These train rides in the US offer unique opportunities for spotting fall foliage.

1. Georgetown Loop Railroad

Georgetown Loop Train Fall Season
Georgetown Loop train crossing bridge; Photo: Georgetown Loop

Originally built to connect the mining towns of Georgetown and Silver Plume, the historic Georgetown Loop Railroad takes passengers through a steep, narrow, and scenic canyon. Located approximately 45 minutes outside of Denver, it travels across four bridges and winds up more than 600 feet of elevation. In addition to allowing travelers some spectacular views of the area’s fall foliage, the railway offers seasonal promotions such as “Autumnfest,” which includes free beer samples from local breweries.

2. Blue Ridge Scenic Railway

The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway route begins in downtown Blue Ridge, Georgia, and takes travelers on a 26-mile round-trip journey along the Toccoa River through the northern George countryside. Lasting approximately four hours, the journey begins with a one-hour trip to McCaysville, Georgia, and Copperhill, Tennessee. There is a two-hour stop where travelers can explore before the one-hour return trip through a colorful forest back to Blue Ridge. An added benefit of this particular trip is that it offers travelers the choice between traditional closed cars (featuring large picture windows) and open-air cars for riders who want to breathe in the refreshing mountain air along the journey.

3. The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad Fall
Cumbres & Toltec Scenic railroad fall foliage; Photo: Cumbres & Toltec

Journey through the lush forests and high plains of Colorado and New Mexico with the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. This is one of the country’s highest train lines, reaching 10,015 feet as it moves through Cumbres Pass. The trip maneuvers 64 miles from Antonio, Colorado, to Chama, New Mexico. Travelers have the option of taking a one-way journey along the entire line or a “half limited” voyage, which is round-trip from either terminus to the midpoint station in Osier, Colorado. Throughout the trip, the train crosses state borders 11 times while moving along canyon walls, plains filled with wildflowers, a rocky gorge, and through two tunnels.

4. The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway

Train Rides Fall Foliage Pikes Peak Cog Wikipedia:Milan Suvajac
Fall train ride Pikes Peak Cog; Photo: Wikipedia/Milan Suvajac

The world’s highest and longest cog railroad, this historic route has been in operation since 1891. The journey is three and a half hours round-trip and culminates at the 14,115-foot summit of Pikes Peak or “America’s Mountain”. Many of the colorful trees that passengers can spot along the journey are Bristol pines, some of the oldest living trees. It’s estimated that some of the Bristol pines on Peaks Pike are approximately 2,000 years old. The nine-mile adventure includes sweeping 360-degree views of the beautiful and colorful scenery.

5. Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad
Cuyahoga Valley fall train rides; Photo: Cuyahoga Valley

Approximately half an hour outside of Cleveland, this railroad takes travelers through Cuyahoga Valley, Ohio’s only National Park. In operation since 1880, this route includes colorful views of the changing oaks, buckeyes, and maples that grow in the area. An added bonus to this route is that travelers have the option of booking a ticket in one of the line’s “Dome Cars”, which include large windows that stretch from the floor level all the way to the midpoint of the roof. This allows passengers a sweeping view of the colorful scenery from a variety of angles along this leisurely 30 mph, two-hour journey.