When it comes to fall foliage trips, there’s often no better way to see the autumnal colors than on a train. No one is having to navigate, drive, or sit in the middle seat of a car without a view of the window. You can just relax and enjoy the leaves as you trundle along to your destination. To help you plan your leaf-peeping trip this year, Amtrak is offering a whopping 50 percent off most of its routes this fall, with fares as low as $17.
Amtrak’s fall sale, which lasts through September 8, is good for travel between September 8 and November 18. (Leaves are expected to hit peak beauty in early to mid-October across most of the U.S. this year, according to Farmer’s Almanac.) You can get up to 50 percent off coach and Acela business fares, and the sale excludes trips on the Auto Train, Keystone Service, and Pennsylvanian between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. All other routes are fair game.
If you’re not sure where to start planning your trip, here are a few of our favorite fall-friendly rides. Traveler contributor Ali Wunderman took the Lake Shore Limited from Chicago to Boston last fall, traversing some of New York’s best foliage, and tacked on a day trip on the The Downeaster, which follows a 3.5-hour route through some of the Northeast’s best foliage, ending in Brunswick, Maine. The Vermonter, which travels from Washington, D.C., to St. Albans, Vermont, also offers stunning leaf views. But the East Coast isn’t the only region with awe-inspiring fall foliage. The California Zephyr will take you on a tour of the the Rocky Mountains, crossing Colorado with stops in Denver, Glenwood Springs, and Grand Junction. And the Coast Starlight, which goes from Seattle to Los Angeles, is a great way to see Oregon’s Willamette Valley in the fall.
But the sale isn’t limited to sightseeing routes. If you’re looking for an urban adventure—or are traveling for work or to see family—you can find amazing deals between many of the country’s major cities. Fares on routes between Chicago and Washington, D.C., are as low as $53, Acela high-speed trains are as low as $38 between New York and Philadelphia (coach fares as low as $17), and fares from Portland, Oregon, to Seattle (on the aforementioned Coast Starlight) are as low as $18.
To book, all you have to do is search for discounted fares using Amtrak’s sale site. If your plans change, know that Amtrak has waived all change fees through late January 2022, so you’ll have added flexibility.