Birding Across America by Train: May 28—Jun 10, 2018

Register NowTour Details

Price: To Be Announced.
($7495 in 2017)
Departs: Albany
Ends: Seattle
Tour Limit: 14
Operations Manager: Greg Lopez
Download Previous Itinerary (2017): PDF (325.7 KB)

Route Map


Tour Leaders


Michael O'Brien

Michael O'Brien is a freelance artist, author, and environmental consultant living in Cape M...


Louise Zemaitis

Louise Zemaitis is an artist and naturalist living in Cape May, New Jersey where she is a po...

More Information

Register for this Tour

Register for this tour by phone (800/328-VENT or 512/328-5221), or by downloading a tour registration form. Signed and completed forms can be faxed, mailed, or scanned and emailed to the VENT office.

Common Loon

Common Loon— Photo: Jeff Grabert/shutterstock


A sensational cross-country birding trip aboard Amtrak trains, linking New York’s Adirondack Mountains, the prairies of North Dakota, and Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.

This remarkable 14-day adventure combines the excitement of a cross-country train trip with rewarding birding in some of the classic landscapes of North America. Our route will take us from the Northeast through the Midwest, and across the northern tier of the United States, all the way to the blue waters of the Pacific Northwest. En route, we will experience a marvelous collection of ecosystems, breathtaking in diversity: the river valleys, mixed forests, lakes, and bogs of Upstate New York; the prairies, farmlands, and wide open spaces of the Great Plains of North Dakota; and the snow-capped mountains, old-growth forests, and rocky coastline of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.

Around Albany, New York we’ll visit Carolinian forest in pursuit of brilliantly colored Blue-winged and Hooded warblers, Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and Baltimore Oriole. At a lodge in the Adirondacks we’ll seek a wonderful assortment of eastern woodland birds including grouse, woodpeckers, flycatchers, warblers, and tanagers. Up to 20 species of warblers are possible including some of the most beautiful members of the warbler family: Blackburnian, Canada, Chestnut-sided, Bay-breasted, Black-throated Green, and Black-throated Blue warblers. We will see Common Loons and hear their haunting calls at night, one of the great sounds in nature. We’ll explore Ferd’s Bog and a variety of lakes and trails in the heart of the Central Adirondacks in search of Ruffed Grouse, Barred Owl, Black-backed Woodpecker, Gray Jay, Alder Flycatcher, and Boreal Chickadee.

Gray Jay

Gray Jay— Photo: Michael O’Brien


Boarding the Lake Shore Limited, we will travel overnight to Chicago, rumbling along the south shore of Lake Erie before connecting to the Empire Builder. Toward sundown we’ll enjoy dinner in the dining car while traveling through the Wisconsin Delles and along the Mississippi River. Awakening the next morning in the Great Plains, we will get off the train in Minot, North Dakota, and spend three days birding the prairie in search of Sharp-tailed Grouse, Sprague’s Pipit, Baird’s Sparrow, and a huge assortment of nesting and migrant waterbirds.

The final leg of our train trip will take us through the northern Rockies, skirting Glacier National Park, and on to the Pacific coast. Our trip will conclude with three days of birding on the Olympic Peninsula, where we should see Rhinoceros Auklet, Pigeon Guillemot, Black Oystercatcher, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, and American Dipper. A day in Olympic National Park will provide breathtaking mountain scenery.

Conditions at all hotels good to very good; cuisine very good; conditions aboard Amtrak good, with comfortable beds and showers; a mix of weather conditions is likely; warm weather expected, but prepare for cold as well. Some walking on uneven terrain likely.

Richard Whittington has designed VENT’s catalog for over 15 years. He and his wife, Michelle, were participants on our 2012 Birding Across America by Train tour. Richard took some great photos during the tour, and you can see those and read his wonderful trip chronicle on his website,