I’m happy to report that one of Amtrak’s most scenic trains, the Amtrak Cascades route service is back in service following a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.
Amtrak Cascades route between Eugene and Portland, Oregon to Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. is incredibly beautiful and possibly even more scenic in the fall and winter.
I’ve been on the Cascades route several times in all seasons and this train route is always amazing. This post explains why a Pacific Northwest journey is such a beautiful train ride, where it travels, what you need for border crossing into Canada and what to expect onboard.
Amtrak Cascades Route to Canada from Seattle
Amtrak Cascades departs at 7:50 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. from Seattle’s King Street Station to Vancouver, British Columbia.
Along the way, the train has five station stops, and arrives into Vancouver at 11:50 a.m. and 11 p.m. for the evening train.
Hugging the rugged coastline for most of the route, Amtrak station stops in Washington include Edmonds, Everett, Stanwood, Mount Vernon and Bellingham, before crossing the Canadian border.
Heading south with the same itinerary, the Cascades train departs from Vancouver at 6:35 a.m. arriving into Seattle at 11:00 a.m. The later train departs from Vancouver at 5:45 p.m. and pulls into Seattle’s Union Station at 10:10 p.m.
Where to stay near Seattle’s Amtrak King Street Station
For convenience, there’s an Embassy Suites hotel nearly adjacent to Seattle’s beautifully restored King Street station. Just grab your luggage and walk next door.
Amtrak service between Vancouver, Seattle, Portland and Eugene Resumes
Cascades Daily Round Trip Service
- Four daily round trip trains between Portland and Seattle for a total of eight trains
- Two daily round trip trains between Seattle and Vancouver, BC, Canada with four trains
- Two daily round trip trains between Eugene and Portland has four trains
- Several connecting buses go between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C.
For Amtrak passengers arriving into Seattle on the Empire Builder or for those who prefer not to drive, Amtrak has four daily buses that run in both directions between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C.
While train enthusiasts love the California Zephyr for its spectacular vistas, Amtrak Cascades route can hold its own when it comes to breathtaking scenery.
Why is the Cascades Route So Scenic?
The Cascades route parallels the ocean for much of the 200-mile route, similar to the Coast Starlight. When traveling inland from Eugene, Oregon, the Cascades train crosses the wide Columbia River Gorge near Portland, with views of Mount Hood in the distance.
Snow-capped mountain peaks, towering pine forests and several scenic switchbacks make this ride even more special. Especially when seen from the comfort of Amtrak’s oversized seats, complete with drop-down snack table and electric outlets.
Amtrak provides complimentary Wi-Fi on the Washington leg of the Cascades route. There will be a few areas where there’s no cell service, but that doesn’t last too long.
Onboard the train, passengers can mosey over to the Café Car for snacks or meals. Be sure to try the regional Pacific Northwest food and beverages offered on the Bistro Menu.
What Documents Do I Need to Enter Canada or the U.S?
When crossing the border between the U.S. and Canada, for U.S. citizens over 16 years old, a passport is the recommended identification to enter Canada and back into the U.S. Other acceptable forms of identification include:
- United States Passport Card
- Trusted Traveler Card (NEXUS, FAST or SENTRI)
- Enhanced Driver’s License (issued only by Washington State, Minnesota, Michigan, New York and Vermont)
Keep in mind that passengers aboard Amtrak Cascades crossing the U.S./Canada border are subject to inspection by Canadian and American law enforcement officials.
On the southbound Cascades when entering the United States, passengers must inform U.S. Border inspectors if they are carrying any fruits, vegetables, plants, plant products, live animals, meats and animal products, regardless of whether they are allowed.
For further information, contact the appropriate U.S. or Canadian government offices prior to travel:
Canadian Travel Resources:
www.canadainternational.gc.ca | 1-800-O-CANADA (1-800-622-6232)
United States Travel Resources:
www.travel.state.gov | 1-800-FED-INFO (1-800-333-4636)
You should read Amtrak’s complete list of required documents for crossing the U.S. and Canada border aboard the Cascades train.
Mandatory Heath Requirements to Cross the Borders
Proof of Covid vaccination is no longer required to enter either country. However, Canada does suggest that you might want to wear a high-quality face mask.
How Do I Purchase Tickets for the Amtrak Cascades?
Tickets for Amtrak Cascades to Canada can purchased at Amtrak.com, AmtrakCascades.com, the Amtrak app, Amtrak ticket desks and Amtrak kiosks. Or call 1-800-USA-RAIL. Canadians can also book their tickets at ViaRail.ca, and through 1-888-VIA-RAIL.
I’m the editor and creator of CruiseMaven.com, a solo traveler cruising the world on waves and wheels, collecting recipes along the way. I hope my articles and photos entertain, advise and inspire you to travel the world without flying. Take a breath…stop for a local meal and a glass of wine along the way.