10 Best Fall Foliage Train Rides in North America

(Photo: The Mt. Washington Cog Railway)
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on September 21, 2013. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: Blue Ridge, Bryson City, destination, Durango, Essex, fall, Jamie Moore, Napa, New Hampshire, Peninsula, rail travel, Toronto, Utica, Williams.

(Photo: The Mt. Washington Cog Railway)

Hop aboard a train for leaf peeping this fall and leave the driving to someone else. These 10 affordable fall foliage train rides give terrific views of brilliant pockets of color throughout North America. So forget the GPS directions, the seat belt, and the gas gauge. Settle into a historic dining car with a glass of wine, or stake out a spot for you and your camera in an open-air car. Let the stress-free gawking begin.


Mt. Washington Cog Railway, Marshfield Station, New Hampshire

Every September in New Hampshire's White Mountains, fall-color predictions are the talk of coffee shops, and TripAdvisor buzzes with enthusiastic Mt. Washington Cog Railway posts about the view from the top of the Northeast's highest peak. This popular 144-year-old railway carries passengers via biodiesel engine or vintage steam engine with replica coaches up a three-mile-long trestle to the 6,288-foot summit. Here you'll see the surrounding national forest's brilliant hues from some of the steepest railroad tracks in North America (37 percent grade in one stretch).

The View: On the ride up, the landscape and foliage changes with the elevation. From the summit, you can take in panoramas of the mountains and valleys from New Hampshire to Vermont and, on clear days, as far as Maine and Canada.

Peak Color: Usually late September through the second week of October. Check the fall foliage report for the latest predictions.

Cost: $64 per adult for the three-hour excursion, with one hour at the summit.

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