Amtrak's Coast Starlight
Our second journey on the Coast Starlight begins in the vibrant city of San Francisco after breakfast. The route south takes us through San Jose, the first state capital of California, where we enter the Santa Clara Valley. The train carries us along the valley to Gilroy, the 'garlic capital of the world' and after crossing the beautiful Santa Cruz Mountain Range at Pajaro Gap, we reach Castroville, the 'artichoke capital of the world'.
From Salinas the Coast Starlight takes us through the impressive Diablo Mountain Range and past the 18th century mission towns of the Salinas Valley. At Paso Robles we enter cattle ranch country and cross the Cuesta Pass before descending over 1,000 feet in 11 miles to the Stenner Creek Trestle and the city of San Luis Obispo.
From San Luis Obispo we head towards the coast and travel alongside the famous Pismo Beach, enjoying the superb ocean views. As we near our destination we cross the Vandenberg Air Force Base and then the high trestle over Jalam Beach Park. We pass the Point Conception Lighthouse as we continue southwards along this scenic stretch of coastline to the popular resort of Santa Barbara, where we arrive in the early evening.