A misty Autumn day in the mountains of Pennsylvania with an open air train ride.

7 Scenic Train Rides in Pennsylvania

All aboard! Although the golden age of railroad transportation is long over, traveling by locomotive is still an enjoyable and popular activity among travel lovers and rail fans. And in Pennsylvania, scenic train rides are easy to come by. Between the state's historical significance, rolling hills, and picturesque state parks, there is no better place to hit the tracks than the Keystone State. In addition to relaxing rides and beautiful views, many of these historic train stations offer unique themed rides as well. From the kid-friendly Thomas The Tank Engine event in Lancaster to the staged Western Train Robbery in Stewartstown, there is truly something for everyone. 

Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway, Jim Thorpe

The train arrives at Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway station.

Located in the historic town of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway takes passengers from downtown through the beautiful Lehigh Gorge State Park and onward to Old Penn Haven. The 16-mile round trip travels along the Reading Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad's mainline and takes 45 to 70 minutes to complete. During the narrated ride, passengers can admire breathtaking forests, mountains, and Lehigh River views.

When booking a ride, travelers will find a variety of train car styles to choose from. This includes open-air cars, standard coach cars, first-class lounges, dome seating, and a private caboose. Upon arrival in Lehigh Gorge State Park, train passengers will see unique rock formations, small waterfalls, and the steep gorge this park is named after.

Oil Creek & Titusville Railroad

Oil Creek State Park, in Cherrytree.

Nearly 300 miles from Jim Thorpe in Titusville, Pennsylvania railway enthusiasts will find the Oil Creek & Titusville Railroad. The vintage train station, which dates back to the 1890s, features a unique post office car (the only one of its kind still in operation) and a Caboose Motel where true rail fans can opt to spend the night. While here, travelers can enjoy a 3-hour round trip ride from the Perry Street station to Oil Creek State Park. If the name didn’t give it away already, the state park is well-known as the area where oil was first discovered in America.

Along the ride, passengers can enjoy tales of oil-soaked history while they take in serene views of the forest and surrounding wildlife. Previous riders have reported seeing bears, bald eagles, blue herons, and deer, just to name a few. 

Colebrookdale Railroad

The Colebrookdale Railroad train station. Image credits: Amy Lutz via Shutterstock

Located in historic Boyertown, Pennsylvania, the Colebrookdale Railroad offers several scenic train excursions including the popular Secret Valley Expedition. Like many of their rides, the Secret Valley is best enjoyed in the fall when the foliage peaks. On this 90-minute ride, passengers will venture into a land, seemingly untouched by time. Along the way, expect to see several streams, a small waterfall, and heavily forested areas popping with yellow, orange, and red leaves.

The train is made up of a selection of century-old rail cars, including an open-air car where the views can’t be beaten and a dining car for those who wish to enjoy a meal along the way. Outdoor enthusiasts who are looking for something a bit different can opt to ride the rail bikes instead. The pedal-powered rail bikes also venture into Secret Valley and allow riders to get up close and personal with the scenery and local wildlife.

Strasburg Railroad

Classic Steam Passenger Train.

Ideal for history lovers, rail fans, and outdoor enthusiasts – the Strasburg Railroad in Lancaster County is well-known as the oldest continuously operating railroad in the US. Headed by a historic steam locomotive, this scenic train ride takes passengers through 2,500 acres of Amish farmlands. The narrated ride, which lasts 45 minutes round trip, highlights the history of the railroad and the surrounding area.

Like most of the train rides on this list, passengers can choose from a range of different rail cars and themed train rides. Those traveling with kids will want to participate in the Day Out With Thomas event where Thomas the Tank Engine himself will guide passengers through the picturesque countryside on a 30-minute trip. In 2024, this event is scheduled for select dates in June and September. 

Northern Central Railway of York

Northern Central Railway Train Departing Hanover Junction Train Station.

Roughly 45 miles from the Strasburg Railroad in the charming town of New Freedom, Pennsylvania, train lovers will find the Northern Central Railway of York. The tracks here are filled with history and offer passengers the opportunity to travel part of the same route that President Lincoln took from Washington, D.C. to Gettysburg, PA. The trains here include a replica of a Civil War-era steam train and a mid-20th-century diesel train. Along the historic route, passengers will see an abundance of natural beauty, 19th-century houses, and significant sites including Hanover Junction, Glen Rock, and the Howard Tunnel.

Stewartstown Railroad

Railroad tracks covered in autumn leaves, near Stewartstown, Pennsylvania.

The Stewartstown Railroad was founded in 1884 and through the years it’s survived hardships including the Great Depression, the switch from shipping trains to shipping trucks, and 1972s Hurricane Agnes. Today, the historic short-line railroad offers scenic train rides throughout Deer Creek Valley where passengers can enjoy views of the Pennsylvania countryside.

The station also hosts various themed train rides throughout the year including a Santa ride, a pumpkin patch ride, and an easter egg hunt ride. Those looking for something a bit more lively can opt to participate in the Western Train Robbery–an interactive train ride featuring a staged old-west raid. Passengers on this train are encouraged to dress in late 1800s-era clothing to really make the experience feel authentic.

The Stourbridge Line

Vintage coaches of the Stourbridge Line train in Honesdale, PA.

Located in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, The Stourbridge Line takes passengers along the stunning Lackawaxen River Valley in vintage railroad coaches. There are a variety of excursions to choose from each with different themes and run times. The Pocono Express is a popular choice and offers passengers a unique look at the famous Pocono Mountains. This excursion runs from Honesdale to Hawley and takes roughly 1.5 hours. Other options include a dinner theater train, a 5-hour trip to the Arts & Crafts Fair at Bingham Park, and a 2-hour pumpkin patch ride in the fall, just to name a few.


Scenic train rides are an amazing way to experience the beauty and history of any area. In Pennsylvania, for example, travelers can ride the same historic route that President Lincon took on his way to deliver the Gettysburg Address. And with trains winding through places like Pocono Mountains, stunning natural views are never in short supply either. So the next time wanderlust comes knocking, why not take a ride on one the oldest forms of motorized transportation? 


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