"How to Hit the Trail With Nothing but Amtrak and a Bicycle"

"From Idaho to Alabama to Maine, adventure outdoors without taking a single car ride or plane trip".

"Watching the United States roll by on the California Zephyr Amtrak from Chicago to Sacramento last year, I constantly struggled with the impulse to jump off and explore. Seemingly around every bend there was a new gorgeous trout stream or lake reflecting the mountains in the distance. I’d see a trail leading up into the spruce-filled hills and think, “I wonder where it leads?” The temptation was nearly unbearable. This summer, I’m hopping aboard Amtrak’s Empire Builder route from Chicago to Seattle, and this time I built a lot more flexibility into my trip to feed my insatiable curiosity and incurable wanderlust.

Here’s how you can plan a similar trip.

Train travel isn’t just for getting from city to city. A number of Amtrak routes across the US offer a great low-carbon way to see the outdoors, and an Amtrak USA Rail Pass allows you to string together a series of hiking, biking, swimming, and camping adventures with a hop-on-hop-off approach. The pass, good for 10 rides over 30 days, typically sells for $499, but Amtrak runs sales every year for $50 or more off."

Robert Annis reports for Sierra magazine April 7, 2024.

Source: Sierra, 04/09/2024