Birding Across America by Train: May 28—Jun 10, 2018

Register for WaitlistTour Details

Price: $7,695
This trip is sold out.
Departs: Albany
Ends: Seattle
Tour Limit: 14
Operations Manager: Greg Lopez
Download Itinerary: PDF (4.6 MB)

Route Map


Tour Leaders


Michael O'Brien

Michael O'Brien is a freelance artist, author, and environmental consultant living in Cape M...


Louise Zemaitis

Louise Zemaitis is an artist and naturalist living in Cape May, New Jersey where she is a po...

More Information

Register for the Waiting List

This departure is sold out! Add your name to the waiting list, or inquire about this tour by calling our office (1-800-328-VENT or 512-328-5221), or emailing us (

Common Loon

Common Loon— Photo: Jeff Grabert/shutterstock


A sensational cross-country birding trip aboard Amtrak trains, linking New York’s Adirondack Mountains, the prairies of North Dakota, and Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.

This remarkable 14-day adventure combines the excitement of a cross-country train trip with rewarding birding in some of the classic landscapes of North America. Our route will take us from the Northeast through the Midwest, and across the northern tier of the United States, all the way to the blue waters of the Pacific Northwest. En route, we will experience a marvelous collection of ecosystems, breathtaking in diversity: the river valleys, mixed forests, lakes, and bogs of Upstate New York; the prairies, farmlands, and wide open spaces of the Great Plains of North Dakota; and the snow-capped mountains, old-growth forests, and rocky coastline of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.

Around Albany, New York we’ll visit Carolinian forest in pursuit of brilliantly colored Blue-winged and Prairie warblers, Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and Baltimore Oriole. Based at a lodge in the Adirondacks we’ll seek birds of eastern woodland and boreal bogs such as Ruffed Grouse, Barred Owl, Black-backed Woodpecker, Gray Jay, and a long list of warblers including Blackburnian, Canada, Chestnut-sided, Black-throated Green, and Black-throated Blue. We will see Common Loons and hear their haunting calls at night, one of the great sounds in nature.

Gray Jay

Gray Jay— Photo: Michael O’Brien


Boarding the Lake Shore Limited, we will travel overnight to Chicago, rumbling along the south shore of Lake Erie before connecting to the Empire Builder. Toward sundown we’ll enjoy dinner in the dining car while traveling through the Wisconsin Delles and along the Mississippi River. Awakening the next morning in the Great Plains, we will get off the train in Minot, North Dakota, and spend three days birding the prairies in search of Sharp-tailed Grouse, Upland Sandpiper, Sprague’s Pipit, and Baird’s Sparrow. Pothole marshes here hold a huge assortment of nesting and migrant waterbirds including grebes, phalaropes, Franklin’s Gulls, Black Terns, and much more.

The final leg of our train trip will take us through the northern Rockies, skirting Glacier National Park, and on to the Pacific coast. Our trip will conclude with three days of birding on the Olympic Peninsula, where we should see Rhinoceros Auklet, Marbled Murrelet, Black Oystercatcher, Red-breasted Sapsucker, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, and Varied Thrush. A day in Olympic National Park will provide breathtaking mountain scenery.

Conditions at all hotels good to very good; cuisine very good; conditions aboard Amtrak good, with comfortable beds and showers; a mix of weather conditions is likely; warm weather expected, but prepare for cold as well. Long days with some walking on uneven terrain likely.