All Aboard! Fall Train Rides for the Family

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A train ride through the Pacific Northwest is an extra special experience for Portland families. Think: Wild West Excursions, fall foliage experiences and holiday extravaganzas. Don’t wait! Grab your little railroad enthusiast and get ready to purchase your tickets to one of the season’s most beloved experiences. Read on to find out where you can book your next fall train ride.

Mt. Hood Railroad

Get an exceptional train experience on this awe-inspiring locomotive, which runs through October 31. Through the fall season, you can enjoy the Hood River Valley Excursion. The full-sized train leaves the valley floor taking passengers on a ride along three miles of the lower main fork of the Hood River. It then travels on a 3% grade that takes you on one of only five switchbacks remaining in the United States. Your little locomotive enthusiasts will enjoy peek-a-boo views of Mt Hood, and delight at the beauty of the changing season.

While Mt. Hood Railroad offers year-round rides, it's holiday excursion, The Train to Christmas Town, is exceptional. It runs from Nov. through Dec. 

110 Railroad St.
Hood River
Rates:  $40/adult, $30/child (first class)
(800) 872-4661

Chehalis Centralia Railroad & Museum 

Whether you are looking for a adventurous family dinner ride or a holiday experience that offers a chance to pick up a pumpkin or meet Santa while riding the rails, the Chehalis Centralia Railroad & Museum has you covered. From a wild west adventure that includes gun slinging and bandits to the The Polar Express trains that feature the reading of the popular book “The Polar Express” during a Christmas themed trek to the North Pole, there are a variety of rides that will create family memories that last a life time.

A 13-mile round trip, all of the excursions travel through the scenic upper Chehalis Valley pastoral farmland. The longer coach runs and all of the brunch and dinner trains, travel nearly the entire length of the railroad line including an additional three miles along the Chehalis River.

1101 SW Sylvenus St,
Chehalis, WA
Rates: depends on excursion. See website for details

Washington Park and Zoo Railway
This train ride runs year-round. It offers a 6-minute excursion that is perfect for the littlest locomotive lovers in your household. The regular daytime zoo loop offers an overview of the animals and the rides last just long enough for the wiggliest ones in your crew. Best of all, you never have to wait longer than 15 to 20 minutes to catch this excursion. While you can take this train ride all year long, it turns into something special during the holiday season! The holidays just wouldn't be the holidays in Portland with out a spin on the Zoolights run. This ride gives you the best view of the dazzling display of more than 1.5 million lights in the zoo. 


4001 Sw Canyon Rd.
Rates: $5 

Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad

During the warmer months, families can enjoy taking this train from Garibaldi to Rockaway beach, where breathtaking ocean views from the comfort of a train car were the icing on the cake. But, when autumn hits, you don't want to miss their Fall Splendor excursion which travels along the Tillamook Coast where passengers behold the season's vibrant array of colors first-hand.

During the holiday season, excursions take experiencing the area's natural beauty to the next level with the Candy Cane Express. Passengers take in spectacular views from this steam-powered excursion. Santa visits one-on-one with each family to spread the cheer! 

Information and
Tickets: Purchase Here.
Rates: $22/adult, $15/child

Oregon Rail Heritage Center 

Portland is the only U.S. city to own two operating steam locomotives. and you and your young train fanatics can explore and get up close to these giant marvels of the past. On Saturdays, you can hop aboard the charming, family-owned Oregon Pacific Railroad passenger train for the short trip down to the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. Trains travel on the Oregon Pacific Railroad along the Willamette River in SE Portland. 

When the holiday season rolls around, you won't want to miss The Holiday Express, so mark your calendars!

2250 SE Water Ave.


—Annette Benedetti

featured image: Train to Christmas Town


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