Our Bucket List Adventure: Day 3 Morning

April 14, 2016

While this is the 3rd day of our entire adventure, it was the second day on the Amtrak California Zephyr train. And it was fantastic! We traveled through the Rockies and Sierra Nevada Mountains, and I took almost 700 pictures in one day.

Of course, some of them got deleted in a hurry. Telephone poles and trees have a way of popping up just as you snap the shutter!

Although the entire trip was wonderful, this was my favorite day on the train as I’d never seen either mountain range.

Why Choose The California Zephyr?

For those of you wondering how we came to pick this particular trip, I did a search for the best train rides in the United States to see what was available.  National Geographic had an article on the ten best trips and this one caught my eye.  You can see the route here:

California-Zephyr-routeAll the little red markers are places the train stops, though sometimes very briefly!

This is the description of the trip from National Geographic’s website:

This Amtrak route travels 2,438 miles through seven states, an echo of the epic journey pioneers took to settle the American West. “You follow the emigrant trails west, and cross the Continental Divide via the 6.2-mile-long Moffat Tunnel, longest in the U.S.,” says model railroader and Western history buff John Vorhes. The Zephyr follows the canyons of the Colorado River down the western slope of the Rockies, crosses the deserts of Utah and Nevada, traverses the Donner Pass in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and ends up in the lowlands of the California Central Valley. Noteworthy: Passengers look down on the mile-high city of Denver from the railbed above; California State Railroad Museum docents give talks in the lounge car; the train winds through oil-painting-like colored cliffs at Ruby Canyon, where eagles ride the thermals.

That all sounded pretty cool to us, and turns out it most certainly was! 🙂

As I mentioned in my previous post, we traveled through Nebraska during the night so didn’t see much of it. We started off our morning in Denver, Colorado. This was 1,048 miles into our trip. That morning we also went through:

  • South Boulder Canyon (home to Roosevelt National Forest),
  • Gross Dam and Reservoir, which supplies water to Denver,
  • Moffat Tunnel (6.2 miles long and you cross the Continental Divide inside it),
  • Fraser and Winter Park Ski Resort, and
  • Granby, Colorado at 1,113 miles into our trip.

And of course, that includes going through the Rocky Mountains! Here’s the pictures I took while going through those places. You can mouse-over the smaller pics to see a caption, or you can click on one of the pics to start a slide show with bigger pictures:

Sign me up to go back to the Rocky Mountains anytime!

Leave a Comment: