The Southwest Chief is a long-distance Amtrak route that connects Chicago with Los Angeles. Trains stop near the Grand Canyon and in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and California. Deserts and mountains provide a spectacular backdrop for this epic journey that takes about 43 hours. For unique trip ideas, check out the 10 best attractions on the Southwest Chief route to plan a trip around.

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Things to Know

  • No WiFi and limited cell phone coverage.
  • Trains use Superliner rail cars (two levels tall).
  • New Mexico and Colorado are the states with daytime views and the best scenery.
  • Roomettes and bedrooms are available on this train if you want private sleeping accommodations.
  • There is a traditional dining car that is currently available to sleeper car passengers only and a café open to all passengers on the train.

Schedule Highlights

  • Trains depart Los Angeles early evening.
  • Trains depart and arrive in Chicago in the afternoon.
  • Overnight, trains are in Arizona and Kansas.
  • Total trip time is almost two full days (two nights on the train).
  • Eastbound trains traveling toward Chicago arrive in Flagstaff in the middle of the night.
  • Travel eastbound in June to see the San Bernardino Mountains, Missouri River and Mississippi River.

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