1. Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, COIllustration by Sara Franklin
Sit in the open-air gondola for a ride through the Old West and Colorado Rockies along the Animas River. Side tour: Take a dip in Trimble Natural Hot Springs or visit nearby Animas Forks, a preserved ghost town (durangotrain.com).
2. White Pass & Yukon Route, AK
Engineers once built tunnels and high trestles to carry prospectors to the Yukon gold fields. Now the narrow-gauge route takes you through spectacular mountain scenery. Side tour: Get dropped off on a forest trail that ends at a glacier (wpyr.com).
3. Napa Valley Wine Train, CA
The wine, the food, the scenery: Need we explain why you'll love this 36-mile route? Special trips offer kids' activities. Side tour: See Castello Di Amorosa, a family-friendly winery in a medieval-style castle, complete with a dungeon and a moat (winetrain.com).
4. Cass Scenic Railroad State Park, WV
Once used to haul timber from the Appalachian Mountains, this steam train now climbs backwoods switchbacks with views of Monongahela National Forest. Side tour: Spend the night in Cass, a former lumber town with restored cottages (cassrailroad.com).
5. Mount Washington Cog Railway, NH
Hold onto your seats as you head up a steep mountain on the world's first cog railway, which uses a gear that interlocks with the track. Side tour: Take a bike ride along carriage roads at Zealand Trails (thecog.com).
6. Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, GA
Start at a 1905 depot in Blue Ridge, then wind 26 miles through a river valley. Your layover is in the twin towns of McCaysville, Georgia, and Copperhill, Tennessee. Take a two-state selfie! Side tour: Rent tubes to float down the Toccoa River (brscenic.com).
7. North Shore Scenic Railroad, MN
This Lake Superior line hugs the shore after passing through downtown Duluth. A special music and pizza train has live entertainment and a pie for every passenger. Side tour: Visit the Lake Superior Railroad Museum (northshorescenicrailroad.org).
8. Texas State Railroad
Steam locomotives run through the Piney Woods of East Texas between two historic depots. Themed trips include a teddy bear ride the first Friday in August and a pumpkin patch express in October. Side tour: See wildlife from your car at the Cherokee Trace Drive- Thru Safari (texasstaterr.com).
9. Strasburg Railroad, PA
America's oldest continuously running railroad still puffs through bucolic Pennsylvania Dutch country. Take the Pinball Pendolino train, and play a vintage machine on board. Side tour: Create your own ice cream flavor at the Turkey Hill Experience (strasburgrailroad.com).
10. Grand Canyon Railway, AZ
This 65-mile trip leaving from Williams, Arizona, includes strolling musicians and ends just steps from the South Rim. Side tour: Plan a layover to experience the canyon (thetrain.com).