On the Amtrak Cascades train route between Eugene/Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver, British Columbia, the scenery is non-stop gorgeous, highlighted with emerald greens and sapphire blues. In Portland, the "City of Roses," your trip begins with Oregon's tallest mountain to your west. Volcanic Mount Hood is especially picturesque when it's blanketed in snow. The Amtrak Cascades crosses the Columbia River 10 miles north of Portland, prior to Vancouver, Washington.
As you travel through southern Washington, take in gently rolling hills, farms and small towns, with occasional glimpses of the river. Farther along, expect to be charmed by Tacoma's waterfront overlooking the bay. From this point on, Puget Sound dazzles passengers with its deep blue waters as the train closely follows the shoreline. Heading north, keep your binoculars handy because you may be able to catch a glimpse of a bald eagle soaring proudly above the Douglas fir trees, or whales surfacing in the Sound.
When you reach Seattle, you will encounter a breathtaking vista of the Olympic Mountains to the west across Puget Sound. Midway between Seattle and Vancouver, the beautiful San Juan Islands are scattered across the northern reaches of the Sound. Sailboats, ferries and fishing boats complete the postcard perfect picture.
The Cascade Mountains extend north, and as you traverse this land of lush evergreen forests, snowy, volcanic Mount Baker will appear to the east in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
Passing through the quaint, small towns north of Seattle, you'll have plenty to see. Everett offers a lively waterfront and a historic downtown. Bellingham is perched on the bluffs of a beautiful bay. And upon arriving in Vancouver, you will be taken aback by the delightful waterfront city with its vast parkland. So settle into your comfortable seat and enjoy the impressive panoramas of the Pacific Northwest — many of which you simply cannot view by car.