North America

Denver Breweries to Napa Vineyards with Scenic Train Ride V2

8 Days

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September 7, 2024 - September 14, 2024 Guaranteed $2,995 USD

New Departure! Let’s meet in Denver for a guided tour of the incredible craft beer scene with a special guest, a local expert on Denver’s famous craft beers. Then we’ll board Amtrak’s California Zephyr for a ride across the Rockies to San Francisco in First Class sleeper accommodations. On the way we’ll have tastings and group lessons on the art of wine led by another special guest, a renowned wine expert with connections to the best exclusive wineries in Napa Valley where we’ll have tastings. Once we arrive in San Francisco, we’ll explore this magnificent city’s cultural highlights in our private van and driver. Before heading to wine country we’ll enjoy a visit to Muir Woods. Then on to Napa, with an overnight stay in wine country.. We’re going in September during Crush Season so we can experience the region during harvest and grape processing!


Experienced travelers say the Amtrak California Zephyr is one of the most beautiful train trips in all of North America. As you climb through the heart of the Rockies, and further west through the snow-capped Sierra Nevadas, you’ll understand why. The Zephyr runs between Chicago and San Francisco, but we’ll be onboard through the most scenic part, starting in Denver! We’ll spend our first day upon arrival in Denver exploring the hip districts of LoDo to RiNo, checking out the cool art, craft brews, and eclectic cafes and shops. The next full day in Denver we’ll take a private van with local tour guide/driver to explore the scenic vistas at foothills of the Rockies).  Since Denver is considered the Napa Valley of craft beer, we’ll fit in a microbrewery tour, and beer tastings at several places of course, led by our beer expert! We’ll get onboard the Zephyr early the next morning for a 33-hour train ride to San Francisco. We’ll have private room with sleeping berths, and access to bathroom with showers in our car. We can roam around the Zephyr, enjoying the views of the majestic Rockies and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges in the observation deck, or go to the lounges to enjoy beverages. All meals will be provided on the Zephyr with first class service! We’ll even get some wine tastings and wine education while on the train, led by our wine expert, to prepare us for Napa! We’ll arrive in San Francisco the next day, at 4 in the afternoon, ready for our San Francisco and Napa Valley adventures.

In San Francisco we’ll spend 2 nights in the city, exploring main city attractions such as Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz, and ChinaTown. Then we’ll go in our private van with a driver to Napa Valley (stopping on the way at the Golden Gate Bridge and Muir Woods for a short hike). We’ll check into our lovely wine country inn for 1 night and have the afternoon and following day to enjoy private tastings of wines at exclusive vineyards, led by our renowned wine expert Pam Howard (see the More About Pam tab for her bio). Pam has curated some amazing tastings we’ll be able to do these 2 days we’re in the area, wineries/vineyards that aren’t on the standard Napa Wine Tasting track. We’ll have our farewell dinner in Napa Valley, then be transported back to San Francisco to check into our airport hotel to board our flights home the next day.

If you’re looking for a unique travel experience that offers breathtaking views of some of North America’s most beautiful landscapes, starting with Rocky Mountain Brews and ending with Napa Valley Wines, then this Zephyr trip is for you!

Trip Highlights

  • Denver hip districts of LoDo and RiNo for brews, arts, and eclectic cafes and shops, with optional bike tour
  • Scenic Foothills of the Rockies private half day tour
  • Amtrak Zephyr Train Ride from Denver to San Franscisco, with private rooms with sleeping berths, access to bathrooms with showers, and all meals with first class service
  • San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf
  • Alcatraz Tour
  • Muir Woods Hike
  • Chinatown
  • Napa Valley private van with driver
  • Napa Valley private tastings in 6 or more exclusive vineyards


Today is the arrival day into Denver. We’ll begin activities in the late afternoon, after checking into our hotel. We’ll head off to two very cool neighborhoods. the LoDo and RiNo districts. There are all sorts of eclectic shops, cafes, and historic buildings to explore. We’ll provide access to an optional bike tour of these areas. We’ll have a welcome dinner in one of the cool speakeasies in one of these hip areas, and sample some craft beers Denver is famous for.


Today we’ll enjoy the scenic vistas surrounding the city as we do a Foothills of the Rockies Tour. After lunch we’ll continue with exploring, with more beer tastings, and in the evening we can hang out in the cool RiNo district of Denver to take in the street art and nightlife.


Today we board the California Zephyr for our 33-hour train ride. But don’t worry, we’ll be entertained with majestic views for much of the morning and afternoon. We’ll get first class service with all meals provided, and we have access to lounges for drinks anytime we want. Our rooms contain sleeping berths, and the sleeping cars have bathrooms with showers.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

We’ll continue our train ride until late afternoon, with special entertainment just for our group. We’ll present a wine sommelier’s lessons in wine tasting, so we’ll be prepared to know how to properly taste wines like an expert!

Our Zephyr train ride ends at 4pm in Emeryville, CA, so we’ll take transportation to our San Francisco accommodations – the Hotel Zephyr!!!, for 2 nights. That evening we’ll go to Fisherman’s Wharf to walk along the piers and eat some great seafood in a restaurant on the wharf.

Breakfast, Lunch

This morning we head out to visit Alcatraz Island and tour the island and facilities, and learn the fascinating history of this iconic prison and its infamous inhabitants. Once we ferry back, we’ll take a street car to Chinatown, where we can enjoy a lunch of authentic Chinese food (dim-sum, anyone?). Then walk it off by exploring the unique shops and markets there. The evening will be yours to explore as you see fit.


We have a private driver and van lined up for these next two days as we venture out of San Francisco. We’ll stop at the Golden Gate Bridge to see the views and take obligatory pictures, then drive into the magnificent Muir Woods, where we can do an easy hike for about an hour. Then its back into the van, stopping at 2 exclusive wineries where we have private tastings booked.  We’ll check into our luxury boutique hotel in wine country for the night. We can take in the views before heading out to one of the fine restaurants in the area for dinner.

Tastings at 2 wineries (TBD)


We’ll continue with 4 more exclusive wine tours and tastings, in unique and luxury wineries. We’ll learn about the history of wine making in the area, and visit some historic places. We’ll have our farewell dinner tonight, included in the tour, at a very nice restaurant, to cap off our wonderful week. The van will then take us back to San Francisco to our airport hotel for our last night before we fly home in the morning.

Winery tastings at 3-4 more wineries.

OPTIONAL – for dinner, we can have the tasting menu at the Michelin restaurant The French Laundry for an upcharge.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 :

After breakfast at our airport hotel we check out, then go to the San Francisco airport to fly home.


Cost Includes

  • Denver Accommodations for 2 nights
  • Denver Brewery Tour and Brewery Tastings
  • Scenic Tour of Denver's Surrounding Areas
  • Amtrak Zephyr Train Ride from Denver to San Francisco (Emeryville) with Private Rooms with Sleeping Berths
  • Meals as indicated in Itinerary
  • San Francisco Hotel Accommodations for 2 nights
  • Fisherman's Wharf, Alcatraz Tour, Chinatown
  • Private Van and Driver to Napa Valley
  • Muir Woods Hike
  • Wine Country Hotel Accommodations for 1 night
  • 5-6 Private Wine Tastings at Premier Wineries
  • San Francisco Airport Hotel Accommodations for last night

Where You'll Be Staying

Denver – 2 nights accommodations at hotel (TBD)



Amtrak Zephyr – 1 night

We’ve booked Roomettes, which are 6’6″ – 6’8″ in length, and 3’6″ in width. They feature:

  • Two comfortable seats by day transformed into upper and lower beds by night
  • Newly upgraded bedding, pillows, towels and linens
  • Access to a restroom and shower in your car
  • A dedicated First Class attendant
  • Complimentary lounge access
  • Priority boarding
  • Complimentary meals

In addition to your roomette, you’ll also have access to other areas on the Zephyr, such as lounge/dining cars and observation cars.

San Francisco – 2 nights at the Hotel Zephyr

Hotel Zephyr is located in the heart of Fisherman’s Wharf.  Its “ship-yard chic” feel pays perfect homage to the neighborhood, while bringing a totally new dimension to this unique part of town. Designed using materials such as recycled cargo containers and upcycled nautical goods, Hotel Zephyr is recognized for its unique, bold and distinctive style. Each of the stylish guest quarters give the experience of staying in a captain’s suite – where the very best accommodations onboard offer vistas of San Francisco Bay and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.

Wine Country – i night at hotel (TBD)

Depending on interest, there may be bike/e-bike tours for additional cost.

Napa’s French Laundry Restaurant Tasting Menu Dinner for additional cost.

Downtown Denver

Downtown Denver at Night by Union Station

Denver’s Big Blue Bear


The Royal Gorge

Sierra Nevadas

Fisherman’s Wharf

Golden Gate Bridge


Street in Chinatown

Pier 39

San Francisco’s Iconic Streetcars

Napa Valley

Muir Woods

Wine Tasting

Pam Howard, trip leader

Pam HowardCSW,CSS,EBS 
Pam Howard is the Director of Education with Cool Springs Wine and Spirits since 2015, and recently became Travel Avidly’s Wine and Spirits Travel Director. She hosts weekly classes in Wine and Spirits, helps with private events, and is now partnering with Travel Avidly to help lead Bourbon Trail and other wine and spirits-centered trips.
Pam had a successful 25-year career in dentistry, including time in the US Army as a dental hygienist before she began her second chapter in life pursuing her passion of good wine and spirits. Beginning with her love of wine, she obtained her Sommelier certification from the Guild of Masters Sommeliers, then the WSET in London, the Society of Wine Educators in the US, and a Certified Sherry Wine Specialist from Spain. Expanding on her love of spirits, she earned certifications in Tequila and Rum, and is an Executive Bourbon Steward, certifying at least a dozen bourbon Stewards each month.
Pam loves to travel and has seen all 50 states and over 20 countries, with a goal of seeing every continent before she’s 100. She loves to educate others, and strives to fill her life with good food, wine & spirits, good friends, and fun travel!
From $2,995 USD
/ Shared Room (Double Occupancy)
From $3,995 USD
/ Private Room (Single Occupancy)
  • Small Groups of 8 - 15 people
  • Flexible Payments
  • Pre-trip Educational/Preparation Meetings
  • TravelAvidly Trip Leader
  • Immersive Experiences

Trip Information

Activity Level: Moderate (see all ratings)

Curator: Joyce Grizzle