Scenic Train Rides in Colorado
There are several Colorado scenic train rides to choose from in Colorado. A scenic train ride is a wonderful way to experience Colorado’s spectacular scenery and learn history. Colorado’s scenic train rides are a result of the gold and silver mining boom era in the late 1800s. The trains moved ore out of various hard-to-get-to mountainous regions and consequentially moved people in. The routes used to facilitate the mines were narrow gauge railways. These narrow rails and, subsequently, smaller rail cars could navigate the curvy mountain routes and high-trestled bridges easier than traditional wider tracks and larger rail cars. During this time, the automobile was in its infancy, and the bigger problem was the lack of established roadways. The best way in and through the mountains was by horse or stagecoach. The narrow gauge trains opened up the Rocky Mountains to habitation and commerce. Today, the scenic train rides in Colorado are the renovated versions of the original narrow gauge railways. These historic trains are for all to enjoy the amazing mountainous scenery they travel through and to learn about a time gone by.
Leadville Railroad – scenic train rides
Ride the Leadville Railroad via the historic mining town of Leadville. This scenic train travels along the old Denver, South Park & Pacific, and Colorado & Southern lines to the Continental Divide, heading north along the Arkansas Valley River Valley and rising up some 1,000 feet from the valley floor. You’ll see Mt. Massive and Mt. Elbert, two of the state’s tallest peaks. Some truly spectacular scenery!
Daily trips include a 2.5-hour round trip to and from the Leadville station. Special trips are offered throughout the year, like the summer Wildflower Special Train, which includes a guided hike through some of Colorado’s most beautiful and colorful parts. There’s also the Devil’s Tail BBQ ride, which is a train ride that passes through spectacular scenery and includes great food and drinks along the way. The Leadville Train offers adventure packages combining the train ride with activities like zip lining or white water rafting.
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad & Museum
Treat yourself to some real history aboard the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad & Museum (DSNGRR) scenic train. Durango was founded by the Denver & Rio Grande Railway in 1879, and two years later, the railroad arrived in town. That same year construction began on the line to Silverton, and in 1882 the tracks were laid, and movement of passengers and freight began. Railroad employees of the day recall eerie tales of this famous railroad, Ghost Tracks!
The DSNGRR travels between Durango and Silverton along 45 miles of track. The route passes through the San Juan National Forest, traverses steep mountain slopes while following the stunning Cascade Canyon. The DSNGRR offers a lot of really great special tours and events.
- Brew Trains that feature a different local brewery every week
- Wine and Rails, which includes a great lunch and plenty of wine samples
- Cowboy Poetry Train, which is held every October.
- The Great Pumpkin Patch Express during the fall, where kids can trick-or-treat and ride the train to the pumpkin patch to pick out the best jack-o-lantern material
- The Polar Express Train Ride, which takes families on an exciting trip to the North Pole.
- Skyway Tour along the San Juan Skyway
- Cascade Canyon Express
- Silverton Silverlight Express.
The Durango train offers 4 classes of service and a variety of nostalgic private cars and group seating options.
Georgetown Loop Railroad
Another good scenic train choice is the Georgetown Loop Railroad, 45 minutes west of Denver off I-70. It connects the towns of Georgetown and Silver Plume, once rollicking mining towns that are two miles apart by way of a narrow and steep canyon. The route gains more than 600 feet in elevation along the way and includes four high trestle bridges. The spectacular train ride in Colorado is 1.25 hours long and really provides an authentic step back into living in the mining era. The “Loop” train goes all out during the holidays with a wondrous lighted forest and Santaland experience.
The Georgetown Railroad operates May through mid-October and most days through early January. They have a variety of festive trains and event celebrations throughout their season.
Royal Gorge Route – scenic train rides
Considered the most luxurious train in Colorado, the Royal Gorge Route is a leisurely two-hour ride through the spectacular Royal Gorge. Several classes of service are available, including special lunch and dinner trains. Along the way, riders often see big horn sheep, bald eagles, and the occasional gold miner who’s working the Arkansas waters. Fishermen, rafters, kayakers, and other water enthusiasts also take advantage of the river’s flow.
Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad
The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad (C&TSRR) is a heritage narrow-gauge railroad that operates a stretch of track between Antonito, CO., and Chama, New Mexico. There are two notable geographical features along the route: Cumbres Pass (10,015′) and the Toltec Gorge. Originally, this scenic train was once part of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad‘s narrow gauge network and is today one of only two remaining parts of the former Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.
The Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad
The Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad (CC&VNGRR) is a heritage narrow gauge railroad that operates as a seasonal scenic train between Cripple Creek and the city’s outskirts to the south.
Colorado Scenic Train Rides
Scenic train rides in Colorado are primarily located around the big gold and silver boom towns of the late 1800s. In addition to scenic train rides, these town have lots of other types of attractions and things to do, such as the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, rafting adventures, off-road tours, horseback riding, natural hot springs just to name a few. The interests of your group will help determine the best scenic train ride to sign up for. Check out the areas that the train rides are located in to find the destination best for you.
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