block east for easy access to attractions like the Space Needle and Pike Place. Features a heated indoor pool, sun deck, cardio and weight equipment in the health centre. Enjoy free breakfast and our complimentary evening reception.

The Fairmont Olympic Hotel

One of the city’s most celebrated historic landmarks and a premier luxury hotel in Seattle, Fairmont Olympic Hotel is conveniently located in downtown Seattle, close to Pike Place Market and many local attractions.

Hyatt Place Seattle Downtown

Located just three blocks from the Space Needle, Chihuly Glass Museum, Monorail, the Pacific Science Center, and the Museum of Pop Culture (formerly EMP), Hyatt Place Seattle is conveniently located close to all major attractions. Complimentary 24/7 shuttle service to Pike Place Market, downtown shopping, and the waterfront! Complimentary hot breakfast buffet for all Amtrak guests. Complimentary shuttle service to Westlake Station for Link Light Rail service directly to Pioneer Square (5 minutes) and the Stadium Station (9 mins) for T-Mobile & CenturyLink Stadiums. Our Gallery menu has food and beverage options available 24/7 plus lots of amazing restaurants just a few steps away.

Warwick Seattle Hotel

Warwick Seattle is an elegant hotel located in downtown Seattle and within walking distance to most Seattle attractions such as the Seattle Center, home of the Seattle Space Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass, and MoPOP (formerly Experience Music Project), and the Seattle Opera, Pike Place Market, world-class shopping and a multitude of dining and entertainment options

Kimpton Alton Hotel (Formerly Holiday Inn Fishermans Wharf)

Of all San Francisco hotels, Holiday Inn San Francisco Hotel Fisherman's Wharf has one of the best locations, central to the Californian shopping capital. The hotel is in among the bars, cafes, and the vast number of specialty shops in Fisherman's Wharf. Hotels here, in the liveliest part of San Francisco, are right next to Chinatown, Pier 39 and the Cable Cars.

Hotel Zephyr

The Hotel Zephyr offers a one-of-a-kind hotel experience in the heart of the city's most iconic tourist attractions. Bringing a new dimension to Fisherman's Wharf by offering a twist on accommodations as well as a playful personality, our waterfront property features 361 stylish waterfront guest quarters, many with personal balconies

Park Central Hotel

Our newly re-imagined hotel elevates the standard of excellence in luxury hotels in San Francisco, while celebrating the timeless art of hospitality.

Little America Hotel SLC

Little America Hotel is conveniently located on 10 acres in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City, just 10 minutes from the Salt Lake International Airport. Nestled between the Wasatch and Oquirrh Mountain Ranges in the magnificent Salt Lake Valley, Little America is within walking distance from shopping, restaurants, cultural and sporting events, and is roughly 30-40 minutes from the major ski resorts. Other nearby attractions include historic Temple Square, the world-famous Great Salt Lake and national parks, forests, and monuments.

Radisson Hotel Salt Lake City Downtown

Discover Salt Lake City destinations in the downtown area surrounding the Radisson, from Capitol Theater and Temple Square to the Family History Library, Gateway Shopping Center and City Creek Shopping Center. SLC Airport is just a short commute thanks to the nearby Arena TRAX light rail station, and Hogle Zoo provides hours of entertainment for families.

Explorer Cabins at Yellowstone

Located in the heart of West Yellowstone, the new 50-cabin property provides a unique vacation experience. Enjoy stylish décor, upscale linen and your own private cabin. The kitchenettes allow for light cooking to enjoy a simple meal.

Gray Wolf Inn And Suites

The Gray Wolf Inn & Suites is conveniently located next to the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in West Yellowstone - the four-season getaway to Yellowstone National Park. Our free deluxe continental breakfast, included with every room, is served in the lobby adjacent to the signature Gray Wolf lobby fireplace. For dinner we recommend the The Oregon Short Line Restaurant, located two blocks away at the Holiday Inn West Yellowstone Hotel.

Holiday Inn West Yellowstone

If you're looking for the best Yellowstone National Park lodging close to the Park's West entrance, you've found it! The hotel is located is just three blocks from Yellowstone National Park. We're the premier destination for Yellowstone family vacations, memorable meetings and corporate retreats. All guest rooms and corridors were renovated in early 2014.

Yellowstone Park Hotel

Built in 2007 and featuring an attractive list of amenities and a AAA® Three-Diamond rating, the well-appointed, non-smoking Yellowstone Park Hotel has earned a loyal guest following. Best of all, it's located three blocks from the West Entrance to Yellowstone National Park and less than an hour's drive from the lower geyser basin and Old Faithful.

Select Your Departure Date

For more information or to make a reservation,
call our rail vacation experts at: 1-800-AMTRAK-2


Package prices are per person, double occupancy, tax included. Prices do not include rail from your hometown. Please call for pricing. Package prices are subject to change without notice, and all reservations are based upon availability at the time of booking. Amtrak travel is for Coach accommodations unless otherwise noted. Upgrades to Roomette or Bedroom accommodations on board Amtrak are available. Call for pricing. Other restrictions may apply. Activities referenced in the itinerary during free time are for suggested purposes only and are not included. Seasonal activity (if applicable): During the off-season, some tours may not be available. In this case, a similar tour will be substituted. Passports (if applicable): Passports are required when crossing the Canadian border. Amtrak and Amtrak Vacations are registered service marks of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation.

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