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Colorado Rail Experience

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4.6 stars(114 reviews)
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Immerse yourself in Gold Rush lore and relish the secluded scenes of the Rocky Mountains as you explore Colorado’s rugged terrain aboard six heritage railroads, including the beloved Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.

You are viewing the 2022 itinerary. Select your departure year
20222021
8 days From $2,695 per person

2022 Tour code: RM-CREA-22

About the tour

Journey through the untamed beauty of Colorado on this 8-day Rocky Mountain expedition. We discover expanses of landscape hidden from modern traffic aboard six fantastic railways: the Georgetown Loop Railroad, the Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, the Royal Gorge Route Railroad, and the Manitou and Pikes Peak Railway. While we ride the rails, railroad experts and knowledgeable guides introduce us to the mining and railway history of the state. Our journey also includes a visit to the awe-inspiring Garden of the Gods. Join the experience as the colorful past of the Old West is brought to life once more.

Highlights

Activity level Keep it Going

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Less sitting, more walking. You don’t mind longer days of physical activity and sightseeing with some activities that go into the evening. Some rest periods are nice but only when necessary.

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - Colorado Rail Museum/Georgetown Loop Railroad

Our journey begins as you meet your group and Tour Manager in Denver this morning and we transfer to Golden, CO, by coach to explore the Colorado Rail Museum. A tour through its featured exhibits, extensive collection of rolling stock and Roundhouse restoration facility offers an insider's perspective of this fascinating site. Departing the museum, we immerse ourselves in the mining history of the Rocky Mountains aboard the Georgetown Loop Railroad. This narrow-gauge, two coil loop railway was completed in 1884 and takes us on the original 4 1/2-mile loop between Georgetown and Silver Plume. Lunch is served in Georgetown before a scenic drive through the rugged landscape to the resort town of Breckenridge. This evening is at leisure to enjoy the mountainous scenery and authentic Gold Rush surroundings of the town. Overnight Breckenridge.

Includes
  • Lunch
Day 2 - Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad

Step back in time and discover the mining and railroad past of Leadville, CO, today as we join the Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad. We follow a course through San Isabel National Forest, traveling into thick groves of alpine trees as we follow alongside the Arkansas River. Views of Colorado's tallest peaks, Mt. Massive and Mt. Elbert, come into view as the train continues through the lush valley, and we even cross the Continental Divide during the 2 1/2-hour tour. Photo opportunities abound along the scenic route - as do the conductor's ghost stories and lore that highlight the colorful history of the region.

Upon return to Breckenridge, take the remainder of the day to enjoy the wild surroundings of the town. There are endless hiking trails to embark upon, including some that feature waterfalls. South Main Street is the perfect destination for shopping, and there are plenty of breweries and restaurants to delight your palate. Overnight Breckenridge.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 3 - Breckenridge to Durango

We depart Breckenridge this morning and enjoy a leisurely day of travel by deluxe motorcoach bound for Durango near the Colorado/New Mexico border. Our route includes inspiring vistas of the Rockies, lush National Forests and protected Grasslands. We pass through quaint mining towns and make several stops to stretch our legs and to admire the scenery on foot. Our first stop occurs in Salida, where you have time to grab lunch on your own at one of the local watering holes or to visit the fascinating Salida Museum, which further examines the mining and railroad past of Colorado. There is a lovely art scene here to explore during your time here, as well. Our route continues south, passing through the Rio Grande National Forest before we arrive in Durango late this afternoon.  We check into the Strater Hotel, Durango's "Historic Landmark hotel" for a two-night stay. Located within walking distance of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, the hotel features period furnishings as well as the largest collection of American antiques in the country. The evening is yours to explore Historic Downtown Durango, which is brimming with Wild West history, restaurants and unique shops to explore. Overnight Durango.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 4 - Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

This morning, we board one of the most scenic railroads in the Southwest, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. This journey takes us on a route along the Animas River from Durango to Silverton. Sights of canyon country, San Juan National Forest, protected wildlife areas and beautiful mountain vistas overtake the landscape during the ride, and it is not uncommon to see wildlife. Bring your camera! A true highlight of this journey is the ride through the Animas River Gorge. The train travels above the gorge on a manmade ledge on the side of a canyon, offering spectacular views of the gorge down below. Silverton, CO, an 1874 mining town located high in the San Juan Mountains, is our destination. While this locale is now a hotspot for tourists and winter sports, its gritty past is still visible in its historic buildings and adventurous atmosphere. After returning to Durango, the remainder of the day is at leisure. Overnight Durango.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 5 - Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad

An unforgettable journey lies ahead today as we set out on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, the longest and highest narrow-gauge steam railroad in North America and voted the #1 Top Attraction in Colorado and New Mexico by USA Today. The Southwest's scenes are on full display on this 64-mile ride, including glimpses at steep canyons, colorful meadows, ranches, grassy hills, beautiful mountain ranges, rushing waterways and brilliant blue skies. We cross over Cascade Creek Trestle and pass through charming mountain towns and abandoned villages. This route crosses the Colorado/New Mexico border 13 times and allows passengers to get a feel for what a daily train ride would have been like in the heyday of steam train travel. As the tour concludes, we continue our heritage rail voyage through Colorado into the San Luis Valley, the oldest settled area in Colorado, en route to Alamosa. Overnight Alamosa.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 - Royal Gorge Route Railroad

Find yourself surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the Royal Gorge on our fifth railway journey of the tour, the Royal Gorge Route Railroad. We board our motorcoach this morning and travel to the station in Canon City - a route that offers another look at the stunning forests and mountains that make Colorado so beloved. We get a unique perspective of the stunning scenery from our seats in the train's first-class vista-dome car. Travel along the Arkansas River and see the Hanging Bridge at the narrowest point in the chasm. We enjoy lunch in the train's dining car. The excursion concludes with a stop underneath the soaring Suspension Bridge from the rim to the river's edge. After our journey, we continue by coach to Colorado Springs, a hub for culture and adventure. Spend the rest of the day exploring the offerings of this lively city, perhaps checking out the exciting dining options or visiting one of the local museums. Overnight Colorado Springs.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch
Day 7 - Manitou and Pikes Peak Railway/Garden of the Gods

Take in incredible 360-degree vistas from 14,115 feet above sea level today as we travel to the summit of Pikes Peak, the mountain that inspired the song "America the Beautiful." Our sixth rail excursion is aboard the newly re-opened Manitou and Pikes Peak Railway. The nine-mile journey to the top passes Ruxton Creek in Englemann Canyon, Minnehaha Falls, Deer Park and a wide range of wildlife. At the summit there will be time to take in views from every angle, visiting the gift shop and sampling world-famous doughnuts. Just as with the trip up the mountain, the ride down is also narrated by a knowledgeable Conductor who is chock-full of facts about Pikes Peak, the Rockies and Colorado as a whole. Before returning to Colorado Springs, we visit Garden of the Gods - a National Natural Landmark site - for a drive through the dramatic red r­­ock formations that reach up to 300 feet tall. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Overnight Colorado Springs.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 8 - Tour Conclusion

Our tour of Colorado's railways concludes after breakfast. A group transfer to Denver International Airport accommodates flights departing after 1 p.m.

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

Holiday Inn Express Alamosa, Alamosa

Holiday Inn Express Alamosa, Alamosa

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DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Breckenridge

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Breckenridge

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The Antlers by Wyndham Hotel, Colorado Springs

The Antlers by Wyndham Hotel, Colorado Springs

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Colorado Springs Marriott

Colorado Springs Marriott

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Strater Hotel, Durango

Strater Hotel, Durango

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Trains

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad
Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
Georgetown Loop Railroad
Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad
Royal Gorge Railroad

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Reviews

4.6 stars4.6 / 5 · 114 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (67)
  2. 4 stars
    (46)
  3. 3 stars
    (1)
  4. 2 stars
    (0)
  5. 1 star
    (0)

Frances, E., The Villages, FL

5 stars

Submitted 26 Apr 2019

Everything was 5-Star from arrival until departure. Sheryl is as good as they come, as well as our bus driver, James. The tour was breath-taking, fun, memorable and moving. America is truly BEAUTIFUL! Thanks, again to everyone who put this remarkable tour together!

Collected by Vacations By Rail

Fae P., West Chester, OH

5 stars

Submitted 19 Feb 2019

Great tour and manager! This was a bucket list trip for my husband and it was spectacular!

Collected by Vacations By Rail

Frank N., Forest Hill, MD

4 stars

Submitted 02 Jan 2019

Wonderful trip!

Collected by Vacations By Rail

Mary H., Avenel, NJ

4 stars

Submitted 31 Dec 2018

Excellent! Excellent! Excellent! The best tour manager and driver. I have such an appreciation for this beautiful state.

Collected by Vacations By Rail

Linda K., Manchester, PA

5 stars

Submitted 25 Dec 2018

Enjoyed all stops, well organized tour, tour director on top of all changes in itinerary, good service, enjoyable trip.

Collected by Vacations By Rail

Ken M., Escondido, CA

5 stars

Submitted 20 Dec 2018

Outstanding trip and service by all. Met expectations/exceeded! Very nice group to travel with.

Collected by Vacations By Rail

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