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Amtrak, Via Rail
Bus Travel, Canada - USA
Travel the most scenic routes
Tips for planning your Greyhound trip in Canada and the U.S.
Scenic Greyhound routes include riding along through western New Mexico.
Try to include as many of these scenic routes in your Greyhound
itinerary as you can. These tend to be in the western parts of Canada and the U.S.
These routes cover Canada and the U.S., but the most spectacular ones are in the western part of these countries. For shorter regional routes such as Boston to Washington, DC via New York City and Los Angeles to Las Vegas check out Boltbus and Megabus, which usually have frequent service and cheap prices.
Note that Canada and the U.S. have separate Greyhound companies. You can book cross-border trips on either.
The most scenic Greyhound and other bus routes include —
- Banff National Park to Jasper National Park:
Think of this as travelling through Switzerland without most of its people.
You will remember this incredibly beautiful trip for a lifetime.
The drive takes you between two ranges of the Rockies and over mountain passes, with frequent vistas of wildlife. Other than the excellent road you are on, you'll notice nearly no impact of humans in this pristine region.
The Brewster buses stop at the Columbia Ice field, Lake Louise, etc. .
The Columbia Ice field has become a poster child for global warming and can be sad to experience but otherwise this route is fantastic.
I cannot recommend this route enough. It operates year round weather permitting. The road has been engineered superbly, so nervous mountain travellers will likely not have issues.
Brewster Express has operated Banff - Lake Louise - Jasper service for decades. It also serves the Banff - Calgary route.
- Calgary to Vancouver via Banff and
(Currently operated by RiderExpress.ca - Other than Seattle to Vancouver, Greyhound no longer serves western Canada.)
Travelling from Calgary to Vancouver or vice versa takes you through four of Canada's most scenic national parks: Banff, Yoho, Glacier (the park
in Canada, not the one in the U.S.), and Mount Revelstoke.
This, especially the portion between Banff and Mount Revelstoke national parks, is one of the most spectacular routes in the world—year round.
During mid-Summer—especially westbound—the Banff (or Calgary) to Vancouver portion may be done as a one day trip. Nevertheless, try to include an overnight stop along the way in Revelstoke, Kamloops, or a nearby city at any time of year, so that you don't miss the scenery in the coastal ranges before Vancouver.
If you wish budget accommodation, check out hostel listings in Kamloops and Revelstoke. These are both good places to overnight between Calgary and Banff.
Strangely, the countryside west of Kamloops becomes almost desert-like. The coastal mountains capture the moisture.
As with all the Canadian Rockies routes, book accommodation well ahead of time to avoid hassles. You are not the only person planning to visit this beautiful area!
- Vancouver to Jasper National Park via Kamloops:
Although Greyhound Canada no longer serves this route through the Canadian Rockies, Via Rail Canada still does.
In Dr. V's opinion this is not nearly as scenic as the Banff route to Vancouver.
Note that you can combine this route with the two routes above to create a fantastic circle trip: Vancouver to Jasper to Banff to Vancouver. You must take this eastbound for best scenery.
- High Road through Rocky Mountain National Park:
In Denver you can book a fabulous full day trip to Rocky Mountain National Park from Denver from late May (if the snow has been removed) until snow closes its main road usually in September or October. It usually takes until near the Memorial Day weekend for the deep snow to be cleared from the alpine highway that transits the park.
This tour is somewhat expensive, but is well worth.
Be sure that your tour includes the Trail Ridge Highway. This is one of the few bus routes in the U.S. that ascend above the tree line.
This highway reaches so high that you actually look down on many peaks of the Rocky Mountain range. Snow packs line the roadway even in late Summer, and wildlife sightings are frequent.
You travel to the national park via the Winter Park ski resort and Grand Lake and return via the summer resort town of Estes Park.
Because this route ascends to 12,138 feet above sea level, travellers with heart trouble and other possibly impacted conditions may wish to consult their doctors prior to departure.
At times, clouds and fog may hamper your views at such high elevations, but you see enough to make this trip worthwhile on any day.
In Denver you can also book a wonderful day trip to the Garden of the Gods, an area of fabulous colourful rock formations and vistas, as well as Pikes Peak, near Colorado Springs.
To climb Pikes Peak, you use a Swiss-style cog railway to ascend to over 14,000 feet in elevation.
The views are magnificent!
- Portland to San Francisco via the Oregon
Coast and Redwood Highway:
Sadly, Greyhound eliminated its service along the beautiful Oregon coastline. Moreover, Greyhound no longer serves Redwood National Park. What a terrible shame.
If you have very limited time to see the redwoods, take a half day Gray Line tour to the Muir Woods National Monument from San
This visits America's first redwood park.
Its route crosses the Golden Gate Bridge and also visits picturesque Sausalito.
You can still travel by Greyhound between San Francisco and Arcata or Eureka, in the redwood tree area and then rent a car to see Humboldt State Park and Redwood National Park. In conjunction with its trains Amtrak also offers bus service to the same cities. Neither takes the most scenic route.
The Arcata airport provides the most convenient place to rent a car in this area.
Once in Arcata or Eureka, take local transit to at least Humboldt Redwoods State Park. It contains the densest biomass in the world and is simply spectacular. Redwood National Park service has much less frequent bus service.
Arcata by-the-way had the first Green Party government in the U.S. and may be the most environmentally friendly in the U.S. It's a joy to visit.
- Vancouver to Pemberton via Whistler
Various companies such as Epic Rides travel the beautiful route between Vancouver and Whistler.
Sit on the left leaving Vancouver.
The scenery starts as you leave Vancouver via the Loins Gate Bridge.
You are almost never out of sight of grand mountain vistas, and you also follow the scenic Howe Sound much of the way to Whistler.
- Los Angeles to San Francisco via Santa Barbara:
Actually, this route is not an especially scenic by itself.
Surprisingly, Greyhound misses much of the best scenery on its through coaches between Los Angeles and San Francisco with just some glimpses of the Pacific near Santa Barbara.
On the other hand, this Greyhound route is far more scenic than the ones taken by Greyhound service via the San Joaquin Valley.
What makes this Greyhound route worthwhile are the stops that you can make.
These include Santa Barbara, Salinas (for Monterey, Carmel, and Big Sur), and Santa Cruz.
Many call Santa Barbara America's Riviera and they are correct. It is the premier resort town along the California coast. As with the Riviera, Santa Barbara is beautiful flower-filled city nestled between beaches and mountains.
Try to avoid this expensive city on weekends, if you plan to stay overnight in a hotel.
Santa Barbara has many campsites in state parks nearby. In addition there are super cheap U.S. Forest Service campgrounds in as little as 10 miles from Santa Barbara.
Very pleasant Santa Cruz is more welcoming to hotel travellers "on the cheap" and makes a great place to relax during warm weather. You will also find a much younger crowd than Santa Barbara. It's not nearly as charming as Santa Barbara, however.
The Santa Cruz main beach and boardwalk are within walking distance of the Greyhound terminal. There's a conveniently-located hostel and many state park campgrounds close by.
Amtrak also reaches Santa Cruz via its bus service from San Jose.
At Salinas, use Monterey Transit to reach Monterey and Carmel.
From the Monterey Transit Plaza, you can then take a local bus a short distance to famed Big Sur, situated on one of the most beautiful portions of the California coastline. You will find this route awesome!
The bus line operates several times a day to the wonderful Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park passing Big Sur Point Lobos State Reserve.
Accommodation in this area tends to be quite expensive.
Other scenic routes to travel during the day include:
Above: Glenwood Hot Springs pool. If possible, break journey at Glenwood Springs. Frequent public transportation takes you to nearby Aspen and there are adventure activities galore, including rafting on the Colorado river.
- Denver to Grand Junction:
Now marred somewhat in places by too much ski resort condo construction,
this still very scenic route passes snow-capped mountains throughout
much of the summer.
This fits in well with trips from eastern
points to Las Vegas or Los Angeles.
For information about a fun stopover in Glenwood Springs along
this highway, please see the Amtrak
scenic routes page.
- Madison (Wisconsin) to Minneapolis via La Crosse
Jefferson Lines honours Greyhound tickets and many passes.
Northbound, sit on the left for best views of the Mississippi River, and then change sides once you cross the river.
- Albuquerque (New Mexico) to Flagstaff and Kingston
- Reno to Sacramento (California)
- Portland (Oregon) to The Dalles (Oregon)
Sit on the left eastbound or on the right westbound for scenic vistas of the Columbia River gorge.
- Cleveland to New York City via Milesburg
(Interstate 80, Pennsylvania),
The portion in west-central and central Pennsylvania is often very scenic. Be sure to travel it during the day.
- Pittsburgh to Harrisburg (Pennsylvania)
This route take you through some very pleasant mountain scenery.
This is especially enjoyable during summer and the autumn colour season.
Greyhound through coaches from New York City to St. Louis travel this route
- Asheville (North Carolina) to Knoxville
Scenic but it is far better to rent a car
to drive between these cities via the Great Smoky Mountains National
Park, or to do a circle trip via the park from Asheville with a car.
- Redding (California) to Eugene (Oregon)
Seeing Mount Shasta up close is a highlight of this trip. .
- Boston to Montreal
Vermont Transit is an affiliate of Greyhound that honours Greyhound tickets and passes.
The really scenic portion is in Vermont between Burlington and White River Junction, New Hampshire..
All best wishes for a super travelling experience!
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