USA Iconic Rail Journey with Flights

$5999 per person
9 days
United States

ICONIC RAIL JOURNEY California Zephyr Train with Hotel Stays & Flights

Travel on one of the world's great train experiences from San Francisco to Chicago. Pass through the Sierra Nevada mountains, wind through Colorado canyons, scale the Rockies, cross the Mississippi and travel across Nebraska's farmlands on this spectacular rail journey!
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The California Zephyr is one of the most beautiful train trips in all of North America. As you venture east through the snow-capped Sierra Nevadas and climb through the heart of the Rockies, you're bound to see why. The Zephyr runs between San Francisco and Chicago, from Emeryville through Reno and Sacramento, from Salt Lake City across the Rockies and coursing through the plains of Nebraska to Illinois. Enjoy 2 nights on the train and hotel stays for 6 nights. This 9-day rail journey packs in a lot of highlights and flights from Australia are included.

What's included

United States Discover United States
Departure Location
Fly from Australia to San Francisco, USA
Return Location
Fly Chicago to Australia
Tour Start Date & Time
Additional Information
Departs daily in 2024: Contact us for availability on your preferred date Booking Code: USAMR9M
Price includes
  • Accommodation based on twin share room
  • Activities as per the itinerary
  • Hotel taxes and service charges
  • International flights from Australia
  • Meals as per the itinerary
  • Professionally guided local tour
  • Rail travel as per itinerary
Price does not include
  • Airport transfers
  • Any items or services not specified
  • Gratuities for guides and drivers
  • Medical and emergency insurance
  • Optional tours and activities
  • Personal expenses
  • Visa arrangements and fees
Additional Prices
Single Supplement: Contact us for solo traveller rates with private cabin and rooms Pre & Post Tour Accommodation: Ask us about extended hotel stays Travel Insurance: Insurance is essential for this tour - please ask for a quote.

USA rail journey overview

This USA train itinerary travels from the the West Coast to the Mid-West!

This nine-day rail journey will introduce you to sights and moments that are best experienced from the comfort from the train. No matter what the season, the California Zephyr is one of the most beautiful cross-country train routes in North America and regarded as one of the world’s great rail journeys.

Your trip begins with two nights in San Francisco, where you’ll get to sightsee and discover the city’s top attractions and popular landmarks. From there, you’ll board the California Zephyr and watch the scenery unfold as it travels east toward Denver and the majestic Rocky Mountains. During your two-night stay in Denver, you’ll have the opportunity to explore on your own and take an included day tour of Rocky Mountain National Park – an adventure you won’t soon forget!

Following another evening onboard Amtrak, arrive in the Windy City of Chicago for a two-night hotel stay. Showcasing some of the world’s best sights, attractions, and activities, you’re bound to have a grand time!



Rail departures

This special train trip includes flights from Australia and departs daily between the following dates:
2024 – 01 February to 20 March, 20 April to 10 June, 20 July to 10 September, 10 October to 30 November.

To check availability and for current prices, please call 1300 168 910 or email [email protected].

Please note: Prices in AUD are per person, based on twin share. Prices are subject to currency fluctuations and change without notice. Please request rates for solo travel. Contact us for travel at other times of the year. Booking conditions and cancellation fees apply.

Inclusions at a glance

  • Flights – return economy class airfare to San Francisco & from Chicago
    • Fly from Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane (from $300pp more to fly from Adelaide, Canberra & Hobart, or from $600pp extra from Perth)
    • Includes all pre-payable fees & airport taxes
  • Hotels – 6 nights hotel accommodation, standard room based on twin share
    • 2 nights San Francisco – Handlery Union Square Hotel
    • 2 nights Denver – Hampton Inn & Suites Denver-Downtown
    • 2 nights Chicago – La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Chicago Downtown
  • Amtrak train – Superliner train from San Francisco to Chicago
    • 2 nights in a private bedroom
    • All meals on board the train
  • Sightseeing – as per the itinerary
    • San Francisco Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour
    • Rocky Mountain National Park Day Tour
    • Chicago Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour

About the California Zephyr

The California Zephyr is one of world’s greatest train journeys, and in around 48 hours (if you travelled non-stop) you will leave the San Francisco Bay area, travel to Sacramento, pass through the Sierra Nevada mountains, snake through lovely Colorado canyons to Denver, scale the Rockies, cross the Mississippi and roll over the vast farmlands of Nebraska before reaching Chicago, Illinois. The route covers much of the very first historic trans-continental railroad route, and there’s a commentary for the most significant section.

San Francisco/Emeryville-Chicago daily (2,438 miles, two nights) or vv. The Superliner train facilities include reclining seats, sightseeing lounge car, sleeping-cars and dining-car. If you are planning a coast-to-coast trip, this is a great route to take.

Viewliner sleeping-cars:
Long-distance trains in the East have Viewliner sleeping cars. The distinctive double row of windows on these cars makes them light and airy during the day, and gives both upper and lower berths a window for star-gazing at night. Travelling by Amtrak sleeper is a real treat. All sleeper passengers get complimentary meals in the dining car and a ‘coffee station’ provides complimentary tea/coffee & fruit juice in the morning. You return from dinner in the diner to find your bed made up for the night by the sleeper attendant.

Viewliner sleeping-cars have Bedrooms (previously called deluxe bedrooms), which are much larger than roomettes and they have a private shower & toilet. Bedrooms have freestanding chair and sofa in daytime mode, and upper and lower berths at night. The lower berth is extra wide. All necessary bedding, soap and towels are provided.

Superliner dining car:
Trains west of Chicago retain a proper dining-car with freshly-cooked food. The dining-car serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. All the tables in a Superliner dining-car are on the top deck for great views while you eat – the kitchens are downstairs.

Meals are included in the fare if you have a sleeper, although drinks are extra. In the sleepers, the dining-car manager comes down the train asking each passenger which sitting for lunch or dinner they’d like, and issuing table reservations. An announcement is made at the start of each sitting.

  • DAY 1
  • DAY 2
  • DAY 3
  • DAY 4
  • DAY 5
  • DAY 6
  • DAY 7
  • DAY 8
  • DAY 9

Fly to San Francisco, USA

Welcome to beautiful San Francisco! Today the day will be spent traveling on your own. Check in to your hotel and begin exploring this City by the Bay. (Overnight in San Francisco)


San Francisco Sightseeing Tour

Today will be packed with highlights on a hop-on, hop-off sightseeing tour that will take you to all of San Francisco’s most popular attractions, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, the Japanese Tea Garden, Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square, Haight Ashbury, the Palace of Fine Arts, and so much more. Feel free to hop on and off at any of the 27 featured stops to discover the city at your own leisure. There is plenty to experience. Who knows, you may even stumble upon some hidden gems and local favourites! (Overnight in San Francisco)


Overnight Onboard Amtrak

Make your own way from the hotel to Emeryville station in time to board the California Zephyr train. Begin your journey eastbound onboard Amtrak toward Denver. (Overnight onboard Amtrak)


Arrive Denver

When you arrive in the “Mile High City” of Denver, Colorado, check into your hotel. Then, the remainder of the day and evening is yours to explore on your own. Located at the base of the mesmerising Rocky Mountains, this vibrant city invites you to take in the sights and discover the best it has to offer. Visit Red Rocks Park, the Denver Art Museum, the Denver Zoo, and so much more! (Overnight in Denver)


Rocky Mountain National Park

Experience the majestic splendour of the Rocky Mountains on a small group day tour of Rocky Mountain National Park. Widely celebrated for its abundance of wildlife and spectacular views, Rocky Mountain National Park will make you feel like you're on top of the world. Enjoy an included picnic lunch and several photo opportunities before heading back to your hotel for the evening. (Overnight in Denver)


Overnight Onboard Amtrak

Continue your journey eastbound onboard Amtrak toward Chicago. (Overnight onboard Amtrak)


Arrive Chicago

Welcome to Chicago! This is an international city where art, culture, and history collide to offer you one of the most unique vacations. From gorgeous architecture to delicious cuisine, intriguing history, and world-class entertainment, the Windy City has it all!

After you check into your hotel, the rest of the day and evening is yours to explore on your own. Make sure to visit the Skydeck with your included admission. No trip to Chicago would be complete without taking in the 360-degree views from the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. (Overnight in Chicago)


Chicago Sightseeing Tour

Spend today discovering the most popular attractions throughout the city with your included hop-on, hop-off Big Bus sightseeing tour. Enjoy 14 different stops, including the iconic Centennial Wheel on the Navy Pier, visit Millennium Park, John Hancock Tower, Magnificent Mile, and so much more! (Overnight in Chicago)


Journey ends in Chicago – Fly to Australia

Check out of your hotel this morning, then take a taxi to airport for flights home.

More about United States

The world is fascinated by America's famous culture and curious celebrities, but any traveller will tell you that there's so much more to the amazing United States. Head east for renowned attractions like historic Philadelphia, the Florida Everglades, Washington DC and New York City. Through central USA you'll find famous Mount Rushmore Memorial and Badlands National Park, as well as the carnival town of New Orleans in the south. The west coast boasts other great highlights in Seattle, multicultural San Francisco, the movie mecca of Hollywood and San Diego, for a south-of-the-border vibe. This is the tiniest taste of what you can expect to discover and enjoy in the good old U.S of A!
The California Zephyr is one of the most beautiful train trips in all of North America. As you venture east through the snow-capped Sierra Nevadas and climb through the heart of the Rockies, you're bound to see why. The Zephyr runs between San Francisco and Chicago, from Emeryville through Reno and Sacramento, from Salt Lake City across the Rockies and coursing through the plains of Nebraska to Illinois. Enjoy 2 nights on the train and hotel stays for 6 nights. This 9-day rail journey packs in a lot of highlights and flights from Australia are included.

My Travel Experience Review

4.1out of 5

You'll be amazed by all the highlights that this trip covers en route from California to Illinois. This iconic rail journey is an ideal alternative to flying west to east, plus, flights from Australia are included.

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More about this tour

See the brochure

Click here to view, download or print a copy of this trip brochure.

The brochure includes details of the inclusions, itinerary and other relevant travel information. Information contained in the brochure is subject to change at the time of booking you will be provided with an updated copy that includes the current details for your reservation.

Trip departures

Departs Australia daily between the following dates:
2024 - 01 February to 20 March, 20 April to 10 June, 20 July to 10 September, 10 October to 30 November.

Price may vary or change without notice, depending on your travel date.

Please ask us for your preferred departure date and we will advise availability and cost. Please contact us for travel at other times of the year.

Trip start time

Details will be advised upon confirmation. When you book international flights, you will be notified of the flight details and check-in times when your reservation is confirmed.

Important to remember...

The day-by-day tour descriptions are intended as an indicative guide only. Travel by nature is unpredictable. Weather patterns, train schedules, road conditions, public holidays, travel restrictions and a multitude of other factors may necessitate itinerary changes that are ultimately for the client's benefit. It is essential that travellers are flexible and open minded in this regard.

Speak to a travel specialist

The My Travel Experience team are travel experts and we're here to help you enjoy the best holiday - from the time you start to plan your trip until the day you return home. We are only a phone call or email away whenever you need us, so please contact us today with any questions.

Email [email protected]. Phone 1300 168 910 (in Australia) or +61 400 226 454 (from overseas or via mobile).

New safety measures, more flexibility and greater peace of mind.

The wellbeing and safety of our passengers and staff is always a priority, especially as we adjust to a new world for travellers. My Travel Experience is committed to ensuring your peace of mind with customer-friendly booking practices and enhanced health and safety standards on our trips.

We work closely with tour operators that have received the Safe Travels stamp by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), which enables travellers to recognise companies around the world that have adopted health and hygiene global standardised protocols.

To help you book with confidence, we will assist you if any unexpected situations arise and My Travel Experience also offers clients as much flexibility as possible when making bookings.

How to make a booking:

This travel deal is valid for a limited time. Please contact us for current rates.

Advertised price was correct as of 28 August 2023 and is based on lead-price departure(s). Rates will be advised for your preferred travel date prior to any payment being required.

All prices are per person, based on twin share, and listed in Australian dollars (AUD). The package is subject to confirmation at the time of booking and prices may change without notice. Booking conditions and cancellation fees apply.

Please read My Travel Experience Booking Terms & Conditions prior to making a reservation. By booking any travel service with us, you have agreed to be bound by these terms and conditions.

To make a booking please call My Travel Experience on 1300 168 910 or email [email protected].

You can also select a trip and request it via this website - please enter your preferred departure date (if known) and the number of people travelling. If you wish to submit an enquiry, please let us know your travel dates plus any other information that will help us provide a quote, such as departure city and travel preferences.

No payment is required to submit an online booking request - your booking is pending confirmation and no place is being held. Your reservation status will be advised when you hear from our travel consultants. Bookings are normally actioned within 24 hours - Monday to Friday.

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      USA Iconic Rail Journey with Flights

      $5999 per person
      9 days
      United States

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