Amtrak's Coast Starlight
The full route of the Coast Starlight is a spectacularly scenic 1,390-mile (2,237km) journey from Los Angeles to Seattle in Washington. On our Las Vegas & the Golden West tour we travel just a section of this route: the journey of just under 8 and a half hours from Los Angeles to Salinas.
LA to the Pacific Coast
On leaving Los Angeles Union Station mid-morning, the Coast Starlight heads north through the city and its suburbs. We pass through the famous Forest Lawn Memorial Park, the final resting place of many of Hollywood's famous names, including Humphrey Bogart, Errol Flynn and Walt Disney, before continuing to Burbank. The city of Burbank is most famous for being home to many of the biggest film studios including Warner Brothers, Disney and Columbia, which line the Santa Monica Mountains.
The Coast Starlight enters the Simi Valley, taking us past the Santa Susanna Mountains and the Simi Hills. We then head west towards the coast, passing through the city of Oxnard and Ventura. From Ventura we hug the Pacific coastline, partially following the Pacific Coast Highway. As we continue north to Santa Barbara we enjoy spectacular views of the ocean and the long stretches of golden, sandy beaches as well as the islands of Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa.
Santa Barbara to Salinas
After making a stop in the popular resort of Santa Barbara, the Coast Starlight carries us along this scenic stretch of coastline past the Point Conception Lighthouse and over the high trestle at Jalam Beach Park. We cross the Vandenberg Air Force Base before travelling alongside the famous Pismo Beach and then heading inland to the city of San Luis Obispo. From San Luis Obispo we travel across the Stenner Creek Trestle and begin an ascent of over 1,000 feet in 11 miles to the Cuesta Pass. We pass through cattle ranch country to Paso Robles and continue through the 18th century mission towns of the Salinas Valley and the impressive Diablo Mountain range. The Coast Starlight arrives at our final destination, Salinas, in the early evening.