California Zephyr

Chicago - Omaha - Denver - Salt Lake City - Oakland (San Francisco)
51 hours 20 minutes
Daily
Experienced travelers say the California Zephyr is one of the most beautiful train trips in all of North America. As you climb through the heart of the Rockies, and further west through the snow-capped Sierra Nevadas, you may find it hard to disagree. The Zephyr runs daily between Chicago and San Francisco, coursing through the plains of Nebraska to Denver, across the Rockies to Salt Lake City, and then through Reno and Sacramento into Emeryville/San Francisco. Connections in to San Francisco and Oakland stations via Thruway Bus Service at Emeryville, California.

Scenic highlights include: Rocky Mountains, Sierra Nevadas, Moffat Tunnel, Colorado's Gore, Byers and Glenwood Canyons, Winter Park, Truckee River, Donner Lake, San Pablo Bay and the Carquinez Strait.

Glide past — not above — amber waves of grain. Climb the magnificent Rockies and Sierra Nevadas and witness the power of the raging Colorado River. Cross the Continental Divide, travel through tunnels and canyons. Marvel at the vivid hues of Utah’s deserts. There is simply no better way to experience the true majesty of America than from the ground up on Amtrak.
“The mountains are calling and I must go.” — John Muir

Features & Amenities

  • Route Highlights

    Chicago, Illinois

    From the grandeur of Grant Park’s Buckingham Fountain to iconic museums and skyscrapers, see for yourself why Chicago was once dubbed “Paris on the Prairie.”
    Engage in retail therapy on the Magnificent Mile or root for the home team within the comfortable confines of famed Wrigley Field. Chicago will satisfy whatever you hunger for, from hot dogs and deep dish pizza to culture and comedy.
  • Route Highlights

    Denver, Colorado

    Experience high-altitude adventure in the Mile High City. Explore the city’s 85 miles of bike trails or, if downhill is your thing, check out the 143 trails at nearby Winter Park Ski Resort. Grab a bite in historic Larimer Square where the gold rush took off before discovering your own gold rush with a tour of some of the city’s 50 microbreweries.
  • Route Highlights

    Salt Lake City, Utah

    Explore the beautiful gardens and fountains of Temple Square, a three-block plaza anchored by the towering Salt Lake Temple.
    Then head for the hills where winter or summer, extreme adventure awaits on the Comet Bobsled Sliding Track at Olympic Park. If taking curves at 60 mph isn’t for you, Great Salt Lake, the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi, beckons for hiking, swimming and picnicking.
  • Route Highlights

    San Francisco, California

    Soak up San Fran’s eclectic energy with a cable car ride for dim sum in Chinatown followed by chocolate in Ghirardelli Square.
    Laugh at the sea lions at Pier 39 and enjoy Golden Gate Park’s world-class museums and seasonal festivals. Then cross the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and swap the city’s vitality for the tranquility of Muir Woods, where giant redwood forests give way to Pacific lagoons and beaches.

Trails & Rails - Heritage Appreciation Onboard

An innovative partnership program between the National Park Service and Amtrak, the Trails & Rails program provides Amtrak passengers with educational opportunities to foster an appreciation of a selected region's natural and cultural heritage and renews the long tradition of associating railroads with National Parks.
The California Zephyr has an onboard Trails & Rails program operating from Denver, Colorado to Grand Junction, Colorado and on the return route between these two Colorado cities.

Train Stations Served by the California Zephyr