Michigan is a place of beauty and there are different ways to take in its natural magnificence. Bikes, RVs, and buses are popular modes to experience all these. However, there is something magical about hopping on a train and passing through the state’s gorgeous organic scenery. The state has a good number of railroad companies that provide trips so you can take in the beautiful scenery including waterfalls, gorges, lakes, forests, and mountains. Some of these trains even have themes to make the trip more exciting. So pack your things and hop on the train for a memorable vacation. Below is our list of the most scenic train rides in Michigan, the USA, where you can choose the ones to your liking.
1. Southern Michigan Railroad
Measuring all of 13.5 miles (21.7 kilometers), Southern Michigan Railroad is a heritage railroad company whose trains take on the beautiful sites of Clinton, Tecumseh, and Lenawee Junction. Completed in 1837, this railroad company is run and managed by volunteers. These trains cross River Raisin while providing you a picturesque view of the Michigan countryside and forests. The small towns that the trains pass through provide beautiful settings to complement the natural sites. The company offers different train tours and themes. Some of these stop at certain places and allow you to attend festivals. The company has its own museum at Clinton station.
Southern Michigan Railroad
Address: 320 Division St, Clinton, MI 49236, United States
Website: Southern Michigan Railroad
Opening hours: Sat: 11am - 4:30pm (closed from Mon - Fri & Sun)
2. Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad
Be prepared as Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad takes you on a fun-filled ride you will never forget. The train ride stretches 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) and is guaranteed to take you on an adventure. The gorgeous AuSable Valley River serves as the perfect backdrop and provides lovely landscapes filled with natural wonders. The journey takes 20 minutes and starts when you hop on a ¼ scale train. It travels through a curved tunnel measuring 115 feet (35 meters). A wooden trestle takes you back to the time when the railway industry was at its inception. This ride is for the young and young at heart.
Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad
Address: 230 S N Abbe Rd, Fairview, MI 48621, United States
Website: Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad
3. Coopersville & Marne Railway
Although the company’s railway system goes further and beyond, Coopersville & Marne Railway offers only 7 miles (11.3 kilometers) to the public. Experience crossing a girder bridge, giving you a view of the river below. You will also get to see four creeks on this beautiful journey through nature. For a moment, you will be riding side by side with cars on Interstate 96. Marne is the end destination and here you will experience the uncoupling of the train. This train journey is a short ride but offers a lot of beautiful things to see some of Michigan’s amazing natural wonders in full view.
Coopersville & Marne Railway
Address: Coopersville, MI 49404, United States
Website: Coopersville & Marne Railway
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4. Little River Railroad
Little River Railroad provides maintained and preserved antique locomotives that run like new. You are one of the lucky ones to experience these coaches on this fun ride. The journey is a round-trip voyage that begins and ends in Coldwater, Michigan. For an hour-and-a-half, you and the other passenger will experience a train adventure with a unique theme. Some of the trains provide a robbery show while others have a Halloween theme. There are other themes that the company offers throughout the year. You cannot reserve a seat as all trains are on a first-come-first-served basis so do come early.
Little River Railroad
Address: 29 W Park Ave, Coldwater, MI 49036, United States
Website: Little River Railroad
Opening hours: Sat - Sun: 9am - 4pm (closed from Mon - Fri)
5. The Old Road Dinner Train Charlotte
Editor’s note: Establishment is permanently closed
The Old Road Dinner Train Charlotte has several Murder Mystery Dinner Trains. You will experience two wonderful things in one ride. The first is great food presented in a fine-dining style. The second is a full production of a murder mystery show. The ride takes three hours to complete from dinner to the end of the show. The comical demonstration commences while you are being served a five-course dinner that will fill you to your heart’s delight. Each passenger is an unknowing participant where you even might end up as a victim. They always put on a good show and great food on the table.
The Old Road Dinner Train Charlotte
Address: 451 N Cochran Ave, Charlotte, MI 48813, United States
Website: The Old Road Dinner Train Charlotte
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
6. Adrian & Blissfield Rail Road
Adrian & Blissfield Rail Road spans a total of 20 miles (32.1 kilometers). This includes dinner service in an elegant setting with fine food on the menu. There are so many options to choose from especially when it comes to their dinner trains. To make your trip even better, you can opt for a train that has live entertainment on it. Through its wide windows, you will be able to witness the fantastic views of either Charlotte or Blissfield. The views you will see are nothing short of amazing and this mostly includes nature. The train station has a souvenir shop where you can purchase something to commemorate your trip.
Adrian & Blissfield Rail Road
Address: 38235 North Executive Drive, Westland, MI 48185, United States
Website: Adrian & Blissfield Rail Road
7. Steam Railroading Institute
Steam Railroading Institute has nothing less but the revered Pere Marquette No. 1225. It is the biggest locomotive in its class still in operation. This powerful steam engine is being used by the company to gather train travelers and take a trip starting from Shiawassee River. The trains pass by vast farmlands and through wooded areas. The company conducts weekend trips and some all-day excursions all year long. The most popular of these trips is the North Pole Express that you can take from November to December. The company is focused on maintaining and preserving steam locomotives by educating its riders on its importance to the state of Michigan. It runs a total of 38 miles (61.2 kilometers).
Steam Railroading Institute
Address: 405 S Washington St, Owosso, MI 48867, United States
Website: Steam Railroading Institute
Opening hours: Fri - Sat: 10am - 4pm (closed from Mon - Thu & Sun)
8. Greenfield Village at Henry Ford Museum
Greenfield Village at Henry Ford Museum has the Weiser Railroad Ride. The ride brings you around the village where you get to witness historic buildings and picturesque scenery. One of the things you will see during the ride is Henry Ford’s home where he grew up. The route stretches a full 3 miles (4.9 kilometers) where you have the option of staying on the train or getting off at certain stops. The train is pulled by an ancient steam engine while the railroad comes complete with vintage signage. All this starts at the railroad junction where a 19th-century roundhouse still works fine.
Greenfield Village at Henry Ford Museum
Address: Dearborn, MI 48124, USA
9. Crossroads Village & Huckleberry Railroad
Starting from Crossroads Village, Huckleberry Railroad runs along Mott Lake that provides riders beautiful views of its waters and banks. The 40-minute ride takes you along a heavily wooded area in one of its several vintage rolling stocks. Its collection of trains include a caboose, 11 wooden cars, and 2 vintage steam locomotives that have been brought back to their original form. These are the Rio Grande Western Railroad K-27 class and the Alaskan Railroad Baldwin 4-6-0. Starting and ending at Crossroad Village is a big plus because you can go around this historic place before or after your train ride and enjoy its offerings.
Crossroads Village & Huckleberry Railroad
Address: N Bray Rd, Flint, MI 48505, United States
Opening hours: Sat: 12 - 1am (closed from Mon - Fri & Sun)
10. Tahquamenon Falls Riverboat Tour & the Famous Toonerville Trolley
Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account
Jump inside the Famous Toonerville Trolley and enjoy the ride on a 24 inch gauge that goes on a 5.5 mile (8.9 kilometers) stretch. The trip to Tahquamenon Falls allows you to see some of Michigan’s wildlife including birds, deer, and bears. A tree guide comes along and helps passengers identify the trees along the railroad. During the trip, the Captain lets you in on the history of the Tahquamenon River where the waterfall is located. At the end of the trip, passengers go on a short hike to view the majestic waterfall. After, the riverboat tour commences reaching the rapids above the waterfall.
Tahquamenon Falls Riverboat Tour & the Famous Toonerville Trolley
Address: 7195 Co Rd 381, Soo Junction, MI 49000, United States
Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 9am - 5pm (closed on Sun)
The best train rides in Michigan
Every type of traveler will love what Michigan has to offer. Traveling by train while taking in the sites is still the best way to experience the state’s scenery. This list helps you decide which train ride will excite you the most.
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