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Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (D&SNGRR) arrived in Durango (now Durango train) on August 5, 1881, and construction on the line to Silverton began in the fall of the same year. By July of 1882 (amazingly, only 9 months after construction began) the tracks to Silverton were completed, and the train began hauling freight and passengers. The line was constructed to haul silver & gold ore from the San Juan Mountains, but passengers soon realized the view was truly precious. This historic train has been in continuous operation for 132 years, carrying passengers behind vintage steam locomotives and rolling stock indigenous to the line.

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

 

The Durango Train & Silverton NGRR Tours Durango Silverton Presidential

Scenic Round Trip Silverton Train

Departs from the Durango Depot and is a 9-hour excursion. Enjoy a leisurely round-trip adventure to yesteryear on board the historic Durango train bound for Silverton. The sightseeing is spectacular along with the route, including travel through Horseshoe Curve, High Bridge, and the Animas River Gorge. The train has a concessions car with various snacks and drinks for purchase. There is a 2-hour layover (part of the total time) in the historic mining town of Silverton. There is a one-way bus service option as well, in either direction.

Cascade Canyon Express

This is the shortest excursion the Durango & Silverton NGRR train offers but equally as stunning. The Cascade Express is 5.25 hours and perfect for those on a schedule. It travels the same route but turns around at Cascade Canyon about halfway. The train has a concessions car, or you can pre-order a box lunch.

Cascade Canyon Winter Train

Same train but in the winter. Experience the magnificent views of the Animas River and the surrounding snow-covered peaks. Winter train operates from November –Durango Silverton First Class May.

Durango Train Tour Packages

  • The Silverton Silverlight Express
  • Extended Silverton adventure Express
  • Silverton Historical Mine Tour

Wilderness Access

The 8:15 am Silverton Train offers a drop-off into the San Juan National Forest and the Weminuche Wilderness for backpacking, day hikes, rafting, and fishing trips during the summer season (May thru October). Reservations required.

D&SNGRR Classes of Service

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad offers 15 classes of seating, everything from the most exquisite presidential coach car to open-air gondola cars. You will certainly find the comfort level to suit your style.

  • Presidential Class (Age 21 and over)
  • First Class
  • Red Mountain
  • Yankee GirlDurango Train - Silverton Vista
  • Alamosa Parlor Car
  • Knight Sky
  • Prospector
  • Silver Vista
  • Deluxe Class
  • Deluxe Legend
  • Historic San Juan Coach
  • Rio Grande Open Observation
  • Standard Class
  • Open-Air Gondola
  • Coach Seating

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad – Package Experiences

Consider more than just a train ride. The D&SNGRR makes it possible to combine the area’s activities and destinations.

Hotel Packages

Stay at the Grand Imperial Hotel in Silverton. The historic town of Silverton is truly a step back in time that will enhance your getaway vacation.

Durango Train - Silverton OpenAir

Adventure Packages:

  • Snowmobile tour and a train ride.
  • Guided ATV tour and a train ride.
  • Jeep tour and a train ride.
  • Zipline and a train ride.
  • Train ride and a raft trip.

Tour Packages

  • The Silverton Silverlight Express
  • Extended Silverton adventure Express
  • Silverton Historical Mine Tour

Signature Events

The D&SNGRR has a long list of seasonal and holiday events. They realize that families, groups or couples enjoy celebrating special times of year together, and the train goes all out to make these experiences as memorable as possible.

Durango Silverton Legend

Group Sales

Interested in booking a group event? Group sales are available for parties requiring 20 or more seats. Give them a call at 970-385-8875 or contact them.

 

 

 

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All Aboard!

All Aboard!

All Aboard – it’s that time

Welcome to the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad! We’re glad you’ve chosen to visit. Whether you are new to experiencing this legendary railroad or have been a returning guest for years, we look forward to offering you the best in year-round historic train adventures presented today as they were in 1882! We invite you to hop aboard and relive the “Golden Age” on our railroad, which was voted “#1 Best Scenic Train in North America “ by USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice 2021 & 2022, “Best Historic Railroad of the West” 2021-23 by TrueWest Magazine Readers, and “Best Train Experience in the West” in 2016 by Sunset Magazine. Order a FREE All-Aboard Guide.

About D&SNGRR

Our family has dedicated decades to preserving the history surrounding this national treasure, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. This railroad is designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service and an American Society of Civil Engineering Landmark.

When is the best time to visit the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad? Any time of the year!

During the winter, we offer exclusive round-trip train adventures deep into the heart of the San Juan National Forest to Cascade Canyon as well as the premier holiday family event train, THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train ride.

If you’re visiting in the springtime, your train excursion may feature incredible waterfalls during the spring thaw season as you journey to Cascade Canyon.

All Aborad

All Aboard in the Summer

Summer is high season at the D&S with daily full day Durango to Silverton excursions May through October departing from Durango. We also offer daily 5-hour excursions on the Cascade Canyon Express seven days a week during the high season. These rail journeys also depart from the Durango Depot and travel to Cascade Canyon and are a perfect highlight reel of spectacular Rocky Mountain vistas for those with limited time.

Autumn offers you a unique way to experience peak leaf season from the comfort of the D&S train. Connect with family and friends as you explore the Rocky Mountains by historic railway. Sit back and allow yourself to be transported through a riot of blazing fall colors featuring the spectacular golden glow of aspens.

However you choose to relax and connect on the D&S train, and whatever adventure awaits you, we hope you have an inspiring journey where you create wonderful life-long memories!

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Durango Hot Springs

Surrounded by mountain views, these natural mineral hot springs are like no other on Earth, with a perfect blend of minerals and an absence of sulfuric odor. The newly renovated Durango Hot Springs Spa combines the benefits of natural mineral hot springs soaking with therapeutic and relaxation massage and a full complement of spa treatments. Durango Hot Springs is open daily from 9:00 AM-10:00 PM. Reservations are required.

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Cañon City royal gorge bridge

Cañon City

Travel to Cañon City, Colorado

Tucked into the folds and bluffs of the Arkansas Valley in south central Colorado, Cañon City boasts the nickname of “The Climate Capital of Colorado” due to the mild climate. The relaxed pace of the region’s quaint small towns, spectacular scenery, year-round outdoor activities, The Royal Gorge Park & Bridge, and The Arkansas River, which flows through the region, make this the perfect vacation destination. Request a FREE Vacation Guide.

Favorite Things to Do in the Royal Gorge Region

  • Royal Gorge Bridge and Park – a must-see and do experience. Cross America’s highest suspension bridge and participate in the other features offered at the park.
  • Whitewater rafting through the Royal Gorge Canyon – a very popular way to see and experience all the wonders of the Royal Gorge Canyon and the Arkansas River.
  • Jeep Tours – The Royal Gorge Region is an amazing place to travel through. Featuring a high alpine desert landscape and a plethora of off-road routes.
  • Royal Gorge Scenic Train – climb onboard the original transcontinental passenger train from the early 1900s.
  • The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey – voted “Best Front Range Tasting Room” by Colorado Vine. The wine-tasting room is open daily.
  • Mountain Biking & Hiking – are understated activities but many exceptional miles of trails await.

Cañon City Downtown Canon City

About Canon City and Regional Attractions

Family fun starts with a memorable ride on the Royal Gorge Route Railroad, one of the most scenic train rides in the world. The historic tracks follow the Arkansas River through the Royal Gorge Canyon, with views of the bridge from below. The whole family will enjoy exploring the unique rock formations and historic dinosaur sites. Leisure seekers will delight in the one-of-a-kind galleries, renowned antiquing, wine tasting, golfing, and fishing.

Cañon City is home to The Royal Gorge, which has a width of 50 feet at the base of the gorge and a few hundred feet at its top, with a depth of 1,200 feet; the 10-mile-long canyon is a stunning natural wonder. 1929, one of the world’s highest suspension bridges was built over the Grand Gorge. The Royal Gorge Bridge has a quarter-mile long span and hangs 1,053 feet above the gorge. The bridge is one of Colorado’s most popular attractions.

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royal gorge train

The Royal Gorge Train

The Royal Gorge Train Route

The Scenic Royal Gorge Train is a Cañon City, Colorado, heritage railroad. A 1950s-era passenger train makes a daily 2-hour excursion from the Sante Fe Depot through the Royal Gorge along a famous section of the former Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. The Royal Gorge Train is not a narrow-gauge train. For an authentic mining-era narrow gauge scenic train ride, try these:

Narrow Gauge Scenic Train Rides 

The Royal Gorge Route

The train travels to the western terminus in Parkdale, Colorado, where it turns around. During its travel, the train goes under the Royal Gorge suspension bridge, by the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, and across the hanging bridge, all while in the Royal Gorge. In addition to these amazing attractions, you can expect to see some spectacular sights, such as an assortment of wildlife, river rafters, and the amazing canyon.

There are four departures daily with your choice of fare.  Gift certificates are available.

The Royal Gorge Train Experience

The Royal Gorge Train takes pride in providing an exceptional dining experience. They purchase only the highest quality foods and provide various dining selections and fares.

Vista Dome Car

Ride in the modern Vista Dome car. This car has wrap-around dome windows that open up an overhead view of the canyon not seen from a traditional window. Reservation includes purchasing meals from the 403 grill menu and bar. All Vista Dome guests have access to the open-air car.

Deluxe Class

Ride in style via the Deluxe Class seating. Experience one of the traditionally restored Victorian-style railcars. Reservations include breakfast, lunch, or dinner and drinks from the bar. Guests have access to the open-air car.

Coach

Ride in comfort via Coach class. Relax in a modern cushion seat and take in the vistas via a large window. Reservations include access to meals and drinks. All Coach class guests have access to the open-air car. 

History of the Royal Gorge Route

In the late 1870s, there was a race to build rail to access the Leadville district in the pursuit of ore rich in lead and silver. This attracted the Rio Grande and the Santa Fe railroads; both had tracks in the lower Arkansas valley. This conflicting interest turned into the historical Royal Gorge War. After significant gunfire and Supreme Court rulings, an out-of-court agreement was reached called the “Treaty of Boston” (Boston was the corporate home of the Santa Fe Train). This ended all litigation and gave the Denver and Rio Grnade (D&RG) back its railroad. D&RG paid Sante Fe $1.8M for the railroad it had built in the Gorge. The railway finally reached Leadville on July 20th, 1880. 

The Era of The Passenger Train

In 1882 the Royal Gorge Route became the transcontinental rail link between Denver and Salt Lake. The rails were ultimately standardized to facilitate the foreign line cars and remain so today. The era of the passenger train began in 1880 and continued through 1967. The advent of passenger cars, planes, and buses contributed to the downfall of the Royal Gorge passenger train. The final blow to this era came when the U.S. Post Office canceled the mail contract with the train.

In 1996 the Union Pacific Railroad decided that portions of the track, at the time 221 miles, were no longer needed. Of this excess, the portion between Canon City and Sage, approximately 160 miles east of Gypsum, would be abandoned and converted to Rails to Trails.

Governor Roy Romer Preserves the Scenic Route

Colorado Governor Roy Romer told the Union Pacific Railroad that the state would not oppose the abandonment provided the 12 miles from Canon City to Parkdale was intact. Romer wanted the line through the Royal Gorge to be available as a means for tourists to see the magnificent natural gorge from the river level.

The Royal Gorge Express (RGX) purchased the 12 miles of line, including the track, bridges, and other improvements, from Union Pacific in 1998. The success of RGX has much to do with its association with Georgetown Loop company. The guidance of the “Loop” which had been in the business of running a scenic train for 25 years at that time, contributed greatly to the development and success of the  Royal Gorge Scenic Train. Ultimately, the train has greatly benefited the economy of Canon City and Fremont County. 

The Royal Gorge Region

The Royal Gorge Region remains a special place similar to our National Parks. The Royal Gorge Railroad believes riding the rails through the gorge and experiencing the amazing natural sights, such as Big Horn Sheep, Blue Heron, and Bald eagles with the turbulent Arkansas River at your side, is a unique experience that should be preserved for future generations.  

Riding the Royal Gorge Train is an experience of the wonders of nature. It’s stepping back into the past and getting a real-time understanding of how our forefathers traveled across the country and what motivated the development of the train. 

royal gorge train

 

 

 

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Copper Mountain

Copper Mountain, Co. – More Than a World-Class Ski Resort

Copper Mountain Logo

Copper Mnt  |  866-841-2481  |  866-841-2481
209 Ten Mile Circle, Copper Mountain, CO 80443

While Copper is best known as a world-class ski area and snowboard park, guests also enjoy the resort’s intimate, pedestrian-only villages, which offer restaurants, family-friendly activities, shopping, and comfortable lodging, all within walking distance to the lifts.  Copper Mountain is conveniently located just 75 miles west of Denver in the heart of the Colorado Rocky Mountains and offers nearby access to snowmobile tours, dog-sledding, and shopping just six miles away in Frisco.  Copper’s naturally-divided terrain provides the perfect place to learn or hone your skiing or riding skills.  With over 140 trails, 23 lifts, 2,465 acres of skiable terrain, and a mountain peak height of 12,313, Copper Mountain is a local’s favorite on a powder day or any day.

Request more information about Copper Mountain

Copper Mountain

Summer Time at the Ski Area

Nestled in the White River National Forest, Copper Mountain ski resort transforms into a summer vacation playground for the whole family. Popular attractions include:

The Rocky Mountain Coaster – Cruise through the forest on a tracked coaster. 5,800 feet long in fact and maxes out at 25 miles per hour. The longest North American alpine coaster. Something you don’t want to miss.

Copper Creek Golf – Experience golfing with the stunning Ten Mile Range backdrop. Outstanding service and prices that will keep you coming back. Season passes are available.

Mountain Biking at the Resort – A mountain biking paradise. From long rides into the Rockies to some of the best lift-service single track in Colorado. A Bike Haul is offered for those seeking more of a downhill adventure. Check out the cross country trails near Copper Mountain Resort. These trails provide access to spectacular trails throughout Summit County.

Popular Cross-Country Mountain Bike Trails:

  • Wheeler Trail – 10.3-mile point to point
    A classic alpine single track with several miles over 12,000 feet. It’s popular to start from the McCullough Road trailhead and end at Copper Mountain. Enjoy amazing views of Quandary Peak and Gorge Range along the way.
  • Colorado Trail – Copper Mountain to Searle Pass – 19.3 miles round trip
    Start right at the base of Copper Mountain and top out at 12,044 feet. Best during late summer when all the high-elevation snow has melted. Climb through alpine meadows with expansive views.
  • Friso 20 Loop – 19.9-mile loop
    A classic ride that connects Copper with Frisco on a mix of roads and trails. The loop combines sections of the Wheeler Trail, the Colorado Trail, and the Peaks Trail. Giving you a little bit of everything, including 3,000 feet of climbing.

There’s more at Copper Mountain Resort

They have scheduled year-round events such as music, art, or yoga retreats. Fun parks for kids and young adults. An assortment of spas, shopping, and dining. You can surely find a mountain vacation experience to satisfy the whole group.

 

 

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Georgetown Loop Bridge

Georgetown Loop Scenic Train

The Georgetown Loop Railroad®

The Georgetown Loop Scenic Train runs every day from May through mid-October and most days through early January. The train ride is 1 hour and 15 minutes long. Their scheduled opening day for 2023 is April 8th. They offer an endless list of special event trains and a variety of fares. Passengers will enjoy spectacular views of the mountains, which are accompanied by the incredible feeling of stepping back into another time when the railroad ruled, mining was a way of life, & outlaws littered the land. Hear fascinating stories and learn about the history of the train and mining in the early days. It’s all part of the Georgetown Loop experience.

Purchase Tickets ~ Call: 1-888-456-6777 ~ Email: info@historicrailadventures.com

Located only 45 miles from Denver and is nestled high in the rocky mountains.

The Georgetown Loop

The Georgetown Loop Railroad is a narrow gauge heritage railroad located in Clear Creek County right off Interstate 70 in Colorado. The “Loop” runs between the communities of Georgetown and Silver Plume. The total Georgetown Loop distance is 4.5 miles and ascends an elevation of 640 feet through very mountainous terrain. The train ride is full of stunning mountain vistas, thrilling crossings of high trestle bridges, and curvy cuts through the forest.

Passengers can board the train at Silver Plume and Devils Gate depots.

The Georgetown Railroad Service

Coach Class

Charter a Train

The Georgetown Loop Train makes it possible to Charter a train. Give them a call 1-888-456-6777 to make special arrangements and to reserve your train. Chartered trains are perfect for large functions such as corporate events, weddings, or private parties.

Special Event Trains

The Georgetown Train is notorious for its many special event trains. They have special trains for every season and holiday. Their winter Holiday Train is their hallmark and an all-out effort, featuring a spectacular lighted forest and Santa Land experience. Plus, special treats, storytelling, and gifts for the kids.

Mining Tours & Gold Panning

Parlor Class Georgetown Loop

Experience “The Silver Queen of the Rockies” with a mine and gold panning tour. There are 3 choices of mining tours. Each tour takes participants into historic mines. Participants will be guided, shown ore veins, and told stories about the early mining days. Natural features will be pointed out, and learn about spooky miners’ superstitions and ghost stories.

Georgetown Loop Classes of Fare

Coach Class

The Georgetown Loop coach cars are heated and enclosed in the winter but return to open-air cars in the summer and fall. These cars feature bench seating, and some cars are wheelchair accessible. Coach Class cars are available all season.

Parlor Class – only available during the Holiday Train (Nov-Jan) Tahoe car Georgetown Loop

Argentine, Silver Queen, and Clear Creek Cars are fully enclosed and feature tables with chair seating (2-4 guests per table). Fare includes onboard snacks and non-alcoholic drinks. Beer, wine, and special holiday cocktails are available for purchase. Some cars are wheelchair accessible.

Executive Class – only available during the Holiday Train (Nov-Jan)

The Tahoe Club Car is a fully enclosed car with upholstered booth-style seating, perfect for families and groups. Fare includes onboard snacks and non-alcoholic drinks. Beer, wine, and special holiday cocktails are available for purchase. Unfortunately, these cars are not wheelchair accessible. Staff members will provide assistance to guests with limited abilities on and off train cars.

Presidential Class – only available during the Holiday Train (Nov-Jan) Presidential Class Georgetown Loop

The Waldorf Club Car is a fully enclosed car featuring upholstered booth-style seating, elaborate victorian wood finishes, and a posh atmosphere. Fare includes onboard snacks and non-alcoholic drinks. Beer, wine, and special holiday cocktails are available for purchase. Unfortunately, these cars are not wheelchair accessible. Staff members will provide assistance to guests with limited abilities on and off train cars.

Georgetown loop trestle bridge

History of the Georgetown Train

The Georgetown Loop was originally part of the larger line, the Colorado Central Railroad, and was constructed in the 1870s and 1880s by the Georgetown, Breckenridge and Leadville Railway. These railroads were facilitating the Colorado Gold Rush and the silver boom. More specifically, the “Loop” was used to haul silver ore from mines at Silver Plume.

The “Loop “ portion of the line was the crown segment, crossing the gorge on a 95-foot high trestle.

In 1893, the Colorado and Southern Railway took over the line and operated it for passengers and freight until 1938. During part of this time, the “Loop” connected with the Argentine Central Railway in Silver Plume. Tourists were able to continue onward to the summit of Mount McClellan.

The survival of the Georgetown Loop as a scenic train was due to the Colorado Historical Society and their ability to negotiate mining claim donations and track and ties donated by the Union Pacific Railroad that helped rebuild the high bridge in the 1970s. Although the “Loop” hasn’t been without turmoil. In the 2000s, The Colorado Historical Society awarded the operation contract to Railstar, Inc. (away from the original operator, Georgetown Loop Railroad, Inc.), which ultimately drove the train into near destruction. In 2009 the Colorado Historical Society terminated the contract with Railstar and awarded it to a local Georgetown businessman. The train is now called the Historic Rail Adventures LLC. It has been operating successfully to this day.

Georgetown Loop lighted forest

 

 

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Castle Rock Colorado

Castle Rock

Things To Do in Castle Rock

It’s easy to see how Castle Rock got its name when one spies the castle-shaped butte towering high above the town center. The town’s history is also easily visible in the original, well-preserved homes, cafés, and churches throughout the area. Many of these were built using the unusual rhyolite stone that originally attracted the settlers who founded the town in the mid-to-late 18th century. Prior to their arrival, the area was occupied by Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indian tribes. Today, nearly 60,0000 people call Castle Rock home.

With roots in mining and railroads, this affluent town offers an updated taste of the Old West. It boasts a historic downtown area, 265 acres of parks, and 44 miles of trails.  Castle Rock, easily accessible by Interstate 25, is home to the Outlets at Castle Rock (the largest open-air outlet center in the State) and is the seat of Douglas County.  The town encompasses 33 square miles and sits in the East Plum Creek Valley at the base of the Rocky Mountains at an elevation of 6,202 feet.

With over 300 days of sunshine each year, Castle Rock is a safe and welcoming place to enjoy the brisk Colorado air year round.

Castle Rock neighborhood

 

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South Park

South Park, Colorado

Perched high in the Colorado Rockies, South Park Colorado is a microcosm of Western history.  From deep canyons to vast grasslands to snowy peaks and alpine meadows, this compelling basin is home to the nation’s highest incorporated town, gold mines, cattle ranches, and mountain passes.  As one of only 49 National Heritage Areas in the United States, South Park offers a rare glimpse of pioneer life at high altitudes during the settlement of the American West.

This region is a landscape rich with heritage and attracts individuals who value Western authenticity.  Some ranches have been operated for five generations by the same family.  As they have for centuries, residents still depend on the land for their livelihood, recreation, and quality of life.  As other places lose their inherent charm, South Park becomes a more engaging destination.

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South Park Heritage

South Park boasts an array of nationally significant artifacts that reflect different aspects of this country’s heritage.  The basin’s high peaks, clear streams, and copious wildlife embody the resources that sustained the native people and attracted settlers west.  Hundreds of historic sites and structures still remain 150 years after the development of early mining, railroading, and ranching at 10,000 feet.  Local events celebrate the lives of early pioneers in this area.  Together, these resources and traditions evoke images of the struggle for prosperity that played out within the ring of mountains that define Colorado’s largest mountain park.

Park County Courthouse

Seven years after Fairplay became the county seat in 1867, the old Park County Courthouse was built of native sandstone in the Italianate style.  Along with the adjacent stone jail, this building witnessed a parade of the famous, the notorious, and the ordinary.  Known as the “hanging court,” decisions made here had a profound impact on Colorado case law.  Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it now serves as a public library and is one of 12 properties showcased in the Fairplay Historic Walking Tour brochure.

Boreas Pass Section House

Managed by the U.S. Forest Service, the Boreas Pass Section House was built in 1882 to house railroad workers on the Denver, SP & Pacific Railroad Highline Route between Como and Breckenridge.  Next to the Section House, the 1860s Wagon Cabin was built when this route was a mere wagon trail over the Continental Divide.  Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, these structures now serve as a visitor center and museum during summer and a backcountry ski hut during winter.

More About South Park Colorado

Perhaps you’re curious about the more modern attraction, the cartoon South Park. What does this area of Colorado have to do with the cartoon anyway? One can really only speculate on the subject. Perhaps these two places (one real, the other fictional) have nothing to do with one another. It’s just a mere coincidence that they bear similar names. However, it’s also possible that there’s more to it than mere coincidence. One similarity that stands out is that the historical South Park was outlandish, full of ironies and scandal. This is also true about the cartoon. Learn more about South Park, Fairplay, and Conifer, Colorado. Some interesting connections between them might satisfy your curiosity.

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