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Amtrak's Scenic West Coast Routes

Two Amtrak routes deliver stunning views along the West Coast.

Amtrak train, image
Photo caption
Amtrak zips along on the rails at speeds up to 150 mph.

The plane trip from San Diego to Seattle takes less than three hours, but a trip by rail on Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner and Coast Starlight lines reveals what a flight never can: just how vast, various, and lovely this stretch of country really is. The Pacific Surfliner hugs the Southern California coast, offering views of sea lions, surf, and sand. The Coast Starlight, which leaves from Los Angeles, serves up ocean views, then swings east for inland scenery—from Central California’s gray-green artichoke fields to the snowcapped behemoth of Mount Shasta and the thickly forested Cascades—before arriving at Seattle’s 1906 King Street Station.

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Photography courtesy of Amtrak

This article was first published in March 2013. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.