California Zephyr which direction is best

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carstmbc

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East to West, or West to East when planning a trip on the California Zephyr??
 

carstmbc

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OK thnx. Pre - covid we went from North Dakota to Spokane, Wa on Amtrak, and the Rockys toward sunset were awesome.
 

SarahZ

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Westbound. You're guaranteed more scenery (unless the train is running ridiculously late).

Eastbound is nice too, though. I did that trip in March 2015, and while I didn't get to see as much scenery, it was still a beautiful trip.
 

Wolverine72

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I vote for west bound also if you had to choose just one direction. Both have great scenery. West bound you can sleep through Iowa and Nebraska. I went Christmas week and dawn occurred right as we sat in Denver Station. Fresh snow all up through the mountains. Gorgeous.
 

niemi24s

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Westbound. You're guaranteed more scenery (unless the train is running ridiculously late).

Eastbound is nice too, though. I did that trip in March 2015, and while I didn't get to see as much scenery, it was still a beautiful trip.
The way I look at this whole subject is that anything seen when looking out the window of a train is scenery - the landscape. And because the route is essentially the same in both directions, the landscape is essentially the same in both directions - the only difference being whether it's seen during daylight hours or at night.

Some say there's no scenery when going through any of the Prairie States. But I find the seemingly endless wheat fields in Montana and the corn fields in Iowa just as picturesque as anything else along the Amtrak routes I've taken.

As always, YMMV.
 
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JayPea

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OK we are thinking of the empire builder from maybe spokane or pasco to chicago then chicago to emeryville and finally up the coast back to Washington
I live near Spokane and have taken that trip several times. And I have that in mind for next year too.
 

me_little_me

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My favorite is the direction I am going is based on where I want to get. So if I'm headed to Sacramento from Denver, I'd rather go west because going east will make my trip much more expensive and longer. :)
 

pennyk

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I traveled west on the Zephyr in December 2019 and will be traveling east in December 2021. Although I think west is preferable because of the views, l like traveling east also. In December 2011. I traveled east (on my way home from a trip on the Canadian), and for a long while, there were only 2 passengers in the sightseer lounge. I loved that lack of crowds. I am guessing I will experience more crowds in early December this year.
 

Cal

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I traveled west on the Zephyr in December 2019 and will be traveling east in December 2021. Although I think west is preferable because of the views, l like traveling east also. In December 2011. I traveled east (on my way home from a trip on the Canadian), and for a long while, there were only 2 passengers in the sightseer lounge. I loved that lack of crowds. I am guessing I will experience more crowds in early December this year.
Why do you think there was a lack of crowds?
 

pennyk

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It was slow season (between Thanksgiving and Christmas). That is all I can think of. I got a fabulous deal on the Canadian that year: Express deal (I think it was called) - room for 2 for $865.

I am guessing more people will be traveling this December in slow season. I am using points for the trip and am paying more than double what I paid for a similar trip in 2019.
 

carstmbc

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OK thnx for the comments.... we are thinking westbound now to find the best time (lowest Fair)?? good luck, right?
 

Cal

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OK thnx for the comments.... we are thinking westbound now to find the best time (lowest Fair)?? good luck, right?
I think the cheapest fairs would be between January and May. Definitely not summer, and not around any major holidays. Might find one in the fall season too.
 

zephyr17

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May is getting onto the high summer season, and March/April has spring break. Lowest travel demand in my experience is January-early March, late September-early November.

Most fairs are pretty cheap, many charging no admission. Just go easy on the rides and the funnel cakes. Fares, on the other hand, can get pretty expensive😉
 
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carstmbc

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OK time frames of end September thru October and January thru March fit us really well.... Thnx
 
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JontyMort

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My favorite is the direction I am going is based on where I want to get. So if I'm headed to Sacramento from Denver, I'd rather go west because going east will make my trip much more expensive and longer. :)
I like this positive mindset. It’s the same in golf - when you slice off the tee 20 yards into the rough, you’re still one shot nearer the hole.
 
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