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About Amtrak California Zephyr

The California Zephyr is an Amtrak train that connects Chicago, Illinois to San Francisco, California. It has stops in several major cities across the Midwest and Southwest United States. Overall, the Amtrak California Zephyr stops in 35 cities, averaging 2144 train trips every month. Taking the train the full length from Chicago to San Francisco takes just over 50 hours, but there are also much shorter trips you can take with the Zephyr. Currently, tickets begin at just $8.64 while the most expensive tickets are priced at $418.59.

Contact Amtrak California Zephyr

Phone number: US: 1 (800) 872-7245

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Amtrak California Zephyr train coverage

Daily Trips153
stations35
cities35
countries1

Amtrak California Zephyr train amenities

Amtrak California Zephyr
Air conditioningAir conditioning
RestroomRestroom
Extra legroomExtra legroom
Loyalty rewardsLoyalty rewards
Power outletPower outlet
SnacksSnacks

What travelers are saying about Amtrak California Zephyr

Here’s what Wanderu users who have booked trips with Amtrak California Zephyr had to say about their travel experience.

Traveling During COVID-19

"Masks are required on the train."
based on 22 reviews

Onboard Experience

"The WiFi service worked well."
based on 42 reviews
"Wonderful conductors on board who took time to share the highlights."
based on 115 reviews
"Good price. Very easy and cheap."
based on 141 reviews
"Departed and arrived on time."
based on 82 reviews
"Seats tilt back nicely and there's even a foot rest. "
based on 144 reviews
"Very clean and tidy."
based on 128 reviews

Amtrak California Zephyr Routes & Network

Amtrak California Zephyr’s train network features 491 train routes that connect 35 cities serving 35 stations. On average, Amtrak California Zephyr performs about 153 train trips every day. The top cities to which Amtrak California Zephyr offers the highest number of daily train service include Omaha and Chicago.

Top Cities Served by Amtrak California Zephyr

CityRouteEarliest trainLatest train
Denver166:14 am5:05 am
Reno126:47 am6:30 am
Chicago146:42 am5:31 am
Glenwood Springs115:14 am5:05 am
Salt Lake City105:14 am5:05 am
Omaha95:54 am4:49 am
Grand Junction55:14 am5:05 am
Sacramento155:14 am6:30 am
Lincoln146:42 am4:49 am

Top States Served by Amtrak California Zephyr

StateCities ServedDaily TripsTop city
Iowa588Ottumwa
Utah486Salt Lake City
Nebraska5206Omaha
Nevada390Reno
Colorado6215Denver
California8558Sacramento
Illinois4756Chicago

Amtrak California Zephyr reviews from Wanderu customers

Overall review score for Amtrak California Zephyr

(Based on 173 reviews)

4.1
Ratings (Out of 5)
Comfort

4.4

Timeliness

3.4

Staff

4.2

Value

3.7

Condition

4.2

Amtrak California Zephyr passenger reviews

4.0

Douglas

September 30, 2021- Visiting family

Grand Junction to Denver

Pros: inexpensive travel. Cons: Speed. Tips: plan on long day.

Pros: inexpensive travel. Cons: Speed. Tips: plan on long day.

4.0

Peter

August 28, 2021- Vacation

Denver to Glenwood Springs

Pros: Awesome scenery on the way there and back, the main purpose of my trip. Cons: Clean the bathrooms, they were a real mess, otherwise it was good. Tips: bring your own food, food on the train i very expensive and not very good.

Pros: Awesome scenery on the way there and back, the main purpose of my trip. Cons: Clean the bathrooms, they were a real mess, otherwise it was good. Tips: bring your own food, food on the train i very expensive and not very good.

5.0

Martin

August 20, 2021- Vacation

Glenwood Springs to Denver

Pros: Comfortable and pleasant the whole way through. Cons: No need for improvements from what I saw. The official kept us informed and interested during the whole trip. Tips: Just lean back and enjoy the ride.

Pros: Comfortable and pleasant the whole way through. Cons: No need for improvements from what I saw. The official kept us informed and interested during the whole trip. Tips: Just lean back and enjoy the ride.

5.0

Martin

August 18, 2021- Vacation

Denver to Glenwood Springs

Pros: In general, I thought the entire trip was educational, informative, and very memorable. It was an experience I'll tell my friends about for a long time. Cons: I can't think of any needed improvements, and my hearty thank you to all of the staff involved. Tips: Y...

Pros: In general, I thought the entire trip was educational, informative, and very memorable. It was an experience I'll tell my friends about for a long time. Cons: I can't think of any needed improvements, and my hearty thank you to all of the staff involved. Tips: You might bring a book or two between opportunities for excellent photo opportunities, of which there will be many.

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1.0

Tomianne

June 13, 2021- Couples trip

Denver to Grand Junction

Pros: I liked the scenery ONLY - I was so very disappointed in the rules that Amtrack required We constantly- I mean constantly had to slow so much that it ruined the ride - a few times the train was required to totally stop - such wonderful beauty to observe but ruin ...

Pros: I liked the scenery ONLY - I was so very disappointed in the rules that Amtrack required We constantly- I mean constantly had to slow so much that it ruined the ride - a few times the train was required to totally stop - such wonderful beauty to observe but ruin by a long starting and stopping train - we were supposed to leave at 8:05AM & left at approx 9:45AM & did not arrive in Grand Junction till 6:15PM & was supposed to arrive at 4:00PM -. Cons: Clean the bathrooms better!!!!! Tips: As much as I loved the natural beauty of what I saw I would not recommend this trip to any of my friends - the people that work the train were nice but it felt like Amtrack might be going broke because it is not taking care of the tracks or the restrooms & lots of dirty floors present in the train cars.

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Most popular Amtrak California Zephyr routes

The train from Omaha to Chicago is Amtrak California Zephyr’s most popular route. Trips from Salt Lake City to Reno and Denver to Lincoln are also highly popular.

Top Amtrak California Zephyr routes

RouteDaily TripsDurationPrice
Omaha to Chicago19h 36m$78
Salt Lake City to Reno19h 57m$47
Denver to Lincoln17h 12m$77
Denver to Glenwood Springs15h 41m$46
Truckee to Reno11h 18m$14
Denver to Grand Junction17h 52m$54
Denver to Chicago118h 42m$123
Denver to Omaha18h 51m$83
Sacramento to Reno14h 47m$47

Amtrak California Zephyr Cancellation Policy

All Amtrak California Zephyr tickets can be cancelled for a full refund within the first 24 hours after purchase. If more than 24 hours have passed, the cancellation policy and change fee structure for Amtrak bookings depend on the type of fare you purchased:

Saver Fare tickets: A 25% fee applies for any changes. If you cancel the trip, you will receive an eVoucher worth 75% of the original ticket price.

Value Fare tickets: No change fees and fully refundable up to 15 or more days before departure. If cancelled less than 14 days before departure, a 25% cancellation fee applies.

Flexible, Business and Premium Fare tickets: No change fees and fully refundable if cancelled or changed before departure.

Tickets are non-refundable and non-exchangeable after the train has departed, so be sure to make your updates as soon as possible if your travel plans change.

If your Amtrak California Zephyr ticket is eligible for change or cancellation, you can do that by calling Amtrak’s customer service phone number at 1 (800) 872-7245. To cancel or change your booking online, simply go to www.amtrak.com and click on the “Modify Trip” tab in the upper right corner.

Wanderu also offers an affordable trip protection option by Allianz Global Assistance that you can purchase when booking your tickets. In addition to 24-hour assistance during your trip and coverage for lost or damaged baggage, trip protection can help you get your money back in case you need to cancel or change your trip. You can file a claim to have any Amtrak change or cancellation fees reimbursed if you cannot travel due to covered reasons such as illness, extreme weather, or required work shifts.

Amtrak California Zephyr Train Guide & FAQs

How long is the California Zephyr trip?

The California Zephyr is one of the longest passenger train routes in the world. End-to-end, the full journey takes 51 hours and 20 minutes to get from Union Station in Chicago to Emeryville Station in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Where does the California Zephyr stop?

In total, the Zephyr stops at train stations in 33 cities spanning 7 states. There are several major cities on the route between Chicago and San Francisco, including:

  • Sacramento, California
  • Reno, Nevada
  • Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Omaha, Nebraska

Do California Zephyr trains have WiFi?

No, unfortunately Amtrak California Zephyr does not offer WiFi aboard its trains at this time. However, we find that a good book makes the time fly by and streaming services like Netflix allow you download TV shows and movies that you can then watch during your trip. Plan ahead and you will stay entertained during the entire train ride.

Are there power outlets or USB plugs on the train?

Yes, there are power outlets onboard Amtrak California Zephyr trains. You can generally find one or two sockets per row of seats, so be a good traveller and check if your seat neighbor might want to charge up their devices as well. With the onboard power outlets, you can charge both a computer and USB devices with a USB power adapter that typically comes with most phones and tablets.

Since Amtrak California Zephyr might sometimes use replacement train vehicles, not all trips are guaranteed to have power points. We recommend to bring a power bank to charge your phone for all trips over 2 hours, just in case.

What is Amtrak California Zephyr's schedule?

On a typical day, Amtrak California Zephyr has 153 scheduled train trips in total. However, the exact departure and arrival times vary depending on the day and route. The best way to find the exact schedule for your trip is to use the search tool on this page.

Can you pick up will call tickets at the station?

No, Amtrak California Zephyr does not offer will call tickets. You should purchase your tickets online and make sure you have everything you need to board before you arrive at the station.

Do you need an ID to get on the train?

Yes, Amtrak California Zephyr requires you to present an ID to an agent to be allowed to board the train. Make sure you have identification issued by a government agency that meets the carrier’s requirements. Alternative IDs, such as a college ID, won’t work.

What are Amtrak California Zephyr’s COVID-19 policies?

Visit our COVID-19 Travel Guide to view the most up-to-date information about Amtrak California Zephyr’s cleaning protocols and adjusted ticket change policies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Are there bathrooms on California Zephyr trains?

Yes, there are bathrooms on Amtrak California Zephyr trains. The bathrooms are pretty basic and include a toilet, toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Most bathrooms don’t have running water. As you will be using a bathroom on a moving vehicle, please use caution and hold on to a rail at all times.

Are meals or beverages available?

Amtrak California Zephyr provides snacks to satisfy your hunger during your travels. Be sure to pack a credit card and some cash in case you get hungry.

Do you have to print your Amtrak California Zephyr ticket?

Amtrak California Zephyr does not require a printed ticket to board the train. Instead, an eTicket is sent to you by email when you make your reservation. You can use your smartphone to show this eTicket to the ticketing agent as you board.

Does Amtrak California Zephyr offer any premium features like extra legroom or movies?

Amtrak California Zephyr goes the extra distance to deliver premium features to its customers.

Do you find yourself squished in a regular seat or just love having extra room to sprawl out? Well you’re in luck as Amtrak California Zephyr offers extra legroom seating. Since there is no standard of what extra legroom is, the extra space you get may vary between train lines, but getting extra is always good.

Cheap Amtrak California Zephyr tickets recently found on Wanderu

With 153 Amtrak California Zephyr trips per day, there are a lot of great deals to uncover for the bargain hunter and Amtrak California Zephyr tickets start at just $8.64. Check out some of the latest and greatest deals snatched up by Wanderu users.