The Ultimate Guide To Conway Scenic Railroad
Conway Scenic Railroad, an epic train ride through the lush valleys of the White Mountains!
Conway Scenic Railroad, a historical railroad of the 1970s, offers scenic train excursions of the lush valleys of Mount Washington and the Crawford Notch of the White Mountains in New Hampshire!
Located in the town of North Conway, in east-central New Hampshire, the Conway Scenic Railroad is a historical railroad built in the year 1872 and was once part of the Boston and Maine Railroad, connecting White Mountains to Boston in the south. The regular passenger and freight services were discontinued in 1961. The railroad was abandoned for a while until the Conway Scenic Railroad company acquired and reopened the railroad in 1974 to offer heritage and scenic train excursions.
The Conway Scenic Railroad now offers several scenic mountain train excursions in their old-fashioned but comfortable cars pulled by vintage steam and diesel engines. The Conway Scenic Railroad train excursions depart from the historic train depot in North Conway, a gorgeous victorian style building with an archaic ticket booth, painting, and exhibits, related to the railroad’s history. The beautifully decorated restored passenger cars with murals on the ceiling, upholstered booths, and various seating and dining choices offer a great way to relive the history and enjoy spectacular valley vistas!
Hop on the heritage excursions for a classical country-side train ride experience or the Mountaineer excursion for a more scenic experience!
The Conway Scenic Railroad offers three primary train excursions – (1) Conway Valley Train, a one-hour rural train ride experience, (2) Bartlett-Sawyer Excursion, a valley train excursion which takes about two hours, and (3) Mountaineer Train Excursion, a five and half hour train ride through the beautiful and rugged terrains of Crawford Notch. However, the Conway Scenic Railroad operates only outside the winter months, mid-April through December, and I recommend making reservations in advance, which can be done online on the Conway Scenic Railroad website.
Here is my ultimate guide to Conway Scenic Railroad, featuring essential trip-planning information, different train excursion options, and recommendations on hotels and restaurants near Conway Scenic Railroad!
Planning Your Conway Scenic Railroad Excursion
Visit during summer and fall, fly into Portland International Jetport in Maine and then drive to North Conway, and ride the Mountaineer Train for the best Conway Scenic Railroad experience!
Best Time For Conway Scenic Railroad Excursion: Given the snowy winters of the White Mountains in New Hampshire, the Conway Scenic Railroad is open only outside the winter months, mid-May through December. The Conway Scenic Railroad also offers a few special winter trains featuring spectacular snow-covered alpine scenery, but there are no fixed dates or frequencies for these special snow trains and are operated only weather permitting.
Time Required For Conway Scenic Railroad Excursion: You don’t need more than a day for your Conway Scenic Railroad excursion. There’re several choices of train rides offered by Conway Scenic Railroad, a couple of short excursions that take about 1 – 2 hours, and the more extended Mountaineer Train excursion, which takes nearly 6 hours. If you’re not pressed for time, I highly recommend the Mountaineer Train Excursion, which lets you explore the historic railroad and offers the best mountain scenery Conway Scenic Railroad has to offer!
Getting To Conway Scenic Railroad: The best and the most convenient way to get to Conway Scenic Railroad in North Conway, New Hampshire, is by flying into Portland International Jetport, renting a car, and then driving to North Conway. Alternatively, you could also take an Amtrak train or a Greyhound bus to Portland and then drive to Conway Scenic Railroad, North Conway.
- Flight: The domestic airport in New Hampshire, Lebanon Municipal Airport, is serviced by very limited airlines, making the Portland International Jetport the best choice of airport to get to Conway Scenic Railroad in North Conway. Portland International Jetport (PWM), Portland, Maine, is serviced by all major airlines and is around 60 miles from Conway Scenic Railroad in North Conway.
- Train: While there’re no direct Amtrak trains to New Hampshire, you could take an Amtrak train to Portland in Maine, located approximately 65 miles from North Conway, and then drive to Conway Scenic Railroad.
- Bus: The closest Greyhound bus stop to Conway Scenic Railroad is located in Portland, Maine, about 65 miles southeast of North Conway.
Parking & Tickets For Conway Scenic Railroad Excursion: There is ample onsite parking for patrons near the North Conway Station. Tickets for Conway Scenic Railroad excursions can be purchased onsite or online on the Conway Scenic Railroad website. Tickets are mostly available, but if you’re visiting during the holiday weekends and fall weekends, it’s a good idea to reserve your tickets in advance.
Lodging Options Near Conway Scenic Railroad: You don’t necessarily need to stay close to the Conway Scenic Railroad, but if you’re visiting other attractions in New Hampshire, including Mount Washington or Franconia Notch State Park, you could stay in the nearby towns of Jackson Village or North Conway. Here’re my top picks for hotels near Conway Scenic Railroad
- North Conway Grand Hotel
- Red Jacket Mountain View Resort
- Christmas Farm Inn and Spa
- Eagle Mountain House
Dining Options Near Conway Scenic Railroad: The Conway Scenic Railroad offers excellent on-board dining services, including dining cars, lounges, and on-board concession carts. However, if you’re looking for more dining options, there’re quite a few great local eateries in the town of North Conway, and here’re my top picks for restaurants near Conway Scenic Railroad – Fiesta Jalisco for authentic Mexican food, Priscilla’s for American fare, Boston Brothers Pizzeria for delicious pizzas and subs, and A Taste of Thai for some excellent Thai food.
Conway Scenic Railroad Excursions
Short valley excursions are a great way to explore the historic train cars and historic railroad, but the Mountaineer Train offers the best natural scenery!
Conway Scenic Railroad offers three main excursions, including a couple of short valley excursions and a more extended Mountaineer Train excursion featuring spectacular mountain vistas of Crawford Notch. Conway Scenic Railroad offers coach, first-class, and premium / vista dome seating and also features on-board dining, which can be purchased along with the tickets or from the concession cart. The Conway Scenic Railroad also offers a few seasonal and special train excursions, which I have reviewed below.
Mountaineer Train Excursion: The most extended train ride offered by Conway Scenic Railroad, the Mountaineer Train Excursion not only features a historic railroad, but it also offers the best mountain vistas and natural scenery of Conway Scenic Railroad! The Mountaineer Train Excursion is a five and half hour train ride through the beautiful and rugged terrains of Crawford Notch and is about 55 miles roundtrip from the North Conway Station. I highly recommend the Mountaineer Train Excursion for the best Conway Scenic Railroad experience!
Bartlett-Sawyer Excursion: The Bartlett-Sawyer Excursion is a scenic valley train ride through the Saco River Valley of the White Mountains, featuring gorgeous valley vistas and wooded terrains. The Bartlett-Sawyer Excursion is about 21 miles roundtrip from the North Conway Station and takes approximately 2 hours.
Conway Valley Train: The shortest excursion offered by Conway Scenic Railroad, the Conway Valley Train takes about an hour and offers a ride back in time, where you can experience historic train cars and a rural railroad experience.
Special / Seasonal Train Excursions: The Conway Scenic Railroad also offers a few seasonal and special train rides, including the Snow Train in January / February, Mother’s & Father’s Day special rides, Fire Cracker Express trains on the 4th of July, Pumpkin Patch Express in the fall, and Journey to the North Pole in December. If you’re planning to ride one of the special rides, I highly recommend checking the schedule and reserving tickets in advance, which can be done online on the Conway Scenic Railroad website.
Other New Hampshire Attractions & Related Posts
I hope you enjoyed reading the post, The Ultimate Guide To Conway Scenic Railroad, and I hope this will help you plan your Conway Scenic Railroad excursion. You can find other attractions in New Hampshire in my New Hampshire Travel Guide.
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