7 Impressive Michigan Train Trips To Spend the Day Exploring

It is well known that Michigan has some of the most beautiful autumn scenes in the country. Taking a crisp Fall day one of many Michigan train trips will generously treat you to a colorful fanfare of eggplant-purple, red, maroon, orange, yellow, and golden leaves that visually ignite the landscape. One of the best ways to enjoy the fresh air and spend time this fall is to enjoy the peak autumn colors in Michigan with a relaxed train ride through the scenery.

Explore these seven exciting Michigan fall train trips and make plans for your next adventure.

Note: Due to health and safety concerns, some tours, events, and businesses may be affected. Check with the business first before you travel.

Crossroads Village & Huckleberry Railroad

Run by the Genesee Parks System, the Crossroads Village is a historical town similar to Huron County’s own Huron City. Containing over thirty historic buildings, the narrow gauge railroad, and a river paddleboat named the Genesee Belle. The town offers visitors holiday shopping, themed educational programs, and holiday events. The big seasons for the village are Halloween and Christmas. The Huckleberry Railroad began in 1857 as part of the Flint Pere Marquette Railroad Company.

The Huckleberry Railroad was so named because of its slow speed. Passengers could hop off the train, grab a handful of wild huckleberries, and then hop back on to continue their trip. The locomotives are from the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia and were built in 1920. The narrow-gauge track uses eleven original and replica coaches trailed by a caboose painted in classic red.

A Small Adventure by Train on the Huckleberry Railroad

This 40-minute adventure on an authentic steam locomotive through the forest and woods is a perfect way to spend your afternoon or morning. The Huckleberry Railroad gleams with extra color during the Fall. Catch the train from the Crossroads Village in Flint and relish the views of colorful Mott Lake.

Michigan Train Trips
Map of Crossroads Village – Courtesy Genesee Parks and Recreation Commission

Crossroads Village & Huckleberry Railroad Location

The village and park are located near Flint, Michigan. Address: Crossroads Village & Huckleberry Railroad, 6140 Bray Road, Flint, MI, 48505. Phone: 800-648-7275

Steam Railroading Institute

“ALL ABOARD!” Trains on the Steam Railroading Institute leave from Owosso. Spectacular during
all seasons, one can come to enjoy the fall leaves or, a few months later during the Christmas season, enjoy the Polar Express train to the holiday festivals in the Village of Ashely. This is a great day trip for families or friends.

Quick History of The Steam Institute

Railroad enthusiasts will find exploring the Steam Railroading Institute fascinating. It’s home to the Pere Marquette 1225 and Chicago & North Western 175 steam locomotives. Pere Marquette 1225 was donated to Michigan State University in 1957 by the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway. It stayed at MSU until 1969 when a group of students formed to restore 1225 and use it to pull an excursion train that would bring passengers to MSU for football games.

Pere Marquette 1225

In 1981 Michigan State University donated 1225 to Michigan State Trust for Railway Preservation Inc. (MSTRP), and the locomotive was moved to Owosso the following year. Restoration resumed until 1985, when the massive steam locomotive returned to service after being idle for 34 years. The Pere Marquette 1225 locomotive has been operating since 1988.

The Steam Railroading Institute Location

The institute is located in mid-Michigan in the beautiful little town of Owasso. During the season, you can hear the locomotives whistle all through the town. The address is The Steam Railroading Institute, 405 S Washington Street, Owosso, MI, 48867. Phone: 989-725-9464

Coopersville & Marne Railway

This historic railroad often offers new family-friendly sites and events throughout the year, whether it is the Santa Train during the winter, the Bunny Train at Eastertime, or the Famous Pumpkin Train during the fall months. This is one Michigan train trip to place on your must-see visits in the state.

Santa Train

The Santa Train tours start the weekend after Thanksgiving and run each weekend through December. The coach cars have a special seat for personal visits with Santa. Santa’s elves assist with escorting the children for their visit, and each child gets a present.

There is Christmas storytelling in each of the decorated coach cars. Each passenger car is comfortably heated, and each has a restroom on board.

Coopersville & Marne Railway Location

The train station is located about 20 miles northwest of Grand Rapids, Michigan. On the train’s seven-mile journey connecting the towns of Coopersville and Marne, you’ll glimpse many bridges and creeks. The 90-minute train tours are perfect for the family. The address is Coopersville and Marne Railway, 311 Danforth Street, Coopersville, MI, 49404. Phone: 616-997-7000

Little River Railroad

The Little River Railroad operates two restored steam locomotives. These have a fascinating history and are a must-see for railroad buffs. The #1 locomotive is a 0-4-0T tank engine estimated to have been built in 1908.

This day trip is great for families looking for various seasonal events throughout the year. The train ride’s duration is about 45 minutes, which is a perfect way to fill an afternoon or keep a young one’s attention. Enjoy the leaves in fall or wait until springtime for the Easter Bunny Express, where egg hunts are laid out for the children.

Little River Railroad Location

The Little Railroad is located in southern Michigan, south of historic Marshall off of I-69. Address: Little River Railroad, 29 W. Park Avenue, Coldwater, MI, 49036. Phone: 517-227-5488

Tahquamenon Falls Riverboat Tours & the Famous Toonerville Trolley

This exciting Michigan train day trip offers everything from the Toonerville Trolley to wondrous journeys through nature in the area of Tahquamenon Falls. During the rides, you are likely to spot many wild animals in nature, including the possibility of bears! When the ride is over, jump aboard a riverboat leading to the incredible views of Tahquamenon Falls. To make cherished memories, bring your camera and some friends!

Tahquamenon Falls Riverboat Tours & the Famous Toonerville Trolley Location

Address: Tahquamenon Falls Riverboat Tours & the Famous Toonerville Trolley, 7195 C. R. 381, Soo Junction, MI, 49000. Phone: 888-778-7246

Southern Michigan Railroad

The Southern Michigan Railroad fall train trips in the Michigan fall are a color tour and a two-hour viewing of some of the most beautiful autumnal displays in the state. Then, come during mid-October for the Appleumpkin Festival, where you can munch on seasonal and local treats.

On the train, you’ll ride from downtown Tecumseh to the Raisin River Valley through Clinton, where you can enjoy the Southern Michigan Railroad Museum and the Red Mill Pond.

Southern Michigan Railroad Location

Address: Southern Michigan Railroad, 112 N. Evans, Tecumseh, MI 49286. Phone: 517-423-7230

The Old Road Dinner Train

The Old Road Dinner Train is the longest continuously operating dinner train in North America. They have an extensive collection of vintage railcars from the 1930s-1950s. This railway system is the oldest railroad west of the Allegheny Mountains beginning in 1836.

The train features the Murder Mystery Dinner Train, which runs every Saturday evening in Blissfield and one Saturday evening per month in Charlotte. The excursion includes a five-course meal, Murder Mystery, and a three-hour train ride.

The Old Road Dinner Train Location

The Old Road Dinner Train, 310 E Adrian St, Blissfield, MI 49228. Phone: 888-467-2451

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Michael Hardy

Michael Hardy is the owner of Thumbwind Publications LLC. Michael was born in Michigan and grew up near Caseville. In 2009 he started this fun-loving site covering Michigan's Upper Thumb. Since then, he has authored a vast range of content and established a loyal base of 60,000 visitors per month.

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