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The scenic California Zephyr route is 2,438 miles long and boasts views of the upper Colorado River valley in the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

My Two Trips on the California Zephyr

Off to Yellowstone and the Grand Teton National Parks

by John Sweeney

Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania

Photo: James Belmont

After retiring in 2005, one of my goals was to see Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. I made reservations for my wife Barbara, my son Blake and myself. We left Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on the Keystone. We slept in two Roomettes which were very nice with a upper and lower berth.

After having had breakfast in the Dining Car, we arrived in Chicago Union Station and boarded the California Zephyr. My wife and I had a Superliner Bedroom and my son a Roomette. The Superliner Bedroom was very spacious and we both had great views of the massive cornfields of Illinois and Iowa.

We enjoyed our dinner in the Dining Car talking with our guests from England and retired to our bedroom waking up in Colorado.

After breakfast we went to the Sightseer Lounge and upper level window seats to view our wonderful 16-hour trip from Denver to Salt Lake City. The Zephyr wound its way up the spectacular Rocky Mountains so close to the edge that made you grip your seat arm. We followed the Colorado River west and were mooned by a group of boaters near Glenwood Springs while enjoying all the different colors of the canyons and the 15-minute trip through the Moffat Tunnel.

Photo: National Park Service

After lunch and dinner both in the Dining Car we arrived at Salt Lake City and spent the night in Salt Lake City. There we rented a car and saw the Mormon Tabernacle Church and the Great Salt Lake on way north to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons.

We stayed six days and returned to Salt Lake City for our trip back to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The trip was a great life experience and I made the same trip again in 2010 and saw the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas.

Amtrak is a wonderful way to travel — very relaxing, comfortable and safe. I will be going to Florida this year on Amtrak and will be getting the trip almost at no cost thanks to the Amtrak Guest Rewards program.