Since its establishment over 30 years ago, the Rocky Mountaineer has become the pinnacle of luxury train travel in Canada. Each guest is treated to a carefully curated experience positively brimming with idyllic scenery, fantastic gastronomy, and attention to detail that leaves no desire unfulfilled. Beginning 2021, travelers no longer have to cross the Canadian border to immerse themselves in this luxury as the Rocky Mountaineer expands its offerings to the United States. This new route, Rockies to the Red Rocks, showcases the rugged landscapes of the Southwest, from the riparian forests and numerous mountain peaks of the Colorado Rockies to the monochromatic deserts and ruby-red canyons of Utah. Each change in the scenery is captured from the domed-glass rail coaches of America's new luxury train.
Rocky Mountaineer sets the tone for high-end rail travel, sitting in a class of its own amongst the United States' daylight, heritage, and scenic trains. The luxury begins the moment passengers board the train and are escorted to their plush, reclining seats. Huge picture windows line the carriages, providing uninhibited panoramas of the changing landscape. Look up - there are also windows curving up onto the ceiling, so even the highest peaks are easily visible. These seats are available to SilverLeaf and SilverLeaf Plus guests; however, those who upgrade SilverLeaf Plus may also watch the natural splendor unfold from a beautifully renovated lounge car. In the lounge, riders can grab a signature cocktail from the private bar or venture out onto the open-air viewing platform for an even more intimate perspective on the West's unseen vistas. Since the train limits its routes to daylight only, there is no worry of missing the sights to come.
Drink orders are taken, and breakfast is served as the journey commences in the Mile-High City of Denver, Colorado. All meals, snacks, and beverages are complimentary on the Rocky Mountaineer, and their quality is second to none. A seasoned chef and highly trained staff orchestrate thoughtful menus composed of only the freshest seasonal ingredients. Regional fare is elevated to new heights at each meal during the journey, including the initial breakfast, the three-course lunch, and the multi-course breakfast on the second day of travel. SilverLeaf Plus travelers enjoy an additional course at select meals. All of the gastronomic delights are served seat-side, allowing guests to simultaneously savor the scenery and their dishes.
Rocky Mountaineer's Rockies to the Red Rocks route is a compelling presentation in the diversity of the Southwest, from cityscapes to rushing rivers and from plunging canyons to twisting sandstone formations. It does not take long for Denver's urban scenes to fade into the distance and the Colorado Rockies' wild sights to overtake the tracks. The train follows the course of the Colorado River, meandering through deep canyons and undulating landscapes. Gross Reservoir Dam, spanning nearly 450 acres, is the first significant point of interest that comes into view on the westerly journey. By the time passengers finish their meal, the Rocky Mountaineer is approaching the Continental Divide. The in-cabin hosts pass glasses of sparkling wine, and guests can toast to the crossing of the continent. This is just one example of the impeccable service and thoughtful details that set this rail line apart.
Next, travelers approach the 6-mile Moffat Tunnel, a passageway that has ensured safe and efficient crossing through the harsh landscapes since 1928. The train enters the tunnel on the eastern side of the Divide, and upon exiting, the Continental Divide has officially been crossed. From here, the train continues along the riverside, weaving through the Rockies' foothills and amidst broad valleys. From this point, the scenery becomes even more dramatic, with breathtaking canyons coming into view, including Byers and Gore Canyons. Approximately 175 miles of incredible Colorado scenery is presented on the first day of travel, with the day concluding in Glenwood Springs. Guests disembark the train for an evening at a nearby hotel.
The Southwest's contrasts are on full display during the second day of travel as the Rocky Mountaineer exits the grandiose Colorado Rockies and ventures into the ruby red landscapes of Eastern Utah. As passengers settle into their seats, a two-course breakfast offers yet another gourmet dining experience. The train continues across Parachute Creek and proceeds past Mount Logan and De Beque Canyon. Mount Garfield stuns overhead as the train passes the Book Cliffs. Each new point of interest is met with riveting storytelling and fascinating tidbits of information presented by the train's hosts. Once again, the Colorado River leads the course, paving a stunning pathway toward the Colorado-Utah border.
Signature mocktails are served as the Rocky Mountaineer crosses the state line in Mack, Colorado. Almost immediately upon entering Westwater, Utah, the scarlet sandstone for which state is so well known comes into view. Ruby Canyon offers the perfect introduction to this new terrain, with its dramatic cliffs. At this point in the route, the Colorado Rockies are firmly in the past, and now, the La Sal Mountain Range is breaking on the horizon. Perhaps the most notable peak in the range, Mount Peale, is one of the first to emerge.
The landscape transforms at this point, quickly becoming much arider. No longer are lush greens hallmarks of the trip; instead, hues of red impress. Unique sandstone formations rise in the distance as the train approaches Arches National Park. After a day of travel composed of approximately 194 miles, the train arrives at the end of its line in Moab, Utah.
Exceptional service is a given for any adventure aboard the Rocky Mountaineer, whether it is a direct 2-day trip or guests stretch out their experience. Vacations By Rail offers several ways for travelers to enjoy America's first luxury train option, including journeys like:
- Rocky Mountaineer & Canyonlands National Park - A six-day vacation that begins with time in Denver and ends with explorations in Moab, this trip is filled with adventure and grand sights. Guests are treated to a Foothills Explorer Tour on Denver's Lariat Loop before they board the Rocky Mountaineer for a trip across the mountains and into Utah's sandstone landscapes. On arrival in Moab, a jet boat tour on the Colorado River offers another perspective on these amazing landscapes.
- Rockies to the Red Rocks Classic - Four days and three nights of incredible scenery lie ahead on this trip aboard the luxurious Rocky Mountaineer. Travelers have the day to explore Denver before beginning their train trip on the second day. Overnights in Glenwood Springs and Moab complement the highly scenic trip.
- Rockies to the Red Rocks 2-Day Rail - The Rockies to the Red Rockies trip in its purest form, this trip includes two days of travel and a single overnight in Glenwood Springs. As soon as the train stations in Moab, the expedition concludes.
Rocky Mountaineer, the new standard for luxury train travel in the United States, has arrived.