Trails & Rails Volunteer Program

April 19, 2018 Posted by: Miguel A. Marquez

All Aboard! Did you know that the Trails & Rails program is a partnership between Amtrak and the National Park Service that educates travelers on the heritage and natural resources of a specific region while traveling by rail?  On board many Amtrak trains, you will find Trails & Rails guides ready to help you connect with the sites and stories you see out the window. Ride along California's central coast and travel back in time and you might see some of the sites that the Anza Expedition saw in thier journey through California between 1775-1776.


All Aboard!

Trails & Rails Guides are National Park Service volunteers and the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail is happy to work with docents in trains along the coast! About 40 volunteers along the California Coast from San Jose to Santa Barbara California have signed up this season to help passengers learn about the sites along their routes. Amtrak has two routes along the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail corridor from Santa Barbara to San Jose California. Visit the Trails & Rails Amtrak Schedule for complete routes and times for the Coast Starlight.

Our Trails & Rails docents are dedicated and passionate individuals who enjoy telling the story of the Anza Expedition along California’s central coast. Our volunteers wear the volunteer uniform and unique Trails & Rails logo proudly and express interest in history, trains, natural and cultural resources and of course, the Anza Expedition. Many of them have volunteered with us for several years and when asked why they keep coming back, most of them said, “Because I love it and I enjoy interacting with people”. Trails & Rails volunteers are located in the Sightseer Lounge car and use a variety of techniques to connect passengers to the Anza Trail. 

Park Ranger and two Trails and Rails volunteers standing together and smiling outside of a classroom for their photo to be taken.

Park Ranger and two Trails & Rails volunteers in Goleta California during the annual training.

Volunteer as a Trails & Rails Docent.

The National Park Service and the South Coast Railroad Museum in Goleta California work together to train and coordinate volunteers in Santa Barbara and Santa Clara California.

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 are available for 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.

Join the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail as a Trails & Rails volunteer today! You just might see dolphins and whales as you look out the window at the Pacific Ocean. 

Trails & Rails logo with a National Park Service Arrowhead with an Amtrak train through the middle.

Trails & Rails Logo, National Park Arrowhead and an Amtrak train through the middle.



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Last updated: April 19, 2018

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