Top 10 Epic Train Rides to Take in Ohio

Ohio’s rich tapestry, woven with vibrant natural beauty and significant historical landmarks, offers a unique exploration avenue through its scenic train rides. From the serene banks of the Ohio River to the vast, tranquil Lake Erie, and across plains adorned with buckeye trees, the Buckeye State holds an allure that beckons for adventure.

While many choose to traverse this picturesque state on foot, by bike, or by car, an enchanting alternative awaits those who opt for the rhythmic clatter of train tracks. Here’s a journey through the 10 most memorable train rides across Ohio, promising diverse experiences from historical education to scenic indulgence.

10. Dennison Railroad Depot Museum Train Rides

The Dennison Railroad Depot Museum, once on the brink of demolition, now stands as a testament to the region’s rich railroad history, renovated into a museum complete with a dining facility. This location offers more than just a glimpse into the past; it invites visitors on captivating train rides through the local scenery.

Alongside regular rides, the museum schedules themed events, making every visit unique. Whether you’re a history aficionado or seeking a family outing, the Dennison Railroad Depot offers a journey through time and scenery alike.

9. Ohio Railway Museum Rides

Dive into the heart of railroading heritage at the Ohio Railway Museum. Home to an extensive collection of railroad artifacts, including rare locomotives and streetcars, the museum also offers rides on vintage trains as part of the admission.

It’s a perfect blend of educational experience and fun, especially appealing to families, as children under three ride free. This museum is not just a trip; it’s a gateway to the golden era of rail travel.

8. The Lorain and West Virginia Railway

Step into a different era with The Lorain and West Virginia Railway. Known for its distinctive red aesthetic, this train offers varied experiences based on the season, from the magical Santa Ride during Christmas to nostalgic themed nights like the Rockabilly at the Railroad. It’s a ride that promises entertainment and scenic beauty in equal measure, suited for every type of traveler.

7. Zanesville and Western Scenic Railroad

Labeled as one of Ohio’s most epic train journeys, the Zanesville and Western, or the Mt. Perry Scenic Train, invites passengers along the historic Glass Rock Spur. Offering both traditional and open-air rides, it caters to those seeking immersive outdoor experiences with thematic rides like the Grassman Weekend or the festive Pumpkin and Santa Trains, ensuring an adventure for every season.

6. Lebanon Mason and Monroe Railroad

Embark from historic downtown Lebanon on the Lebanon Mason and Monroe Railroad for a journey through Southwestern Ohio’s Warren County. Operating year-round, this railroad merges historical exploration with family fun, offering themed rides that cater to both children and adults, presenting history in motion alongside delightful culinary experiences.

5. Orrville Railroad Heritage Society

The Orrville Railroad Heritage Society extends an invitation to a series of unique train rides starting from Orrville. With events ranging from Fall Foliage Trips to Orrville Railroad Day, there’s an experience for every train enthusiast, set against the backdrop of Ohio’s changing seasons and rich heritage.

4. Hocking Valley Scenic Railway, Nelsonville

Navigate through the Hocking River Valley from Nelsonville to East Logan with the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway. Volunteer-run, these two-hour weekend journeys offer both fresh-air rides and cozy, heated interiors, complemented by seasonal and holiday-themed events, marrying scenic beauty with communal spirit.

3. Cincinnati Dinner Train

Combine gastronomy with scenery on the Cincinnati Dinner Train. This three-hour journey aboard restored 1950s dining cars serves up a four-course meal against the backdrop of Ohio’s landscapes, accompanied by period entertainment, offering an intimate and memorable dining experience.

2. The Polar Express and Santa Claus Express

A festive treat awaits on The Polar Express and Santa Claus Express, particularly for those visiting Ohio during the holiday season. These themed trains, adorned with lights and offering festive treats, promise a magical journey through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, creating unforgettable holiday memories for families and individuals alike.

1. Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

Topping the list, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad is a gem within Ohio’s scenic rail adventures, offering unparalleled views of the natural beauty as it meanders through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

With options ranging from food and cocktail services to murder mystery dinners, it promises an engaging and scenic journey, making it a must-experience for anyone visiting Ohio.

Embarking on these train rides not only unveils Ohio’s splendid natural and historical treasures but also revives the romance of rail travel. Whether seeking adventure, relaxation, or historical insight, Ohio’s trains offer a ticket to an unforgettable journey through the heart of the Midwest.

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