Amtrak's Coast Starlight
The full route of the Coast Starlight is a spectacularly scenic 1,390-mile (2,237km) journey from Seattle in Washington to Los Angeles. On our West Coast and Yosemite tour we travel two sections of this route: from Seattle to Sacramento and from San Francisco to Santa Barbara.
Seattle and along the Puget Sound
Our first Coast Starlight journey begins in Seattle's early 20th century King Street Station which boasts a clock tower modelled on the Campanile di San Marco in Venice. As we slip through the city, we catch sight of one of its major landmarks, the Space Needle, as well as the home of the Boeing Aircraft company. The train takes us south to Tacoma and then follows the shores of the Puget Sound to Olympia-Lacey, offering us excellent views of Commencement Bay and the Olympic Mountains. Leaving Puget Sound behind we head to the city of Centralia from where we may be able to catch a glimpse of the notorious Mount St Helens volcano to the east.
Through Oregon to the Cascades
The Coast Starlight continues to Kelso-Longview and then follows the Columbia River to Vancouver, the oldest continuous settlement in the northwest - and not to be confused with Vancouver in Canada! From here the train takes up the course of the Willamette River, crossing the State Line into Oregon as it travels towards Portland. On leaving Portland we enjoy views of Mount Hood, the tallest of Oregon's Cascade Peaks.
Through the Cascades to Sacramento
We pass through Salem, Oregon's state capital, and just after Albany we see the snow-capped peaks of the Three Sisters Mountains. From here we begin our ascent into the awe-inspiring Cascade Mountains, a section of the journey which offers wonderful views of the Cascade Range. We skirt the beautiful Upper Klamath Lake as night falls and continue through Klamath Falls to the Oregan/California State Line. Shortly after crossing the State Line we pass by the snow-covered Mount Shasta, which looks at its most dramatic on a moon-lit night. As we sleep, the Coast Starlight continues through Redding and Chico on the final stage of this wonderful journey to California's state capital, Sacramento, where we arrive early in the morning.