California Zephyr in Utah

16 Day Sample itinerary

California Zephyr Suggested Rail Journey

A journey through the landscapes

We love talking holidays and we're here to help. If you'd like our advice on how to create an amazing Chicago holiday, just give our Destination Specialists a call.

Many people claim the best way to see and appreciate the stunning views that North America has to offer is by rail - and we don't disagree. After a few nights spent in Chicago, board the California Zephyr and head west to thriving San Francsico, taking in the stunning yet contrasting landscapes along the way. Climb through the heart of the Rocky Mountains, stare at the deserted plains of Nebraska and journey through the Sierra Nevada mountain range. We recommend taking in the natural surroundings and city stops along the way. Make your first stop Denver, nicknamed "The Mile High City", spend two nights exploring the city or take to the slopes at one of the many ski resorts dotted across the nearby mountains.

Jump back on the train and head to Salt Lake City, a city surrounded by natural beauty. Hike around Great Salt Lake, or hire a motorhome giving you the perfect opportunity to explore Utah's Mighty Five®. Use five nights to make the most of this scenic region of dramatic landscapes, visit Canyonlands National Park or Bryce Canyon National Park to name a couple and marvel at ancient rock formations whilst driving along open highways. Hop back on the California Zephyr and head further west overnight from Salt Lake City and arrive in Emeryville late afternoon before making your way to San Francisco. Cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge, head to Wine Country and dine in the city's Chinatown district - we recommend spending a further three nights in San Francisco to ensure you see as much as you can. 

Our Experts Recommend:
  • Try 'TILT' at Chicago 360 for a thrilling way to take in the Chicago skyline
  • Upgrade to a Superliner Bedroom on your Amtrak train for additional comfort
  • Book the Early Bird Special for your motorhome for hotel pick-ups and beat the queues
  • Hire a car and explore San Francisco's surrounding wine regions

Sample Itinerary Summary

Not quite your cup of tea? Our Destination Specialists can tailor any part of this itinerary or create one from scratch just for you.

Duration
16 days
Destination Breakdown
Options
Self-Guided
  • Chicago

    Itinerary Highlights

    • Enjoy panoramic city views from the Chicago 360 and try its daring 'TILT' feature
    • Hit the shops on the city's famous 'Magnificent Mile'
    • Take a Spirit Dinner Cruise on Lake Michigan for a front row seat of the Navy Pier fireworks
    • No visit to Chicago would be complete without sampling some delicious deep dish pizza
  • Denver

    Itinerary Highlights

    • Stroll through Larimer Square, boasting 19th century landmarks including Denver Art Museum
    • Admire the snow-capped peaks of the Rockies as the backdrop to this city
    • Head to one of the many ski resorts dotted across the Rocky Mountains
    • Learn the historic tales of the city at Colorado State Capitol
  • Salt Lake City

    Itinerary Highlights

    • Head to Temple Square and admire the Mormon Center
    • Watch the sunset over Great Salt Lake
    • Hire a car and head out of the city to explore Utah's Mighty Five® National Parks
    • Admire the natural beauty of Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park
  • San Francisco

    Itinerary Highlights

    • Hit Fisherman's Wharf and try clam chowder
    • Visit the infamous Alcatraz Prison come nightfall for a different experience
    • Head to Napa Valley and Wine Country
    • Stroll through Chinatown and Japanese Tea Gardens