Sierran Masthead

What's an AMTRAK Outing?

By Gesa Csapo, Michiana Group

Q: What are AMTRAK Outings and how did they get started?
A: Basically, they are taking a train to a national park for hiking, camping and learning and in order to enjoy that park on a more intimate level. The Michiana Group of the Hoosier Chapter started these outings over twelve years ago as an economical, restful, and feasible means to enjoy our great national parks. These outings proved to have all these attributes, and over the years, Sierrans and others benefited.

Q: What preparations are required for one of these trips?
A: The first thing to do is to get to Union Station in Chicago from whence the Superliners (double-decker trains) depart. Actually, before that you must decide on what kind of outing you intend to pursue. For backpacking one needs physical preparation and must fulfill an extensive check list while base camping and lodging need considerably less preparation.

Q: Is advance preparation required?
A: Definitely yes! AMTRAK is popular with many folks and one must make reservations and purchase tickets well in advance. With backpacking, conditioning is required for mountainous terrain. A checklist for that particular environment should be fulfilled well in advance, too.

Q: How about the train? What can I expect?
A: Expect to enjoy the scenery, the company, perhaps a movie, "Dinner in the Diner," reading, listening to music, and planning your hikes or other activities. The lounge car has your favorite beverage and the usual "happy hour." These choices are yours to make at your leisure.

Q: How long is a trip?
A: As an example, to go to Glacier National Park, we leave Chicago around 3:00 PM Friday and arrive in East Glacier Park on the Blackfoot Indian Reserve at about 6:00 PM Saturday evening after an overnighter.

Contact: Gesa Csapo, (219)255-9960

Copyright © 2007 Hoosier Chapter Sierra Club, all rights reserved.[6/28/02]efp

Summer 1996