Colorado Rail Adventure - 8 Day Tour
Quite possibly the most "classic" train tour is this in-depth exploration of the Colorado Rockies aboard both standard and narrow gauge railways to summits of more than 14,000 feet. Teddy Roosevelt described a train journey through Colorado as "the trip that bankrupts the English language." Find out for yourself! Beginning and ending in Denver, this extraordinary itinerary makes a great circle of the Rockies and includes six remarkable train rides that fully justify President Roosevelt's enthusiasm.
Due to an early start on Day 1 of the tour, a pre-tour hotel night in Denver is strongly recommended. Vacations By Rail can arrange for a pre-tour hotel stay at the Comfort inn Downtown Denver upon request. Vacations By Rail can also arrange rail transportation from Chicago to Denver aboard the legendary California Zephyr, which brings travelers to Denver the morning your tour begins, for an additional charge. Ask a Vacations By Rail travel specialist for details.
Rail from your closest Amtrak Station to begin this tour is available through Vacations By Rail. Contact a rail specialist at 877-929-7245 for details.
- Hotel accommodations for 7 nights
- Sightseeing and scenic rail excursions (admission to all attractions included in tour price)
- 13 meals
- Transportation by deluxe motorcoach
- Services of a professional tour manager
- Baggage handling
- Taxes and services charges
Scenic highlights include:
- Georgetown Loop Railroad
- Pike's Peak Cog Railway
- Garden of the Gods
- Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway
- San Juan Mountains
- Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad
- Toltec Gorge
- Rio Grande Scenic Railroad
- La Veta Pass
- Great Sand Dunes National Park
- Royal Gorge Route Railway in the first class Vista Dome
- Hanging Bridge
Day 1 – Georgetown Loop Railroad
Meet your tour manager at the Comfort Inn Downtown Denver this morning and board your deluxe motorcoach for the drive up spectacular Clear Creek Canyon to Georgetown, where you will enjoy lunch followed by the first scenic rail excursion of the tour: a journey on the narrow gauge Georgetown Loop Railroad. The train’s route connected the mining towns of Georgetown and Silver Plume and was designed as a corkscrew and includes horseshoe curves and four bridges across Clear Creek. It was completed in 1884 and operated by the Colorado & Southern Railway for both passengers and freight from 1899-1938. After your picturesque journey along the narrow gauge railroad, embark on a scenic drive south along the Front Range to Colorado Springs, your home for the next two nights. This evening enjoy a welcome dinner with your fellow travelers. Overnight Antlers Hilton. (L, D)
Day 2 – Pike’s Peak Cog Railway, Garden of the Gods
This morning board the world’s highest cog railway, the Manitou Springs and Pike’s Peak Cog Railway, and ascend to the 4,300-metre summit of Pike’s Peak, which inspired the lyrics to “America the Beautiful.” After this breathtaking excursion, proceed to the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Centre where there will be time for lunch on your own before enjoying a film on the amazing natural wonders of this National Natural Landmark. Your day continues with a drive through the towering red rocks of the “Garden” and a stop at the renowned Garden of the Gods Trading Post where there will be time to shop for American Indian art at one of the finest Native American stores in the west. Overnight Antlers Hilton. (B)
Day 3 – Scenic Drive to Durango via Royal Gorge Park
Prepare for bountiful scenery today! The drive west over the Rockies is an incredible one as you cross Ute, Trout Creek, Poncha and Wolf Creek Passes en route to the glorious San Juan Mountains and today’s destination of Durango. A highlight of the day is the Royal Gorge, the centerpiece of today’s excursion. The Arkansas River creates a gorge over 365 meters deep with sheer cliffs towering above. The canyon is so narrow at the bottom that the D&RG Railroad constructed a unique “Hanging Bridge” anchored on both sides of the canyon, thus running the tracks suspended over the center of the river. More than 304 meters above is the spectacular Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge, the highest such span on earth. Overnight Best Western Plus Rio Grande. (B)
Day 4 – Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway
Today embark on the grandest of all Colorado rail journeys, the steam-powered Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway’s ascent of the Animas River Canyon to the ghost town of Silverton. The train operates 45 miles north from Durango through scenery that resembles that of Switzerland. The climb begins in the valley of the Animas River before the canyon narrows, all roads vanish, and for 30 miles there exists only the railroad, the glacial green waters of the Animas and the 3,657 to 4,267-metre peaks of the San Juan Mountains. There will be time for lunch on your own in Silverton as well as time to explore the shops before returning to Durango this afternoon by coach with the remainder of the day at your leisure. Overnight Best Western Plus Rio Grande. (B)
Day 5 – The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad
Early this morning the group will drive to Chama, New Mexico where you’ll board the longest narrow gauge steam railway in North America: the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. The route follows the former Denver & Rio Grande San Juan Extension for 64 miles over the 3,058-metre Cumbres Pass through the heart of the San Juan Mountains. Past the divide the train enters the deep canyon of the Rio des los Pinos (River of Pines), and for 50 miles no paved road crosses the tracks. There will be a stop for lunch in Osier, after which the train’s journey continues with a steep descent past Toltec Gorge. Your day concludes in Alamosa, where the evening is at your leisure. Overnight Inn of the Rio Grande Alamosa.* (B, L)
Day 6 – Rio Grande Scenic Railroad
Today’s excursion takes us along Colorado’s standard gauge Rio Grande Scenic Railroad from Alamosa to La Veta. This line restores passenger service to the wildly beautiful La Veta Pass, a summit last crossed by regularly scheduled passenger trains over 50 years ago. A picnic luncheon is included during your layover in La Veta. After lunch there will be free time to explore this charming town.
Continue by coach to Great Sand Dunes National Park, where the endless easterly wind across the San Luis Valley has created towering sand dunes which rise up to 228 metres above the valley floor against the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.Enjoy dinner this evening at a local restaurant. Overnight Inn of the Rio Grande Alamosa.* (B, L, D)
Day 7 – Royal Gorge Route Railway
Today explore the Royal Gorge canyon’s depths aboard the restored Royal Gorge Route Railroad in the first-class vista-dome car where you will be served a delicious lunch as the train travels on the historic former Rio Grande Railroad tracks. A highlight of the journey is the stop at “Hanging Bridge” on the narrowest point in the chasm. The excursion concludes with a view of the soaring Suspension Bridge and the inclined railway from the rim to the river’s edge. After such an amazing day, the group will drive back to Denver, where the evening will be at your leisure. Overnight Comfort Inn Downtown Denver. (B, L)
Day 8 – Denver
Your tour comes to a close after breakfast this morning. Your tour manager is available until 10:00 am to assist in your departure from Denver. (B)
Antlers Hilton: Located in the heart of downtown Colorado Springs, this 285-room hotel offers spectacular views of Pikes Peak and the Rocky Mountains. Amenities include complimentary high-speed Internet access in guest rooms, a full-service restaurant on-site, microbrewery, health club, indoor pool, and whirlpool.
BW Plus Rio Grande: Located in historic downtown Durango and two blocks from the timeless Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway, the 102-room hotel features such amenities as a fitness center, heated indoor pool, hot tub, sauna, and free high-speed wireless Internet.
Inn of the Rio Grande: This 125-room hotel includes amenities such as free WiFi, a fitness center, pool, hot tub, new indoor water park, and a restaurant/bar on-site.
Comfort Inn Downtown Denver: Located in Denver's financial district, this 231-room hotel offers incredible views of the Rocky Mountains and is just minutes away from the Denver Art Museum, zoo, and Elitch Gardens amusement park. Amenities include a business center, lounge/bar, restaurant, fitness center, and free high-speed Internet.
Call 877-929-7245 today to book your Colorado Rail Adventure vacation.
Prices are land-only, per person. Prices are are correct at the time of this web page going live; however, are subject to confirmation at time of booking.
Due to an early start on Day 1 of the tour, a pre-tour hotel night in Denver is strongly recommended. Vacations By Rail can arrange for a pre-tour hotel stay at the Comfort inn Downtown Denver upon request.
*Day 5 and 6 accommodations for the September 13 departure are at the Holiday Inn Express, Alamosa.