Chicago-St. Paul/Minneapolis-Milwaukee-Spokane-Portland/Seattle (Empire Builder)


Boasting all the rugged splendor for which the American northwest is famed, the Empire Builder travels the northern-most rail route of the USA, tracing much of the original trail pioneered by Lewis and Clark. Between its historic significance and the distinctive beauty of the landscape across eight states, it can be no surprise that the Empire Builder is one of the most popular trains in Amtrak’s stable, welcoming around 470,000 passengers every year.

First established in 1929, the route journeys through the striking wildernesses of the western uplands of Wisconsin, speeds along the great Mississippi River, and past the placid lakes of Minnesota, then crosses the Great Plains of North Dakota and over the iconic Gassman Coulee Trestle bridge.

Absorb the striking scenery of Big Sky Country in Montana, and be in awe of the landscape Glacier National Park before finally meeting the Cascades of Washington State.


While your adventure starts at Chicago, there are two possible destinations, with the route splitting at Spokane, Washington, to continue west to Seattle or veer southwest, down the Columbia River Gorge to Portland, Oregon.

Covering a total distance of 3,550 kilometres (2,206mi) to Seattle, or 3,632 kilometres (2,257 mi) to Portland, passengers can enjoy panoramic views from the Sightseer Lounge, rest in luxurious Superliner Sleeper Cars, relax in spacious seating, and tuck into truly fine dining. So, every second on the Empire Builder is truly unforgettable.

The mile-by-mile route guide is detailed on pages 142-185 the soon-to-be-released USA West By Train: The Complete Amtrak Travel Guide.

Coming in Spring 2016! From the best-selling authors of Canada by Train comes the ultimate companion to rail travel in the Western USA. Pre-order USA West By Train: The Complete Amtrak Travel Guide from us now, before it hits the stores!

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