For the first time in more than two years, Amtrak is resuming service on one of its most scenic routes: The Amtrak Cascades route, which runs from Oregon to Vancouver and weaves through some of the Pacific Northwest’s most beautiful natural formations along the way.
The Cascade route was first paused in spring 2020, as travel between the U.S. and Canadian borders shut down due to the pandemic. Now, tickets are on sale again for the route’s relaunch on September 26. When the route first resumes, Amtrak will operate one daily roundtrip between Seattle and Vancouver, stopping at five cities in Washington state along the way: Edmonds, Everett, Stanwood, Mount Vernon, and Bellingham. (Normally the full route runs from Eugene, Oregon, up to Vancouver.)
Along the nearly 200-mile route, riders will be treated to gorgeous scenery, as the train runs along the Pacific coastline and offers views of the craggy Cascade Mountains and the snowy peaks of the Olympic Mountains. On the Oregon leg of the trip, which Amtrak plans to phase in with separate roundtrips between Eugene and Portland, the train also crosses the Columbia River Gorge and passes Mount Hood. Passengers can take it all in from the large picture window at their seat.
Once in Vancouver, there’s no shortage of things to do for travelers, including hiking through the Douglass fir-lined paths of Pacific Spirit Regional Park or taking a gondola ride up Grouse Mountain. The route is also restarting in time to catch the end of British Columbia’s whale watching season, which typically runs through October.
Like all Amtrak services, the Cascade train will offer passengers comforts like roomy seats, free Wi-Fi, and generous baggage allotments. There’s also the Café Car, which offers for-purchase dishes like a blue corn vegan tamale, a mac and cheese skillet, an angus cheeseburger, and chicken street tacos, as well as tipples like sparkling wine and hard cider. Amtrak says that the current menu features products grown and made in the Pacific Northwest.
Although Americans are allowed to enter Canada once again, there are still a few travel requirements. All passengers must use the ArriveCAN app to submit their proof of vaccination before travel—non-Canadian citizens must be fully vaccinated and also carry with them the vaccine record they uploaded to the app. All travelers are also required to wear masks on Canadian trains and inside Canadian rail stations.
For such a picturesque route, prices for Amtrak Cascades are currently very affordable. Coach tickets for travel in September and October are now starting at just $45 for a one-way trip, which is about four hours long. Travelers can book tickets on Amtrak.com or AmtrakCascades.com.