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Seeing Climate Change Cross Country Via Train

Seeing Climate Change Cross Country Via Train

This Saturday, I’m embarking on a cross-country trip. And I’m doing it (almost) car-free!

Although we typically cover Philadelphia, I’m excited to compare sustainability and perception across the US, in a region where I’ve never been.

Why travel cross-country via train?

A lot of people wonder why I’d opt to take the long route. For one, sustainability. Taking the train will cut half the carbon emissions of flying. I will be renting a car twice – to get to Theodore Roosevelt National Park (no public transit form the train) and to Idaho via Spokane (whose Greyhound Route was difficult for the train schedule.)

Another reason? This is legit the scenic route – Amtrak has observation cars with floor to ceiling views. The Amtrak Builder is supposed to be a beautiful line.

As I decompress post-SustainPHL, I’ll also hit two items on my bucket list: A cross-country train ride and Glacier National Park. The clock was ticking on the latter: Only 26 of the original 150 glaciers remain, and it’s estimated that all the glaciers will be completely gone by 2030. As one who is passionate about fighting climate change, I wanted to see this gem before it’s too late.

The Itinerary:

I considered buying the Amtrak pass but actually saved by buying individual segments between cities and taking breaks along the way. Most of the places I’m staying are a short distance from the train stations.

  • Chicago – serves as a short layover to begin trip
  • Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Williston, ND – Theodore Roosevelt National Park
  • Glacier National Park, Montana
  • Couer d’Alene, Idaho


Not one to splurge on fancy hotels, I opted to use Airbnb and National Park Campgrounds – both cabins and a little camping. I purposely found hosts with high (and plenty) ratings, providing recommendations to their guests.

Follow Along

I’ll be providing updates along the journey, via social media (Follow along on Instagram) and on Green Philly.

Readers, anything you recommend along the above stops? Any sustainability initiatives to note? Tell me in the comments.

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Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher

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