10 Most Scenic Train Rides In Wisconsin, USA - Updated 2024

scenic train rides in wisconsin
| 5 min read

Inhaling the beauty of Mother Nature as you voyage across forests, valleys, plains, and terrains is a memorable experience. Conducting this journey on trains adds a nostalgic touch of the bygone days, allowing you to revisit history while relishing the present. Such fun train rides, complemented by visits to antique train museums, are a history lover’s dream come true. Not only do such journeys prove to be a break from the humdrum routine of one’s life, but they also allow you to seek proximity to nature. If you intend to stay longer in Wisconsin, check out our recommendations on luxury cabins and family resorts before your trip. Presented in this article are the most scenic train rides in Wisconsin, USA, that you must embark on, to get an inkling of the train voyages back in the decades of the past, when life and times were beautifully simpler. Keep reading to learn more.

1. National Railroad Museum

National Railroad Museum Green Bay Wisconsin
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Greg Tally - User... used under CC BY-SA 3.0

If you’re in the state between May and October, you can head to the National Railroad Museum and partake in their locomotive train ride. For a charge of 4 USD, enjoy a scenic ride of 2 miles (3 kilometres), where the train conductor will brief you on the highlights of the railway and the museum.

You can choose between one of the 4 time slots of 10am, 12pm, 2pm and 4pm from the Children’s Discovery Depot. Moreover, a theatre representation in the museum highlighting the Big Boy locomotives is also added to this package.

National Railroad Museum

Address: 2285 S Broadway, Ashwaubenon, WI 54304, United States

Website: National Railroad Museum

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 9am - 5pm; Sun: 11am - 5pm (from April to December) and Tue - Sat: 9am to 4pm; Sun: 11am - 4pm (From January to March)

Price: 8 USD (Age 2-12); 12 USD (Age 13-61); 10 USD (Age 62 and older)

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2. The Polar Express Train Ride

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Experience a real-life version of the Polar Express book by partaking in The Polar Express Train Ride, which takes place in November and December. This 90-minute-long program starts with pre-show activities of Hot Chocolate Dance and a dramatic reading of the book. This is followed by a 60-minute train ride, where you will witness the characters of the book come to life. You will also get a chance to see polar bears and the spectacular Northern Lights.

You can also choose between a variety of five cars to experience this adventure in. The Northern Lights seats will cost you 25 USD, while Glacier Gulch seats can be reserved for 35 USD. The Arctic Circle and the Spirit of the Season tables can be reserved at 48 USD each. Further, you can get your hands on the Spirit of the Season Lounge for 55.50 USD.

The Polar Express Train Ride

Address: 2285 S. Broadway, Green Bay, Wis. 54304

Website: The Polar Express Train Ride

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 9am - 5pm; Sun: 11am - 5pm (from April to December) and Tue - Sat: 9am to 4pm; Sun: 11am - 4pm (From January to March)

Price: From 25 USD

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3. Chippewa Valley Railroad

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Chippewa Valley Railroad on Sunday, August 21, 2016

For the most unique train ride in Wisconsin that’s great for the whole family, check this out! The Chippewa Valley Railroad is a truly unique experience that lets you relive how it was like to travel via a steam locomotive in the 1880s—only in fun-size! This scenic train ride features a classic working railroad with actual coal-fired steam locomotives, a diesel locomotive, and wooden 1880 style passenger coaches—all scaled down to a ¼ size miniature.

During the summer months, these mini-train replicas travel through scenic routes along the wooded area by the majestic Half Moon Lake. For that authentic feel, the train conductors are clad in 1880s-style suspenders and pin-striped engineer’s hats.

Chippewa Valley Railroad

Address: 811 Carson Park Dr, Eau Claire, WI 54703, United States

Website: Chippewa Valley Railroad

Opening hours: Sun: 12pm - 5pm (closed from Mon to Sat)

Price: 3 USD for adults; 2 USD for kids; free for children below 2 years old

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4. Osceola & St. Croix Valley Railway

Osceola and St. Croix Valley Railway - Burlington Northern caboose
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user August Schwerdfeger used under CC BY 4.0

Managed by the Minnesota Transportation Museum, Osceola and St Croix Valley Railway is an endearing treat for nature lovers who wish to journey over the St Croix River, while ravishing the beautiful scenery along the way. There are two rides offered: the first one is to Dresser, Wisconsin, while the second one is to St Croix, Minnesota. The ride is a relaxing experience for adults and children alike. The railway also has a cute little snack car that allows travelers to pick up a snack on the journey. One of the major interesting facts about the railway journey experience is the friendliness of the conductors and the crew, who positively share the history of the railroad with the travelers, enabling them to revisit the past, physically and metaphorically. If you want to get an inkling of the railroad travels as they were back in the decades of the 40s and 50s, the trip on Oescola and St.Croix Valley Railway is a must try.

Osceola & St. Croix Valley Railway

Address: Osceola, USA

Opening hours: Sat - Sun: 9am - 5pm

Price: 12 USD - 19 USD

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5. East Troy Electric Railroad

Milwaukee streetcar 846 on East Troy Electric Railroad in 2006
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user MKE_railscenes used under CC BY 2.0

Journeying a total of 10 miles (16 km) through the scenic Southeastern Wisconsin, the East Troy Electric Railroad allows travelers to revisit the simpler, austere times of the past. The boarding for the trip commences at the “Elegant Farmer” in Mukwonago or at the depot in East Troy. The East Troy Railroad has a total of 32 pieces of historical equipment. Thousands of visitors journey on the railway each year. A visit to the depot museum is the highlight of the journey. Run and managed by the committed volunteers, this museum is an attraction for all visitors. The museum not only allows adults to learn about the running of the railroad system but also encourages children to do the same by role-playing. They can assume any role from the railway crew and browse through a plethora of railcar models. This blossoms their curiosity and imagination, facilitating their grasp of the railway experience.

East Troy Electric Railroad

Address:2002 Church Street, East Troy , WI

Website: East Troy Electric Railroad

Opening hours: Sat - Sun: 10am - 4pm (June - September)

Price: Adults (age 15 to 64): 15 USD; Senior Citizens (above 64) and Military Personnel: 12.50 USD; Children (age 3 to 14) 9.50 USD; (age 2 and under) free

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6. Riverside & Great Northern Railroad

15-inch gauge 4-4-2 locomotive
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Slambo used under CC BY-SA 2.0

If you’re looking to experience a unique steam engine train ride in Wisconsin, this is your best bet! Scalloping through the scenic canyons, steep rocky terrains and dense woods areas across the Wisconsin River, the Riverside and Great Northern Railway offers a fun ride for young and old alike. The steam trains are the highlight of the journey. Travelers can view the locomotive being turned on at Western Springs as well as Hyde Park depot. The railway museum is a great learning center for travelers, imparting knowledge about the history of the railway.

Riverside & Great Northern Railroad

Address:N115 County Road, N Wisconsin Dells

Website: Riverside & Great Northern Railroad

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 10 am - 5pm; Sat & Sun: 10am - 4 pm

Price:Senior citizens (above 62): 9 USD; Adults: 12 USD; Children: 8 USD; Toddlers (age 3 and under): Free

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7. Tiffany Bottoms Train

scenic train rides in wisconsin | tiffany bottoms train
Source: instagram

There’s more to Wisconsin than being America’s Dairyland or being home to many historic hotels. Tiffany Bottoms train ride, for instance, is one of its kind. As an open-air train, it voyages into the remote areas of Tiffany Bottoms, across flood plains of the south, highlighted by its ashes, silver maple and basswood as well as the oak-dominated north, allowing travelers to view exotic birds as Adrea Alba, Buteo Linetus and great blue heron along their journey. An experienced and knowledgeable birder on the train familiarizes the travelers with various bird types and their behavior, hence facilitating bird identification. A botanist on the train shares plant varieties and exoticism with the travelers, enhancing their knowledge of the prairies. If you want to experience the uniqueness of the Tiffany Bottoms wetland, and see the unfiltered aspect of nature in all its glory, the Tiffany Bottoms train ride is a must for you.

Tiffany Bottoms Train

Address:Durand , Wisconsin , USA

Website: Tiffany Bottoms Train

Opening hours: 7am - Noon (Spring); 7:30am - Noon (Fall)

Price: 40 USD

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8. Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad

Wisconsin Great Northern Diner (Former Coach) APOSTLE ISLE
Source: Photo by Flickr user Gary Todd used under CC0

With its track laid down more than 100 years ago, the Lumberjack Steam ride along the Namekagon River is another scenic ride worth the stop. It stretches for about 15 miles (24 km) along the old Chicago, between Spooner and Springbrook. It offers a variety of train rides such as sightseeing, elegant dinner, family pizza and the USA’s only moving breakfast and bed train. The train rides may last from about 45 minutes to 3 hours, all depending on the trip you take.

Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad

Address: Spooner, Wisconsin, USA

Website: Wisconsin Great Northern Railroad

Opening hours: Sun & Mon: 9am - 5pm; Tue - Sat: 10am - 6pm

Price: First class bed and breakfast: 429 USD; Second class bed and breakfast: 329 USD

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9. Mid-Continent Railway Museum

scenic train rides in wisconsin | mid-continent railway museum
Source: instagram

The Mid-Continent Railway Museum in North Freedom, Wisconsin, is another ride worth your time and travel. The train ride is a refreshing excursion providing scenic views across the Souk county countryside. The train conductors are well versed in the history of the area and their friendliness makes the journey more enjoyable. A trip on this century-old train is an antique lover’s treat. The museum also houses vintage train cars, which is a sure attraction for history lovers.

Mid-Continent Railway Museum

Address:North Freedom, Wisconsin, USA

Website: Mid-Continent Railway Museum

Opening hours: Sun: 12pm - 12:01 am (closed on weekdays)

Price: 30 USD - 80 USD

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10. Lumberjack Steam Train

Lumberjack Steam Train, Laona, Wisconsin
Source: Photo by Flickr user David Wilson used under CC BY 2.0

For an amazing train tour in Wisconsin, consider the Lumberjack Steam Train. Consisting of a steam locomotive, three cabooses and two steel passenger coaches, the Lumberjack Steam Train is managed by the heritage railroad: Laona and Northern Railway. It is an integral part of the Camp 5 Museum. The journey on the train is an endearing experience for adults, and especially for kids. The train management does a cowboy event twice every year, which forms a pertinent attractive feature of the ride. The troupe in their colorful costumes, engaged in role-playing, make for a good experience. All employees in the train management team, from the ticketing agent to the engineers, are focused on a good traveling exposure for the people. Hence, their friendliness is something that complements the train voyage experience.

Lumberjack Steam Train

Address: Laona, Wisconsin, USA

Website: Lumberjack Steam Train

Price: Adults: 20 USD; Children (age 16): 8 USD; Children (below 3): Free

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Fun for kids and adults alike

The train trips in Wisconsin, USA, prove to be joyous fun-filled experiences for kids and adults alike. From observing the scenic beauty of Wisconsin to traveling across the plains and wetlands on trains, where the chirping of the birds reaches an unparalleled level of audibility, these train rides qualify as endearing moments, revisited by travelers years after they have embarked on the journey. If you happen to be in Wisconsin, do try out one of these train rides and let us know how your experiences were. Be sure to check out the best cabins with hot tub and hotels with water parks as well!

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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Marria is an accomplished columnist, blogger, and independent researcher. Her extensive areas of interest encompass local and global politics, English literature, psychology, as well as tourism and...Read more

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