Review Amtrak Cascades from Seattle to Vancouver: A Guide

Traveling from Seattle to Vancouver? Traveling by Amtrak Cascades is one of the best ways to make that trip. In this blog post, you’ll get a comprehensive overview of the Amtrak Cascades route, including benefits of taking the train, trip tips and advice, major attractions along the way, stops and destinations, packages available, transportation and lodging options, on-board amenities and services, and learn the historic background of the route. So, if you are planning a trip from Seattle to Vancouver, then this is the post for you! Let’s jump right in and explore what traveling on Amtrak Cascades has to offer.

Overview of the Amtrak Cascades route

The Amtrak Cascades route takes you on a 4 hour journey from Seattle to Vancouver. You can enjoy amazing views of the Puget Sound and the Rocky Mountains while you travel. Major cities included in the route that the Amtrak Cascades travels through are Seattle and Vancouver. The route is offered daily, though times may vary.

Stunning Scenery

The Amtrak Cascades route offers some of the most stunning scenery in the world. With the Rocky Mountains providing a magnificent backdrop and picturesque views of the Puget Sound, there’s no shortage of incredible sights to see. Furthermore, you’ll spot plenty of wildlife along the way, including whales, wolves, eagles, and more.

Amenities on the Train

The Amtrak Cascades train boasts many amenities, so you’ll be comfortable during your ride. Premium leather seating is available and you’ll find Wi-Fi access, electrical outlets, and USB ports scattered throughout the cabin. There’s also a café car on board where you can purchase food and drinks if you didn’t bring any snacks for the trip.

Helpful Tips for Passengers

If you’re planning to travel aboard the Amtrak Cascades from Seattle to Vancouver, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind. It’s recommended that you bring your own snacks and drinks with you, but if you forget, you can still pick up some food and drinks in the café car. Also, remember that crossing the border will take longer than the actual train ride, so make sure to allow extra time for the process. Lastly, be sure to get to the station at least 30 minutes prior to departure, as the train will not wait for you.

Woman Wearing Sunglasses Sitting on Luggage

Benefits of riding Amtrak Cascades

Traveling with Amtrak Cascades offers a unique and unforgettable experience that you can’t find in a car, plane, or other modes of transportation. When you travel with Amtrak Cascades, you reap the rewards of cost savings compared to other forms of traveling, increased comfort, convenience, stress-free travel, and spectacular scenery along the route.

Cost Savings

Riding the Amtrak Cascades is less expensive than flying and driving between Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, Canada. With upgrades available to Business and First Class, tickets for these classes can be reserved for discounts for youth, seniors, and more.

Comfort and Convenience

Amtrak Cascade offers a relaxing atmosphere to travelers with spacious and ergonomic seating, adjustable lighting, onboard meals and Wi-Fi service, and a selection of daily departures between cities.

Option to Bring Bikes and Bags

If you’re traveling with a bike, Amtrak Cascade offers a great option with bike rules and baggage policies and fees in place.

Stress-Free Travel

The worries of traffic and long layovers are nonexistent when boarding the Amtrak Cascades. Enjoy your significant other or listen to your favorite podcast uninterrupted on the smoother ride facilitated by Amtrak’s modern trains.

Spectacular Landscape View

Take in the beautiful scenery along the Cascade route both in the US and Canada. Take in the marvelous beauty of its unusual terrain, wild land, and the breathtaking sight of the Chehalis Valley.

Interesting Wildlife and Ecology

Traveling on Amtrak Cascades means that you get greater access to the variety of birds and other wildlife that inhabit the surrounding areas. There is even the potential to observe from the windows of your train as you journey along, as well as learn about the balance of ecosystems that Amtrak Cascades have to offer.

Woman Posing against Waterfall

Trip tips and advice

Planning a trip from Seattle to Vancouver by Amtrak Cascades is an adventure filled with great opportunities to explore the Pacific Northwest. Before hitting the rails, it’s important to plan carefully. Here are some tips and considerations to make your journey as smooth and enjoyable as possible.


Do your research ahead to take advantage of any discounts or user benefits. This includes researching the cost, travel routes, weather, currency exchange, and customs of the areas you’ll be visiting. Understand the difference between Amtrak Cascades routes and schedules, plus any extra fees associated with the train’s onboard amenities.


It’s best to book your tickets in advance – this allows plenty of time for seat selection, finding discounted fares, and booking any additional accommodations that may be required.

During the Trip:

Think ahead for comfort and safety. Make sure you pack appropriately for the climate with warm layers and a raincoat, plus your essential travel documents. If possible, research some local attractions ahead of time to explore during your visit. Use the Amtrak Cascades mobile app to check schedules on-the-go, or plan alternate travel routes.


There are many interesting attractions along the route between Seattle and Vancouver. The San Juan express departs from Seattle and takes you along the beautiful Puget Sound. It crosses through Port Townsend, Whidbey Island, and the Olympic Peninsula before reaching Vancouver. Along the way you can enjoy cruise ship views of the San Juan Islands, the West Vancouver waterfront, and the beauty of the Cascade Mountains.

Tips and Considerations:

Take preventative measures in case of an emergency. It’s best to let someone know where you’re going, in case of an emergency. Also, be sure to plan for transportation from the Amtrak station on either end of your trip. Have several transportation options ready depending on the time of day. Bring along water and emergency snacks in case of unexpected delays. Remember to stretch your legs at every stop to keep your muscles relaxed and ready for the next leg of your journey.

Cascades on River

Major attractions along the way

The Amtrak Cascades is known for its spectacular views of the Puget Sound, Mt. Baker, North Cascades and quaint towns tucked in the landscape. Planning a trip from Seattle to Vancouver immerses passengers into a fascinating journey full of interesting sites and plenty of activities.

Glimpses of the Puget Sound

Riders will be awestruck by the scenic views of Puget Sound, with its shimmering water and numerous islands. This part of the journey is the most breathtaking, and can be observed for an extended period by choosing a window seat.

Get a Glimpse of Mt. Baker

As the Amtrak passes the border, Mt. Baker’s snow-capped peak can be seen, beckoning a spectacular view of the Washington State landscape. The North Cascades range, formerly known as the Cascade Range, is also visible from the train window and will give passengers an opportunity to observe a range of rugged mountain summits.

Discover Unique Towns and Cities

A number of unique and irreplaceable historic towns, such as Everett, Bellingham, and Mount Vernon dot the landscape of Cascades. They are small towns with rich histories, each offering its own unique culture, and activities to explore.

Tour Twenty Whatcom

For those seeking a change of pace and a slightly lengthier journey, Bellingham offers a vibrant urban experience, with Tour de Whatcom, a cycling route that connects over twenty popular cycling destinations. The route takes riders through Patridge, Lily and Lake Padden, and includes an extended ride along Chuckanut Drive.

Enjoy the Gastronomic Delights

Along the line, Amtrak riders will have the chance to sample world-famous seafood, craft beer and other local delicacies. The Pacific Northwest is renowned for its seafood and some of the most popular dishes are salmon and clams. Additionally, as Washington State is known for its craft breweries, delight in some of the most delicious ales and stouts available.

Overall, planning a trip with the Amtrak Cascades from Seattle to Vancouver is a great opportunity to explore the sights, sounds, and local flavors of the Pacific Northwest. During the trip, travelers will discover the charms of Puget Sound and the majestic peaks of Mt. Baker. Plus, take in the unique culture and history that each of the historical towns offer. Tour de Whatcom is also an amazing cycling route for those who dare to extend their journey, as well as experience the gastronomic blessings that the area has to offer.

People Sitting on Rooftop During Sunset

Stops and destinations along the route

Travelling from Seattle to Vancouver on Amtrak Cascades is an enjoyable and memorable experience. With a total estimated travel time of around four hours and forty five minutes, the route takes you along the beautiful and scenic coastline of the Puget Sound and then along the Strait of Georgia on its way to Vancouver. Along the way, you’ll get to experience several noteworthy stops and destinations with plenty of attractions and activities to explore.

The popular stops on the Amtrak Cascades route from Seattle to Vancouver are: Seattle, Edmonds, Everett, Mount Vernon, Stanwood, Bellingham, Sumas and Vancouver.


The journey begins in Seattle. This vibrant city has plenty of attractions that you can easily explore. One of the most popular tourist attractions in Seattle is the Space Needle – the iconic building that offers great views of the city. You can also visit the Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Aquarium, Olympic Sculpture Park, and much more! Outdoor activities such as kayaking, boating, and hiking are also popular in the area.


The next stop is Edmonds, a smaller coastal town set near Seattle. Here you can spend the day strolling around the marina or exploring the many local breweries. You can also hike up to Olympic View Park or visit the Edmonds Festival Street Market for some local finds.


Everett is the third stop on the route. This city is located just 30 minutes north of Seattle and offers plenty of things to do. Here you can explore the Naval Station Everett, visit the Future of Flight Aviation Center, and take a walk along the Everett Waterfront. You can also check out the Mukilteo Lighthouse, the Schack Art Center, and the Boeing Factory.

Mount Vernon

The journey continues to Mount Vernon – a small city located in the heart of Skagit County. Here you can explore the many nearby farms, bike trails, and lush forests. Be sure to visit the Washington State Wildlife Center and the Glenhaven Mermaid House. There are also plenty of outdoor activities such as camping, fishing, and kayaking.


Stanwood is the next stop, offering plenty of attractive features worth exploring. Here you can visit the Camano Center for the Arts, explore the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, take a walk along the beach and visit the nearby nature reserves.


The sixth stop is Bellingham – a city situated just a few miles from the Canadian border. Here you can explore plenty of local attractions such as the American Museum of Northwest Art, Whatcom Falls Park, and the Bellingham Cruise Terminal. You can also explore the Whatcom Museum, the Whatcom County Historical Museum, and the Fairhaven Historic District.


Sumas is a small town located only a few miles away from the Canadian border. Here you can explore the nearby trails, hike to the Sumas Mountain and visit the Sumas Mountain Viewpoint. You can also explore the local farmlands, bird watch and take in the stunning views of Mount Baker and the Cascades mountain range.


The final stop is Vancouver. This vibrant and lively city has plenty of attractions and activities to explore, making it the perfect destination for a layover. Be sure to visit Stanley Park, Granville Island, and Capilano Suspension Bridge. You can also take a walk along the beautiful coastline of the Puget Sound and visit the popular Gastown neighborhood.

Tower Under Blue Sky

Special packages available on Amtrak Cascades

Amtrak Cascades offers a variety of discounts and packages, from the Senior Discount to the Military Advantage Program, providing great savings for those looking to explore the Pacific Northwest.

Senior Discount

The Senior Discount provides a 10 percent discount on Amtrak Cascades tickets for travelers 65 and up, which is a great way for seniors to explore more of the Pacific Northwest.

AAA Discount

AAA members also receive a 10 percent discount on Amtrak Cascades tickets, presenting another opportunity to save money while taking advantage of the service.

Military Advantage Program

The Military Advantage Program gives military personnel and their families up to 15 percent off their Amtrak Cascades tickets.

Cascade Pass

For those who plan on taking multiple trips between Seattle and Vancouver, the Cascade Pass is a great option. This pass is available for anywhere from four to ten trips, providing a great value for those who plan on taking plenty of trips.

Pacific Surfliner

The Pacific Surfliner package is an upgrade to the Cascade Pass that allows travelers to include more stops in their itineraries, providing more flexibility and allowing for more stops along either coast.

Coast Starlight

Another package available on Amtrak Cascades is the Coast Starlight package, which allows for travel along the entirety of both coasts – from Seattle to Los Angeles and Vancouver to San Diego. This package also comes with one discounted ticket for a companion, allowing for more savings.

Winter Getaway Package

Recently, Amtrak Cascades introduced their Winter Getaway Package, which offers deep discounts for those looking to explore the Pacific Northwest during the winter months. The package includes two to five tickets, with two discounted tickets available to companions, providing a great opportunity to explore the Pacific Northwest during one of its most beautiful seasons.


Though Amtrak Cascades offers a variety of discounts and packages, there are still some disadvantages to keep in mind. Not only are special packages more expensive than regular tickets, but their availability may be limited. In addition, depending on the package, extra costs for meals may apply.

Boar Pass

The Boar Pass is a great option for those looking to make up to six trips from Seattle to Vancouver in the span of one month. The pass includes fares, a reserved seat and discounts on meals and beverages. Priority boarding is another perk included in the Boar Pass, and passengers can also choose to travel in designated first-class cars.

The Boar Pass is a great way to save money while exploring the Pacific Northwest, providing another way for travelers to take advantage of the discounts and packages provided exclusively on Amtrak Cascades.

Anonymous housewife paging cookbook in kitchen

Transportation options once arriving in Vancouver

Vancouver, Canada offers many great public transportation options for visiting tourists. From the SkyTrain light rail network to rental cars and bike-sharing programs, there are several efficient and reliable ways to explore the city.

SkyTrain Light Rail Network

The SkyTrain system is a quick and convenient way to get around the city. With routes throughout Metro Vancouver, there are plenty of places to see and explore while traveling in style. The fares are reasonable and tickets can be purchased at each station. Newer stations are part of the Compass Card system, which allows users to reload their card with pre-loaded fare with multiple trip options and discounts available. Timetables are available in both English and French and instructions on how to make a trip can be found at the station.

Electric Trolleybus

The electric trolleybus is a mainstay of the public transportation system in Vancouver. The system includes buses traveling through the city’s core and outlying areas, making it easy to get around no matter where you’re headed. Tickets can be purchased from a vending machine and start at just 3 Canadian dollars. Trolleybuses are also more environmentally friendly than traditional buses. Comparatively, trolleybuses are faster, quieter, and even cheaper than traditional buses.

Public Water Taxis and Ferries

Water taxis and ferries are a fun and affordable way to explore the city. One’s journey can begin at either Fisherman’s Wharf in the city’s False Creek neighborhood or at Granville Island Ferry Dock. From there, riders can sit back and enjoy the sights of the city’s coastline as they make their way down to Burrard Inlet. Ferries can take you even further, to popular stops like the University of British Columbia, or as far north as Horseshoe Bay.

Traditional Taxis and Shared Ride Service

Traditional taxis and shared ride services are another great way to get around the city. The traditional taxi companies offer fixed flat rates and convenient pick-up and drop-off services. Shared ride services such as Lyft allow riders to book trips in advance and often have discounted fares for longer trips. The estimated fare for a ride will be displayed before the ride is confirmed. Flagging down a traditional taxi can be done by looking for the bright yellow colored lights on the car’s roof.

Rental Cars

Renting a car can be helpful for visitors who plan to explore the city’s outskirts or neighbouring areas. There are several reliable car rental companies throughout Vancouver such as Hertz, Avis, and Enterprise. Rental prices will vary but generally, a car can be rented for as little as 20 Canadian dollars per day. The necessary paperwork such as a valid driver’s license, passport, and credit card must be presented for rental.

Bike-Share Program

Bike-share programs are a great way for tourists to explore the city’s bike lanes and pathways. Vancouver Bike Share offers both daily and annual subscriptions, with helmets sometimes included in the rental fee. Riders should be aware of the city’s helmet laws, which require all riders to wear a helmet. Bikes can be located and rented from dozens of stations located throughout the city.

Using the public transportation system in Vancouver allows for a convenient and economical way to view the city’s attractions and get around. With plenty of options available, travelers can save money and have fun while taking in the sights and sounds of this beautiful city.

Scenic View Of Bridge During Dawn

Lodging suggestions at various cities en route

Traveling along Amtrak Cascades from Seattle to Vancouver, there are many cities offering attractive and comfortable lodging. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious five-star hotel, a family-friendly budget stay, or convenient travel-focused accommodations, you’re sure to find what you need. Here are some recommended lodging options along the way:

Vancouver, BC

Located at the top of the Amtrak Cascades route in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, there are plenty of lodging opportunities. Set right in the heart of the city, the Westin Grand offers views of the cityscape that will take your breath away.

Bellingham, WA

The Holiday Inn Express and Suites is conveniently located to the Bellingham International Airport. Perfect for business travelers passing through, this spot also offers comfortable amenity-filled rooms for a family getaway.

Mt. Vernon, WA

The friendly staff and affordable accommodations of the Best Western Otteson Inn located in Mt. Vernon, WA, make this hotel a great choice for a restful night’s sleep.

Everett, WA

Silver Cloud Inn is a popular spot in Everett, WA, with its water views and easy access to nearby shopping and downtown attractions.

Tukwila, WA

Tukwila, WA, is close to Sea-Tac Airport and a stylish hotel to stay in is the DoubleTree by Hilton. Get a great night’s sleep and enjoy the grounds before starting your onward journey.

Tacoma, WA

The La Quinta Inn & Suites in Tacoma will make you feel right at home. Located close to the Point Defiance Park, this hotel gives you the perfect opportunity to explore the natural beauty of the region.

Olympia, WA

Just a few miles from the Washington State Capitol is the Hilton Garden Inn in Olympia. With its luxurious amenities and superior services, it’s the perfect spot for an executive traveler.

Kelso, WA

Take a few days to explore the Columbia River when you stay at the Best Western Parkersville Inn in Kelso, WA. Enjoy the view and take in the sights.

Centralia, WA

Centralia, WA, is home to the Comfort Inn and their friendly staff. Take in the historic views from their windows and explore the nearby park with ease.

Vancouver, WA

If you’re just transferring through Vancouver, WA, consider the Holiday Inn Express Vancouver Mall. With its close proximity to shopping and entertainment, you can get a few days’ of rest and relaxation in before continuing your journey.

From below of illuminated signboard with news papers magazines inscriptions hanging on metal ceiling on street

On-board amenities and services available

No matter what kind of journey you’re taking, be it for business or pleasure, Amtrak Cascades ensures a comfortable and pleasant travel experience. While the length of the journey may vary, the amenities and services are all the same.

Coach Class

The Coach Class of Amtrak Cascades offers a cozy and comfortable experience with plenty of amenities to make your journey enjoyable. You’ll find adjustable reclining seats with plenty of space to relax and stretch out, standard electrical outlets to charge your devices throughout the ride, dependable onboard WiFi connection, tray tables, and ample overhead storage space for your luggage.

Business Class

For those who want to travel in even more luxury, choose the Business Class of Amtrak Cascades. Business Class offers all the amenities of the Coach Class, but with upgraded seating featuring extra legroom and plenty of additional space to spread out. Business Class passengers are also treated to complimentary snacks and drinks, free newspapers, and reserved seating at the front of the train.

Chef on Call

No Amtrak Cascades journey would be complete without taking full advantage of their “Chef on Call” service. Passengers can purchase breakfast, lunch, and dinner as they travel, with high-quality and reasonably-priced options.

Other amenities

In addition to the amenities already mentioned, Amtrak Cascades also offers duty-free shopping, a bar car, onboard streaming entertainment, live music, and various onboard events designed to keep you engaged and entertained throughout your journey.

Positive experience

I recently had the pleasure of travelling on Amtrak Cascades from Seattle to Vancouver, and I had a very positive experience. The amenities made my journey very pleasant and enjoyable, and the “Chef on Call” service was one of the highlights for me. The food was of good quality, and the combination of fresh ingredients and interesting flavors made it a star attraction. What’s more, the prices were very reasonable. Plus, the fact that I could purchase meals while I travelled – so I didn’t have to worry about finding time to get something to eat at a station – was a definite bonus.

Overall, my experience with Amtrak Cascades was more than satisfactory and I would definitely recommend them to anyone looking for a comfortable and enjoyable journey.

review amtrak cascades from seattle to vancouver

History of the Amtrak Cascades route

The Amtrak Cascades route from Seattle to Vancouver, Canada was established in 1984 as part of an effort to provide an efficient and reliable rail service in the Pacific Northwest. This route is part of the Amtrak system that links more than 500 destinations in 46 states and three Canadian provinces.

The Amtrak Cascades route began its operations on December 11th 1994, and takes a total of four hours and forty five minutes to cover the 287 miles (462 km) between Seattle and Vancouver, Canada. It is estimated that Amtrak Cascades costed around $73 million to implement, with an additional 18 million invested in upgrades in 2000.

The Amtrak Cascades route is highly important to the region, and is the only passenger rail route between both cities. Over the years it has become a popular travel option, given its short travel time and its great views of the Pacific Northwest. Today, the Amtrak Cascades route operates five daily round trips with two additional trips added on Friday and Sunday from April through September.

Improvements to the Amtrak Cascades Service

Since its inception, the Amtrak Cascades route has seen many improvements in its service through upgrades in the infrastructure and the equipment it uses. When the route launched in 1994, it was the first intercity passenger rail system in the United States to install positive train control and other important safety improvements.

Through recent investments, the Amtrak Cascades route has seen significant improvements in its services. The route now uses modern locomotives and bi-level coach cars which provide comfortable amenities, such as restrooms and power outlets. This has allowed the Amtrak Cascades to offer a unique and comfortable experience to its travelers.

These improvements have also allowed the Amtrak Cascades to become a faster and more efficient service. The Amtrak Cascades route now averages speeds of up to 120 mph, allowing for faster travel and more connections. This has made the Amtrak Cascades service more attractive to travelers, who previously had to rely on car or air travel to complete the journey.

What We’ve Learned

The Amtrak Cascades route is an important part of transportation infrastructure in the Pacific Northwest. Over the years, it has seen significant improvements in its service, providing a unique and comfortable experience to its travelers. Through modern technology and infrastructure investments, the Amtrak Cascades route has become a faster and more efficient service, making it a popular travel option between Seattle and Vancouver, Canada.

A Woman Posing at the Camera


In conclusion, traveling on Amtrak Cascades is a unique and exciting experience that allows you to explore Washington and British Columbia with ease. The scenery along the route is breathtaking, and the on-board amenities make it even more enjoyable. Plus, there are plenty of stops and destinations that offer a plethora of sightseeing and fun activities. If you’re looking for transportation to or from Seattle and Vancouver, Amtrak Cascades is the perfect choice. With its vast selection of packages and comfortable on-board services, you can enjoy a pleasant journey and an unforgettable experience.

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