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Golden West Rail Ramble - 2018

  • Golden West Rail Ramble - 2018
  • Golden West Rail Ramble - 2018
  • Golden West Rail Ramble - 2018
  • Golden West Rail Ramble - 2018
  • Golden West Rail Ramble - 2018

Trip Itinerary

Day 1: Depart Chicago

Golden West Rail Ramble tour members will meet our Tour Director in the Metropolitan Lounge of Chicago’s Union Station. We’ll board the famous California Zephyr in time for its 2:00 p.m. departure. The Zephyr features double-decker Superliner equipment. Relax in your comfortable Roomette sleeping accommodations. Bedrooms are available at an additional cost. After settling in you may want to go to the glass-walled Sightseer Lounge. Enjoy a sumptuous, full-course dinner in the dining car. All meals are included on the Zephyr. 

Meal(s):  D

Day 2: Colorado Rockies

The Zephyr will depart Denver this morning and begin its climb over the Front Range of the awesome Colorado Rockies. Throughout the day the train will wind around sharp mountain curves and through numerous tunnels. You’ll look down at fast-flowing streams winding through valleys far below. The breathtaking mountain vistas will continue until late afternoon. 

Meal(s):  B, L & D

Day 3: En Route / San Francisco

During the night you crossed the dry, sparsely populated Nevada countryside. Today’s spectacular scenery will rival that experienced yesterday as the Zephyr ascends the Sierra Nevada mountains through the infamous Donner Pass. From rugged terrain and pine trees to lush greenery and palm trees . . . in just three hours.

Our arrival in Emeryville is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. Then it is on to the famous “City by the Bay”. Our home for three nights in San Francisco is the attractive Holiday Inn Fisherman’s Wharf.
With its picturesque sights and pungent smells, Fisherman’s Wharf attracts millions of visitors annually. You’ll have time to discover the excellent restaurants, markets, import houses and souvenir shops. 

Meal(s):  B & L

Day 4: San Francisco

This morning we’ll embark on a three-and-a-half hour sightseeing tour of San Francisco, including Chinatown, Golden Gate Park, Jackson Square, the Mission District, Telegraph Hill, the Presidio and Fisherman’s Wharf. Our tour will end at the world-renowned Fisherman’s Wharf. 

Following the tour you’re free to ride a cable car or just wander through the great shops and galleries.

Day 5: Napa Valley Wine Train

This morning we’ll board a comfortable motorcoach and travel eastward across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and head north into the famous California wine country. Our destination is Napa where, for a few hours, we’ll return to the gracious era of elegant rail travel and distinguished service. The rail cars that make up the Wine Train have been meticulously restored to their original splendor.

The Lounge and Wine Tasting cars are resplendent in polished mahogany, brass and etched glass. You’ll savor hors d’oeuvres chosen to enhance the Wine Train’s own selection of the finest Napa Valley wines. 

Later you’ll be ushered into the 1917 Pullman Dining Car. While the train rolls slowly past many of the valley’s 50+ vineyards and wineries, you’ll enjoy a three-course gourmet lunch. At mid afternoon our travelers will return to San Francisco for a final night. 

Meal(s):  L

Day 6: Monterey

Our travelers will check out of the hotel this morning and travel by motorcoach south about 80 miles to Felton. At 11:00 a.m. we’ll board the historic Roaring Camp & Big Trees Narrow Gauge Railroad for a spectacular six-mile ride through a magnificent stand of tall California redwood trees. We’ll enjoy a picnic lunch (included).

We’ll continue to picturesque Monterey. This charming resort community is one of the most scenic locations on the Pacific Coast. 

Late this afternoon, we’ll visit historic Cannery Row, which was once a raucous industrial street famous for canning sardines and for the haunts of characters in John Steinbeck’s 1945 novel, “Cannery Row.”  There are many shopping opportunities and restaurants . . . all within walking distance. You will have time for an “on-your-own” dinner before transferring to our hotel, the Portola Plaza Hotel and Spa. 

Meal(s):  L

Day 7: Cambria

We’ll strike out this morning on a sightseeing tour of the Monterey area. The high point will be the scenic, 17-Mile Drive from Pacific Grove to Carmel. Points of interest along the way include Seal Rock and Cypress Point. You’ll also see Pebble Beach and other golf courses made famous as the site of the annual Bing Crosby golf tournament. Following an “on-your-own” lunch stop, we’ll travel south to Cambria. Our home this evening is The FogCatcher Inn. The Tour Director will host dinner tonight. 

Meal(s):  D

Day 8: Hearst Castle

Following breakfast (included) we’ll transfer to one of California’s major attractions and a high point of our tour, the famous Hearst Castle. You’ll see the Castle greenhouses and 123 acres of the estate of the late publishing czar William Randolph Hearst. The main residence is a huge Hispano-Moorish building called La Casa Grande, where millions of dollars worth of the Hearst art collection and antiques are displayed. The landscaped gardens are decorated with pools, fountains and statuary. We’ll take an hour-and-a-half walking tour of this magnificent complex.

We’ll reboard our motorcoach and continue south another 150 miles to Santa Barbara. Upon arrival in Santa Barbara we’ll embark on an hour-and-a-half sightseeing tour that includes the famed Courthouse with its massive murals.

At 4:12 p.m., we’ll board an Amtrak Pacific Surfliner train for the final 103 miles to Los Angeles. On the train you’ll see more of the beautiful Pacific coastline before we enter the sprawling San Fernando Valley. 

Our arrival into the beautiful Los Angeles Union Station is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. Upon arrival we’ll enjoy dinner at the critically acclaimed Traxx Restaurant (included). 

Following dinner we’ll transfer to the Crowne Plaza LA Harbor, our home for the next two nights. 

Meal(s):   B & D

Day 9: Catalina Island

Breakfast is included this morning and tomorrow. 

It takes a little more than an hour to cover the 22 miles from Long Beach to Avalon on Catalina Island in a modern express boat. 

Upon arrival, we will enjoy a tour of Avalon City. Following an on-your-own lunch we will set off on a glass-bottom boat tour.

We’ll return to the mainland late this afternoon. 

Meal(s):  B

Day 10: Los Angeles

Today’s sightseeing tour includes many famous attractions such as Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and Hollywood’s Walk of Fame where you see the hand and foot prints of the stars! We’ll visit the Hollywood & Highland Center home of the TCL Chinese Theatre (formerly Grauman’s and Mann’s Chinese Theatres) and the Dolby Theatre (formerly Kodak Theatre), home of the Academy Awards. We’ll enjoy an “on-your-own” lunch at the Farmers Market with a variety of food, fresh fruit and baked goods as well as post cards and souvenirs.

After the tour we’ll continue to Los Angeles Union Station where we’ll board Amtrak’s Southwest Chief for the 6:10 p.m. departure for Chicago. 

You’ll again enjoy private sleeping accommodations, all the train meals and other amenities experienced on your westbound train. Count on dinner after departure. 

Meal(s):  B & D

Day 11: En Route

You’ll want to take advantage of the fascinating scenery of Arizona and New Mexico our train will pass through during the day. The Sightseer Lounge is the best vantage point. 

Meal(s):  B, L & D

Day 12: En Route to Chicago

The Southwest Chief is scheduled to arrive in Chicago at 3:15 p.m. Some members will change to trains bound for Midwest, Eastern and Southern home cities. Others will stay overnight and fly home tomorrow. 

Meal(s):  B & L

12 Days

Wed., Sept. 5 to Sun., Sept. 16, 2018

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California », About Rail Travel »

San Francisco
Napa Valley Wine Train
Monterey
Cambria
Hearst Castle
Santa Barbara
Catalina Island
Los Angeles

Tour Highlights

  • 4900 miles of relaxed, comfortable travel on double-decker Amtrak Superliners…westbound through the majestic Colorado Rockies and eastbound through the rugged highlands of Arizona and New Mexico.
  • An elegant multi-course lunch while meandering on a train ride through the Napa Valley vineyards will be a high point of this awesome California adventure.
  • Board the historic Roaring Camp & Big Trees Narrow Gauge Railroad train for a scenic ride through the magnificent redwood trees.
  • We’ll travel the scenic 17-Mile Drive from Pacific Grove to Carmel on the Monterey Peninsula.
  • You’ll find the tour of luxurious Hearst Castle to be an unbelievable experience. It’s one of California’s major attractions.
  • Sightseeing tour of beautiful Santa Barbara including its famous courthouse.
  • “26 Miles Across The Sea . . . Santa Catalina is the place to be”. The Four Preps aptly describe this island paradise where you’ll spend a memorable day. Its beauty is breathtaking. You’ll enjoy the Avalon City Tour and glass-bottom boat tour.
  • We’ll cover Los Angeles from Hollywood’s famous Sunset Boulevard to downtown’s Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Visit Chinatown, Griffith Park and historic Olvera Street.

Tour Package

  • Round-trip transportation by rail departing from and returning to Chicago.
  • Private Roomette sleeping accommodations on the train for four nights.
  • First-class hotel accommodations for seven nights.
  • 19 meals.
  • Extensive sightseeing including San Francisco, Monterey, Hearst Castle, Santa Barbara, Catalina Island and Los Angeles.
  • Baggage handling, taxes & tips.
  • Services of a professional America by Rail Tour Director.

Tour Pricing

$3,995 - 12 Days
Upgrade: Bedroom + $995

Single $5,795

FLY OPTION - Fly to San Francisco and return from Los Angeles. 8 Days 
Price: $2,895
Single: $3,895

America by Rail will be happy to arrange your flights. Airfare is not included in above price.

All prices are per person/double occupancy unless otherwise stated.

About The Train

View The Superliner 3D Tour, More Amtrak Train Information

Additional Tour Information

More Photos

  • Golden West Rail Ramble - 2018
  • Golden West Rail Ramble - 2018
  • Golden West Rail Ramble - 2018
  • Golden West Rail Ramble - 2018
  • Golden West Rail Ramble - 2018

Discover “The Best Way to See America”. Train trips offer the finest views of exciting destinations throughout North America. Combine that with the fun you’ll experience on a group train trip vacation and you’ll understand why these tours are so popular!

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