Riding The Rails to Reno

Riding The Rails to Reno

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In winter, you can leave the San Francisco Bay Area, cross over the Sierra Nevada mountain range, and arrive in Reno, Nevada the easy way or the hard way.

The hard way: In car, white knuckles gripping the steering wheel, for over 200 miles with heavy traffic for at least half or more of the way, possibly encountering winter driving conditions and chain controls.

The easy way: Take the train, take a nap, enjoy the scenery, have a meal, and happy sing “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” because you won’t be driving through the wet, slippery stuff.

Snowy Mountains DSC02173

And there are two ways to ride the rails to Reno.

Option #1: Hop aboard Amtrak’s California Zeyphr, as San Francisco Chronicle Travel Editor, Spud Hilton did back in December of 2009.

The Zephyr runs daily, year-round, and can transport you all of the way to Chicago.

Option #2: Make a three-day journey to and from Reno, with a two-night stay in “The Biggest Little City in The World,” aboard Key Holidays’ “Sierra Scenic Train” (weekdays) or “Reno Fun Train” (weekends) during February and March.

In early February of this year, I did the mid-week trip (then called the “Reno Snow Train”) and it beat the heck out of driving I-80 to Reno, even in summer. It was one of the most relaxing and fun trips I’ve done in a long time.

(Tales Told From The Road editor, Dick Jordan, was a guest of Key Holidays when he rode the rails to Reno and back.)

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