Trails and Rails

trailsrailslogoThe Trails and Rails program is a collaboration between the National Park Service and Amtrak. As their local partner, the South Coast Railroad Museum trains and coordinates Trails and Rails volunteers on Amtrak’s Coast Starlight along the Juan Bautista De Anza National Historic Trail between Santa Barbara and San Jose. Most of the program takes place in the Sightseer Lounge car.

Volunteers with the Trails and Rails program provide Amtrak passengers with a unique experience of our National Parks.

Potential Trails and Rails volunteers attend an initial day-long classroom training at the start of their first season, then continue their education by observing and assisting seasoned guides in peer-to-peer learning on the train. Written materials, historical articles, and related websites round out each guide’s training and continuing education.

Guides are expected to volunteer a minimum of two days per month, with trips based in both San Jose and Santa Barbara.

  • Santa Barbara-based guides travel between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, returning to Santa Barbara the same day.
  • San Jose-based guides travel between San Jose and San Luis Obispo, returning to San Jose the same day.

Guide Training for the 2019 Season

Santa Barbara: Saturday February 16

San Jose: Saturday March 9

This will be a day long (9am – 5pm) mandatory classroom training, followed by at least three peer-to-peer training sessions aboard the Coast Starlight on weekends in March and April.

Ready to join us?
Click here for a Trails and Rails Guide application!

If you missed the 2019 training but would still like to volunteer with Trails and Rails, please complete the application anyway. With enough interest, we can possibly schedule an orientation in late summer, 2019.


Questions about Trails and Rails? Interested in joining the program? Send us a message!