California Zephyr with Yellowstone - Rail-Drive package to Yellowstone National Park and San Francisco
California Zephyr with Yellowstone
Travel one of the most scenic routes in the U.S. as you ride the rails from Chicago to San Francisco aboard the famed California Zephyr. As you cross the rugged Rockies, take a few days to explore Yellowstone National Park and its glistening lakes, famous geysers, deep canyons, and majestic mountain ranges. Located in three states and covering more than 8805 square kilometers of land, you won’t want to miss Yellowstone’s most famous sights: Old Faithful, the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, and the Continental Divide.
Your well-planned 8-day rail-drive itinerary includes two nights onboard Amtrak’s California Zephyr as well as one night in both Salt Lake City and San Francisco and three nights in Yellowstone National Park.
Tour Inclusions & Scenic Highlights
One-way rail transportation aboard Amtrak’s California Zephyr from Chicago to Emeryville/San Francisco
Meals onboard the train when upgrading to a roomette or bedroom
Train accommodations for two nights onboard Amtrak’s California Zephyr
One night at the Royal Garden Inn in Salt Lake City
Three nights at the Yellowstone Park Hotel
One night San Francisco hotel
Four-day mid-size car rental
Transfer from Emeryville Amtrak station to Ferry building in San Francisco
Yellowstone Lower Loop tour
Maps and destination information
Scenic highlights of your trip include:
2002 Winter Olympic Game sites
Fountain Paint Pots
San Pablo Bay and the Carquinez Strait
Golden Gate Bridge
Day 1 - Depart Chicago aboard the California Zephyr
Get set to explore America’s “Wild West” as you board the California Zephyr at Chicago’s Union Station for a 13:50 departure. As the train chugs westward, you may wish to visit the glass-walled Sightseer Lounge Car to take in the panoramic views of the passing scenery and meet your fellow travellers. Follow along on your route map as you course through the heart of the Midwest. Overnight train. (D Sleeping Car passengers only)
Day 2 - Arrive in Salt Lake City
Awake this morning to magnificent views of the Colorado Rockies stretching across the horizon. You may wish to visit the Lounge Car today to meet volunteer rangers sharing stories and artifacts of the region as part of the United States’ Trails and Rails program. Arrive in Salt Lake City just after 23:00 and transfer on your own to your centrally-located hotel for the evening. Overnight Royal Garden Inn. (B, L, D Sleeping car passengers only)
Day 3 - Drive to Yellowstone National Park
This morning board a shuttle to the Salt Lake City airport to pick-up your rental car. Take the day to explore Salt Lake City—including the Mormon Temple, 2002 Winter Olympic Games sites, and the historic state capitol—before making your way to Yellowstone National Park, the United States’ first National Park established in 1872. The drive to West Yellowstone is a magnificent one. Drink in the breathtaking scenery as you drive through northern Utah and Idaho before entering Montana. Overnight Yellowstone Park Hotel. (B)
Day 4 - Yellowstone National Park Tour
Today embark on a full-day tour of the Lower Loop of the Park. Highlights of your tour include Old Faithful geyser, Isa Lake on the Continental Divide, the Fountain Paint Pots, Hayden Valley, Gibbon Falls, and more. Keep your cameras handy to snap photos of roaming wildlife like wolves, bison, and elk. Lunch is on your own at the Old Faithful Village. Overnight Yellowstone Park Hotel. (B)
Day 5 - Explore Yellowstone National Park
Take today to explore Yellowstone at your leisure. Revisit some of your favorite sights from yesterday’s tour or branch off and explore uncharted territory. With more than 809 hectares of geysers, hot springs, and lava formations, there is much to be seen! Consider hiking or biking the marked trails, white water rafting, or horseback riding. Or, participate in a ranger-led tour or visit the Yellowstone Historic Center. The choices are as vast as the Park itself. This evening return to your hotel or see an IMAX presentation about the Park. Your hotel is directly across the street from the theater. Overnight Yellowstone Park Hotel. (B)
Day 6 - Drive to Salt Lake City
After breakfast begin the scenic drive back to Salt Lake City. Take time to visit sights you missed a few days ago before returning your rental car to the airport. Make your way to the Amtrak Station for a 23:30 departure. Overnight train.
Day 7 - Arrive in San Francisco, the “City by the Bay”
The California Zephyr passes through the Donner Pass and the quaint mountain-side towns of the Sierra Nevada Mountains today indicating that you’re nearing your final destination of Emeryville. Upon arrival late this afternoon, transfer to the San Francisco Ferry building on the Amtrak Thruway Bus. Overnight San Francisco. (B, L Sleeping Car Passengers only)
Day 8 - Explore San Francisco
Named one of the world’s top cities, San Francisco is a cultural and culinary wonderland where the spirit of the Gold Rush continues to fill the air. From the Golden Gate Bridge and Chinatown to Alcatraz and Fisherman’s Wharf, ride the cable cars and climb the crooked streets basking in the unique aura surrounding this exciting city. With so much to see and do, consider extending your stay—or, transfer on your own to the airport for your return flight home this evening.
Prices are per person based on double occupancy. Senior discounts and single pricing are available upon request. Contact your rail specialist for details.
Prices do not include National Park entrance fees or car rental tax. Car rental tax must be paid locally. Prices are subject to change, and all reservations are based upon availability at time of booking.
Tour prices are based on costs in the country of destination. There occasionally may be fluctuations in currencies that are not reflected as a Sterling equivalent. The prevailing rate of exchange when booked will determine the specific tour cost.
The California Zephyr travels daily between Chicago and San Francisco, traveling through the plains of Nebraska to Denver, across the Rockies to Salt Lake City, and on through Reno and Sacramento into Emeryville/San Francisco. Enjoy magnificent views of the Rocky and Sierra-Nevada mountain ranges, deep canyons, and glistening lakes as your train speeds towards the shores of the Pacific.
San Francisco: A first class hotel within walking distance of all this city's highlights will be the stop for the night.
Royal Garden Inn: This 180-room property is located within walking distance of Temple Square and the new Gateway Mall Complex. The hotel offers Wi-Fi throughout the property, one of the largest outdoor pools in Salt Lake City, complimentary airport shuttle, and complimentary breakfast.
Yellowstone Park Hotel: Located just three blocks from Yellowstone National Park and directly across the street from the Grizzly Discovery Center and IMAX Theatre, this quaint hotel in the town of West Yellowstone offers free wireless internet access in the lobby and business center, complimentary wired internet access in each guest room, a fully-equipped exercise room, an indoor heated swimming pool with hot tub, complimentary parking, and a complimentary deluxe continental breakfast.