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Winter Train Rides in Colorado

Ride the rails this winter and capture amazing holiday memories.

By Lisa Blake

Colorado train tracks weave deep into forests, skirt along mountainsides and pass through some of the state’s most scenic and stunning landscapes. These three Colorado trains turn up the charm for the holidays.

The Georgetown Loop Railroad makes its way through the picturesque mountain canyon between Georgetown and Silver Plume along I-70. During the holiday season, guests can choose between two special rides: Santa’s Lighted Forest and Santa’s North Pole Adventure.

The Lighted Forest experience features a synchronized holiday music and light show in the trees above Georgetown. Visit Santa at the train depot, indulge in cookies and hot cocoa and then climb aboard for your nighttime journey. For a daytime treat, Santa’s North Pole Adventure puts guests on the train with St. Nick for a spirited trip through the narrow canyon. Guests on both excursions enjoy candy canes and cookies and depart with a complimentary jingle bell ornament.

Near Canon City, the Royal Gorge Route Railroad ups the ante on its usual two-hour train ride through the spectacular naturally carved Royal Gorge. Choose from a menu of trips, including the Santa Express train where kiddos climb aboard wearing their PJs and chug away to meet Mr. Claus at the magical North Pole. The winter wonderland adventure follows the classic book and invites guests to sing along to holiday music and enjoy dinner followed by cookies and hot cocoa. Pulling into the North Pole, Santa and his elves board the train and hand out a special holiday bell to each child.

Looking for a romantic New Year’s Eve date idea? Book a three-course dinner for two in the Royal Gorge Route Railroad’s glass-domed rail car.

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

Another popular holiday option is the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad’s rendition of The Polar Express. This thrilling annual train ride is based on Chris Van Allsburg’s award-winning book sharing the story of a child’s Christmas Eve journey. The beloved story is narrated as the train travels from Durango to Silverton and families enjoy hot chocolate and cookies with kids cozied up in their pajamas. Train buffs appreciate the vintage steam locomotives and 1800s throwback feel of this historic treasure.

Upgraded services include a take-home souvenir ceramic Polar Express Train Ride mug and a special Christmas-themed first-class car with table and chair seating. You’ll quickly see why National Geographic Traveler named the route the “No. 1 North American Train Trip.” Advance reservations are highly recommended for this popular Christmas tradition.