9 Scenic Train Rides to Take With Fido

Posted by Billy Francis

This article was updated in October 2021.

There’s nothing as rewarding as an adventure with your best friend by your side, and no better way to see the varied landscapes of the world than through the windows of a gently coasting locomotive. These world-class, pet-friendly train rides will have you and Fido crossing vast Nordic landscapes, riding alongside expansive lochs in Scotland, following in the footsteps of wizards and more!

Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway, PA

Jim Thorpe, PA
“Nothing like the feel of wind in your ears.” Photo by @visitphilly_abbystyle

Nicknamed ‘The Switzerland of America,’ Jim Thorpe is a great weekend getaway for you and your canine companion. Walk your pup along the streets of the charming downtown village, hike the D&L Trail at Lehigh Gorge State Park, or head straight to the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway, a featured attraction in the 2021 edition of our Ruff Guide to the United States. Climb aboard an enclosed or open-air coach from the 1920s for a 16-mile journey through the beautiful Pennsylvania wilderness. On the one-hour narrated train ride, you’ll learn about anthracite coal’s role in the industrial revolution and enjoy stunning views of the Lehigh Gorge. The train operates on weekends and holidays from late May to late December.

Your tired pooch can take off his conductor’s hat and spend the night just a few minutes from Jim Thorpe at the Country Inn & Suites by Radisson Lehighton. While Fido relaxes in your cozy guest room, you can get in a quick workout at the hotel’s fitness center or take a refreshing swim in the heated indoor pool.

The Jacobite, Scotland

Fort William, UK
“Did I miss my train??” Photo by @woodybway

Fort William to Mallaig may not ring any bells (or whistles), but the Hogwarts Express probably will. The 21-arched Glenfinnan viaduct that The Jacobite passes over has been immortalized in the “Harry Potter” movies and signifies the start of Harry and his friends' adventures. Although you’ll recognize some of the surroundings from the films, there are no chocolate frogs on the snack trolley, and the train sadly doesn’t end up at the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The Jacobite is a classic steam locomotive that traverses rural surroundings along its 84-mile round trip. You and Fido will love the journey, which pauses on the viaduct to let you admire the sweeping views before crossing the highest mountain and deepest freshwater loch in Britain. There are two possible stops along the way. The first is at Glenfinnan Station for a much-needed break for Fido. The next, by request to the guard, is at Arisaig, a village known for its rocky coastal views, blue seas and white-sand beaches.

The end of the line is at Mallaig, a thriving fishing port with a ferry terminal. The 90-minute lunchtime stopover gives you plenty of time to enjoy a meal at Chlachain Inn, where dogs are allowed indoors. If you want to extend your stay in the area, book a pet-friendly room at the West Highland Hotel or take the pet-friendly Caledonian MacBrayne Hebridean & Clyde Ferries to Armadale on the Isle of Skye. There, you can explore medieval castles and epic landscapes that would make an ideal setting for a quick game of Quidditch.

The Jacobite permits one medium-sized dog per passenger to travel in Standard Class. Pets are not allowed on the seats.

Delaware and Ulster Railroad, NY

Arkville, NY
“Catskill” has a nice ring to it, right Fido? Photo by Facebook.com/delawareandulsterrailroad

The Delaware and Ulster Railroad is a historic gem that keeps people coming back for an unforgettable train ride in the Catskills. Dogs (and cats, although they rarely make the effort) are invited to join their owners on the Excursion Train. Fido will receive his very own ticket, which he can get punched to keep for his scrapbook.

The two-hour trip spans 24 miles of relatively flat land between the historic towns of Arkville and Roxbury. Riders pass pastoral farms and quaint hamlets, travel through tunnels of trees that display an array of vivid colors during the fall months, and hug the east branch of the Delaware River. Beyond these dramatic backdrops, the silhouette of the Catskill Mountains in the distance makes for a stunning photo op for you and Fido. After riding the train, send Fido to school at the Little Red Schoolhouse in Arkville.

The Bergen Line, Norway

Oslo, NO
I choo choo choose you, Fido! Photo by @mr.traindriver

Since its inception in 1909, The Bergen Line has transported people across 310 miles of vast Nordic country, from Norway’s capital of Oslo to its second city, Bergen. There’s really no journey like it anywhere else on Earth. Within minutes of leaving the capital, the train is engulfed by sublime countryside. Hilltop farms gradually dissipate as you approach Lake Krøderen, a picturesque body of water. The heavily forested area surrounding Hallingdalselva River follows, like a scene stripped straight from “Star Wars.” In fact, Hardangerjøkulen Glacier near Finse, the highest station in Norway and one of the stops on the Bergen Line, is where George Lucas filmed scenes of the planet Hoth for “The Empire Strikes Back.”

Fido might look out the window and notice local dogs who aren’t enjoying yet another vacation. These hard-working Huskies can often be spotted thundering through the snow around Taugevann. The train weaves alongside clear rivers and fjords before finally stopping nearly seven hours after departure at the historic Bergen Train Station. The colorful and pet-friendly Marken Gjestehus is a short walk away.

The Bergen Line accepts small dogs for free, while larger dogs may be charged the price of a child's ticket to board.

The Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad, OR

Garibaldi, OR
Harley’s first train ride was a blast. Photo by @rmcm777

All aboard The Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad, a steam train adventure on the West Coast. Dogs are welcome to join in the fun on this historic, repurposed train that winds along tree-lined and coastal tracks, taking in views across Miami Cove and Tillamook Bay. Passengers bringing their canine companions along for the ride are asked to sit in the open-top section of the train, which gives pups more room to stretch their legs. It’ll be paradise for Fido, like sticking his head out of the car window, except his whole body can enjoy the cooling breeze. The train sets off from the station in Garibaldi, a charming fishing village. Before you board, try locally caught seafood at Garibaldi Portside Bistro, a pet-friendly restaurant with coastal views to accompany your food.

The 90-minute trip leads up the coast and stops at the town of Wheeler, where you and your best friend can explore a cluster of antique stores, like Wheeler Station Antiques. From here, your journey takes you to Rockaway Beach, where the mountains meet the sea. Reserve a room at the Surfside Oceanfront Resort for a beachside vacation far from the hustle and bustle of any major city.

The Oregon Scenic Railroad welcomes pets on Regular Coastal, Spring Break, and Fall Splendor Excursions.

The Settle - Carlisle Railway, UK

Settle, UK
So much grass, so little time. Photo by @terriertadventures

Experience the British countryside on the incomparable Settle - Carlisle Railway. The train winds through the Yorkshire Dales and Cumbrian Fells, providing a glorious backdrop of windswept moors, wide valleys and rolling hills. Before setting off, grab a drink at The Golden Lion. This converted 17th-century coaching inn is now a pet-friendly pub where dogs are greeted with a water bowl.

Once aboard the train, gaze wide-eyed at the views from either side of Ribblehead Viaduct as you ride over it. The quarter-mile-long overpass is more than 100 feet tall and is made up of 24 arches. There are eight stops between Settle and Carlisle, each a historic railway station with its own tale to tell. If Carlisle, the train’s final destination, is also your last stop, the pet-friendly Hallmark Hotel Carlisle is an easy stroll from the station.

The Settle-Carlisle Railway accepts two dogs per person for no additional fee. Dogs may not occupy seats and must fit near your feet without blocking the walkway.

Skunk Train, CA

Fort Bragg, CA
“We’re sorry, but you’ll have to find another seat.” Photo by @skunktrain

The Skunk Train stinks, right Fido? Actually, once upon a time it did. The train's heating units were once powered by crude oil and the engines by gasoline, and the fumes pouring in through the open windows of the carriages reminded passengers of the spray of a skunk. These days, nothing smells amiss about this trip, which transports tourists eager to get a glimpse of ancient redwoods and pastoral meadows. There are two routes you can enjoy on the Skunk Train. The Pudding Creek Express is a 7-mile journey that starts at Fort Bragg and passes through Noyo River Canyon, the epicenter of the area’s redwood population, before ending at the old logging town of Glen Blair. Wolf Tree Turn is an 8.5-mile trip that departs from Willits and embarks on a two-hour journey through a tunnel and into Noyo River Canyon.

A stop at Crowley allows your pooch to stretch his legs and have a pee break. And just two minutes from the train station in Fort Bragg, you can rest after your fun-filled day at The Beach House Inn. Pets receive a welcome bag and have access to a private dog park at a sister property half a mile away.

Dogs are welcome aboard the Skunk Train for an additional fee of $10.95.

The Caledonian Sleeper Train, UK

London, UK
They call this a sneaky sleeper selfie. Photo by @caledoniansleeper

The Caledonian Sleeper Train is a pet-friendly fleet of trains that runs from London to some of Scotland’s quintessential destinations. The journeys all take place at night, which might have you wondering how it can be so scenic. When you witness the sunrise over Scotland’s archetypal lochs, valleys and mountains, you’ll understand how these trains made it onto our list. Snuggle into your cozy cabin with Fido and help him adjust his eye mask as you settle in for the night. When the sun rises, you’ll open your eyes to another country and the start of a brand new adventure.

There are many routes to choose from, but one of the most popular will take you to Edinburgh, where you can walk the cobbled streets and tour the Scottish capital’s world-famous castles, dungeons and monuments. One day isn’t enough to explore this magical city, so book a stay at the ibis Styles Edinburgh Centre St Andrew Square. The hotel is close to numerous pet-friendly activities including Greyfriars Bobby and The Potter Trail.

The Caledonian Sleeper Train accepts two pets of any size per cabin, but passengers will be charged a cleaning fee of $38.

Conway Scenic Railroad, NH

North Conway, NH
“We are SO ready for this!” Photo by @ssjvap

Our last stop is the Conway Scenic Railroad, located where the White Mountain Range passes over the border between New Hampshire and Maine. Departing from the historic North Conway Train Station, there are two pet-friendly journeys to choose from, and Fido will even receive a green Doggy Ticket prior to boarding. The Valley Train takes you on a picturesque route, crossing over the occasional babbling stream and river, with the beautiful backdrop of the mountains in the distance. You can either travel half of the route to Conway, which is about 11 miles and takes just under an hour, or go the whole 21 miles to Bartlett on a trip that lasts for almost two hours.

The second route is the Notch Train. Spanning 60 miles, the five-hour round trip covers an epic stretch of country from Portland through the White Mountains to Vermont. Your journey takes you over Crawford Notch’s unbelievably sheer bluffs, steep ravines, choppy streams and dramatic mountain vistas. You’ll then cross Frankenstein Trestle, a huge wooden bridge built in 1875. Fido won’t have to hold it in for the whole ride, as there’s a layover at Crawford Station. Immerse yourself in New England’s incredible woodland at The Overlook in nearby Carroll County.

Conway Scenic Railroad welcomes one dog per party for no additional fee in Coach Class.

Ready for a Road Trip?

Photo by Linda Segerfeldt


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