Through Zephyr’s picture window

California Zephyr's scenic route

If Amtrak swears that a trip on the California Zephyr is a journey through one of the most picturesque train routes in North America, they really seam to mean it. The pictures in this photo-feature will prove just that — that this is indeed a ‘scenic route’.

In the 32 hours aboard California Zephyr that transported me from Emeryville in California to Denver in Colorado, I couldn’t stop taking pictures of the myriad landscapes that this train showed me. This scenic route included bays and mountains, plains and canyons. And since it was Autumn, it threw in some Fall colour and some snow in the Sierras, too.  It didn’t seem fair not to share these sights so here’s a part of what I saw through Zephyr’s picture windows:

California Zephyr's scenic route - Suisun Bay
World War II ships (Mothball Fleet) kept afloat, just in case of another war.
Suison Bay on the way to Sacramento, California
Great Central Valley from California Zephyr's scenic route
The Great Central Valley, California.
California's Central Valley from California Zephyr's scenic route
Also from the Great Central Valley. The Yolo Basin’ around here is said to produce a billion pounds of rice every year.
Sierras from California Zephyr's scenic route
Some fall colour and Coniferous trees on the Sierra Nevada Range. This part is on the California side.
Sierra Nevada on California Zephyr's scenic route
Some snow near Truckee, California
Fall colour from California Zephyr's scenic route
Reno, Nevada.
Sunset sky from California Zephyr's scenic route
End of day 1 on the train. A Nevada sunset.
Utah's Desert area from California Zephyr's scenic route
Desert lands of Utah
Utah's rocky landscape from California Zephyr's scenic route
Ruby Canyon, Utah.
Ruby Canyon from California Zephyr's scenic route
Ruby Canyon, Utah.
Utah's rocky desertland from California Zephyr's scenic route
National Monument, Colorado. The National monument is a series of canyons near Grand Junction, Colorado.
Colorado River from California Zephyr's scenic route
Glenwood Springs, Colorado.
Glenwood Canyon from California Zephyr's scenic route
Colorado River flowing through Glenwood Canyon.
Gore Canyon from California Zephyr's scenic route
Gore Canyon. This place is famous for rafting.
Colorado landscapes from California Zephyr's scenic route
Land formation of a darker colour, some place between Gore Canyon and Granby, Colorado.
Granby, CO from California Zephyr's scenic route
A red hill in Granby, Colorado.
Fraser Canyon from California Zephyr's scenic route
Fraser Canyon, Colorado
Fraser Winter Park from California Zephyr's scenic route
Passengers taking a smoking break at (Fraser) Winter Park.
Winter Park ski resort from California Zephyr's scenic route
Winter Park Ski Resort near the 6.2 mile Moffat Tunnel.
South Boulder Canyon from California Zephyr's scenic route
Twilight near South Boulder Canyon.
Gross Reservoir from California Zephyr's scenic route
Gross Reservoir – where the city of Denver gets its water from.
Plainveiw? from California Zephyr's scenic route
Bad Picture, but this might be Plainview, which is said to offer a view of Denver some 1500 ft below.

You might want to go through:

Previous post – Aboard the California Zephyr
From National Geographic – Top 10 North American Train Trips
Amtrak: California Zephyr

Also read Siddhartha Joshi’s post  – A train ride to remember on The Wanderer

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  1. Beautiful landscapes all around. Thank you for sharing these wondrous sights

  2. OMG! You are living my dream 🙂 I love seeing what i missed through yours pics! Cant get enough of them.

    • I wish you'd gotten to do this. There's nothing quite like this journey. I'm so glad that I had the opportunity to see all this and share these pictures with all of you. I'm so happy that you like the scenes, Meoww. Which part of the US were you in?

  3. Each picture is a tapestry in color! Thank you for taking us on this trip by California Zephyr, Divya:)

  4. Beautiful pics, well shot, loved the Nevada sunset.

  5. Wow!! What landscapes…Magnificent. This is a must-do train ride. Awesome captures Divya. You must have been busy clicking and gaping at the landscapes throughout the journey. 🙂

    • Yeah Niranjan, there was a lot to see. I didn't have my fill despite being on that train for two days. I wonder what I missed in those places we passed during the night. 🙁
      I did take a whole lot of pictures. But there were stretches where I put my camera aside and just took in the scenery. 🙂

  6. Such a nice place…. Wonderfully captured…..

  7. Stunning sights, Divya! A kaleidoscope of myriad shades, colors and hues. Its amazing how much we can see and savor on a train ride, its an experience to look out of the window and take things in while on the move.

  8. Beautiful to look at! thanks for sharing Divya!

  9. Hard to believe they are shot from behind the windows. Beautiful, beautiful pictures! It truly honours the name 'Zephyr'!

  10. Hi DN

    It must have been an awesome experience – America has fabulous vistas and your pictures brought some of it to me.

    Enjoyed your pictorial travelogue.

    • It really was, Mr. Menon. From this trip I learned that this is a great way to see America considering the different kinds of landscapes we rode through. So what if it took us longer to get to our destination, the journey itself was one-of-a-kind. 🙂
      I'm so glad you like this post. Thank you so much.

  11. Just amazing pics.. .and considering they were taken from train it makes them even more beautiful…

    • The USP of this train is that it travels through one of the most scenic routes and — this is what it looks like. I swear, this a wonderful way to see the US. 🙂
      Thank you Desi Traveler.

  12. wow wow wowow.. I am gate crashing your home , and psetering you to take me to this please he he he hee

    jokes apart beautiful pictures loved each one of them


  13. That's some beautiful vistas D. Its mouth watering to say the least. I sure will one day take this train ride.

  14. Really stunning and beautiful, all the pics. You always find some of the most beautiful landscapes while you are traveling on a train, be it any part of the world. 🙂

  15. Great landscapes captured on the way, amazing variety.

  16. Awesome shots!! especially loved sunset picture!

  17. Amazing sunset photos, Divya!

  18. wow! excellent capture…

    photos of sunsets are very beautiful


  19. I love all your photos keep on sharing! I'm your new follower , visiting back from Travel Quest.

  20. I think the fact that all the photos were shot from behind the windows made it even more special. You also take the reader for a ride with you. Excellent job.

  21. Really great shots, Divya! Breathtaking……What camera do you use???
    Thanks for sharing.:)

  22. Great shots. Thanks for your comment on my blog.

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  24. This is a fascinating train journey that you experienced Divya. Train journeys are still special only because of the landscapes and cityscapes you get to see through the window and this was a feast for your camera. I am so glad that you took this journey other than flying to Denver which is the easiest one and everyone does. Looking forward to many more of your train journeys.


    • It was a trip like no other, Arnab. It was worth all those hours as opposed to air travel. They'd given us copies of the route guide that let us keep track of which places we were passing through and all of that. That was a good thing.
      They also had an observation car with really big glass windows. It was awesome to sit there and take in the surroundings. The lounge and dining area was also on level 2 so the scenes were great from there too. 🙂

      I hope I get to see more of America, this way. 🙂

  25. Divya, these train ride series are awesome. I had read them long while ago, but somehow, I was not able to tell how much they are inspiring me to take up the riede immediately. I had been from DC to Indiana in a train and while it's not the most scenic one among the train rides Amtrak offers, but it surely covered amazing scenes from Pennsylvania and West Virginia. I wish I had saved those photographs to write a post like this. But like I said, I am so inspired to take up a train ride afetr reading your post. Thank you for sharing! Keep travelling 🙂

    • Oh :(. I wish you had those photographs. I would have loved to the places you to to travel through.
      Cool! I'm looking forward to pics from your next train trip, ok Raji. :)And your photographs are simply great so it'll be such a treat.

      Btw, where's the Hawaii post??

  26. Wow! That sure is one awesome ride. Its a train ride desired to please the tourists rather than just being a means of transportation from Point A to Point B.

    • You're so right. It's not just a means of transportation from A to B. It's only the people who want to see the sights between A and B, who'd take this train, coz it seems to cost just as much as the flight tickets and it's more time consuming.

      So yeah — it's for people like us. :).
      Isn't it something?

  27. Splendid post with awesome picture gallery. such a amazing place to visit and to do the adventure activities.

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