from the Midwest to the Pacific Northwest Chicago St Paul Portland and Seattle
The Empire Builder travels daily between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest along major portions of the Lewis and Clark trail with views of the Mississippi River, the North Dakota plains, the Big Sky country in Montana and Glacier National Park. Seattle is reached via Spokane; alternatively, the train follows the Columbia River Gorge toward Portland.
The National Park Service and Amtrak Trails & Rails Promote Natural and Cultural Heritage
The Train Service runs in both directions and travel time is 45 hours at an average speed of 50 mph – 80 km/h. Inaugurated in 1929, the Empire Builder was named in honor of James J Hill and is the most popular long-distance train in the Amtrak system with 65% of operating costs covered by fare revenue. Ridership is nearly 500 thousand passengers/year.
Bike Racks are Installed Aboard the Empire Builder
Recommended Town Visits and Stopovers
La Crosse is located at the intersection of the Black, La Crosse and Mississippi rivers in Western Wisconsin in a broad plain between the river bank and the tall bluffs typical of the Driftless area. It was named from the game with sticks – lacrosse in French – played by local Native Americans. It was further settled during the middle of the 19th century with completion of the La Crosse & Milwaukee Railroad.
The River Towns of southeast Minnesota are located 60 miles from the Twin Cities. Winona is an arts and cultural center with three major galleries that hold works by Picasso, Van Gogh and Monet that depict lakes, oceans and rivers. The Garvin Heights overlook features panoramic views of the town and Mississippi River Valley. Follow the Minnesota River Valley Scenic Byway to New Ulmand experience Old World German heritage through unique architecture, restaurants and shops selling German imports, from chocolates to cuckoo clocks. A traditional Glockenspiel features figures from the town’s history.
Red Wing is in the Mississippi River Valley flanked by rolling bluffs. The town is a leading manufacturer of leather, pottery and Red Wing Shoes and is named for the Native American Chief who first met a US Army Officer in 1805. Tucked between bluffs and the river, Red Wing has many historic Victorian properties and farmhouses, including the St James hotel that dates to the 1880s. It overlooks the Mississippi River near the 1904 Amtrak Depot, home to an art gallery and a visitor center.
Minnesota means clear blue water from the Dakota language. Nearly 60 percent of the population lives in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, the center of transportation, business, industry, education, government and an internationally renowned arts community. The remainder of the Land of 10,000 Lakes consists of western prairies, forests in the southeast and mining, forestry, and recreation.
Experiential Tourism on the Empire Builder Train
Environment Friendly Destinations and Vacations
Portland is located between the Cascade Mountains and the Pacific Ocean at the northern end of theWillamette Valley and river which flows through the city and links with the Columbia River. The citizens and their local government are notable for: land-use planning, local transport, environment conscious policies, high walkability, large number bicyclists and ten thousand acres of public parks
Neighborhoods Planning Development Sustainability and Local Transport
Seattle’s first major industry was logging; by the late 19th century the city also became a commercial and shipbuilding center as a gateway to Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush. In the 1940s, Boeing established Seattle as a center for aircraft manufacturing and, beginning in the 1980s, the area developed as a technology center with companies like Microsoft and Amazon.