Train travel can be a real snooze-fest. I know I can only watch so many mountains/fields/trees/plains go by before the novelty starts to wear off and I’m headed to the bar car. Sure, the scenery is beautiful, but when you have no idea what you are looking at, it gets old quickly. Unless you are traveling on one of Amtrak’s Trails &Rails routes.
The program isn’t new – actually it’s been around for nearly a decade – but we’ve never heard of it. And it sounds pretty darn cool. On certain routes (of which there are currently 12), volunteers and rangers from the National Park Service board the train and provide a running commentary on the view. They’ll give you the scoop on important historical happenings, interesting anecdotes on the region, and let you know just what you are seeing flash by your window. They also give you advance notice on any upcoming photo ops along the way.
There’s no extra cost for routes that participate in the program. Just book your tickets as usual and check the route details to find out where and when the tour guides begin their presentations. Routes that offer the service run through states like New York, Mississippi, Illinois, California, Texas, Montana, and Washington, so no matter what corner of the country your train travels take you to, you can ride along with your own informative and entertaining tour guide.