Immerse yourself in Gold Rush lore and relish the secluded scenes of the Rocky Mountains as you explore Colorado’s rugged terrain aboard five heritage railroads, including the beloved Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.
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 five fantastic railways: the Georgetown Loop Railroad, the Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad and the Royal Gorge Route Railroad. 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 momentous excursion to the summit of Pikes Peak by motorcoach and 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.
● Five scenic rail excursions: Georgetown Loop Railroad, Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad, Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad and Royal Gorge Route Railroad
● Hotel accommodations for 7 nights
● 11 meals, including lunch on the Royal Gorge Route Railroad
● Colorado Rail Museum visit
● Pikes Peak excursion by coach
● Garden of the Gods tour
● Transportation by deluxe motorcoach
● Services of a professional tour manager
● Baggage handling
Activity Level View Details
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 docent-led 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. (L)
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. (B)
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. (B)
Day 4 - Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge RailroadThis 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 mountains 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. (B)
Day 5 - Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RailroadAn 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. (B, L, D)
Day 6 - Royal Gorge Route RailroadFind 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. (B, L)
Day 7 - Pikes Peak by Motorcoach/Garden of the GodsTake 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.” We begin at the Railroad Depot in Colorado Springs, where we board our motorcoach for this 4-hour journey, winding up and down Pikes Peak Highway, one of the most iconic roads in Colorado. Along the way, we make scenic stops to snap photos of the spectacular mountain views. We have the opportunity to get out, stretch our legs and acclimate to the elevation changes at several points during the journey, including at Crystal Lake, which is the perfect place to see native animals. As the tour arrives at the summit, spend approximately 40 minutes taking 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 certified guide 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. (B)
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. (B)
Hotel accommodations include The DoubleTree by Hilton Breckenridge, The Strater Hotel (Durango), Holiday Inn Express (Alamosa) and The Antlers (Colorado Springs) or Colorado Springs Marriott
Georgetown Loop Railroad
The Georgetown Loop Railroad is a heritage narrow-gauge train connecting the towns of Georgetown and Silver Plume. This railway dates back to the late 1800s and offers a look at the silver and gold mining past of the Colorado Rockies. Just over an hour in duration, the train’s route is designed as a corkscrew and includes horseshoe curves and four bridges across Clear Creek.
Travel into Colorado's untamed wilderness on a 2 1/2 hour journey that showcases Leadville's mining and railroad history. This heritage train travels along the Arkansas River valley, following a historic route which rises 1,000 feet off the valley floor and showcases breathtaking vistas,including Freemont Pass and Colorado's highest mountain peaks, Mt. Massive and Mt. Elbert.
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
Following approximately 45 miles of track along the Animas River, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad offers a look at the lesser-seen nooks and crannies of the Colorado Rockies. The journey begins at the historic 1882 train depot in Durango and climbs over 3,000 feet of elevation before arriving in the mountain valley town of Silverton. Along the way, spectacular views of waterfalls, forests, wildlife and mountain peaks are all visible from picture windows and open-air cars.
Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad
This 3-foot narrow gauge railroad, designated as a National Historic Landmark, follows 64 miles of track between the towns of Chama, NM and Antonio, CO. Along the way, the San Juan Mountains, Conejos Valley, Toltec Gorge and many species of wildlife are visible. The journey crosses the New Mexico/Colorado border 11 times and offers an experience to remember as the train crosses the Cascade Creek Trestle 137 feet in the air!
Royal Gorge Route Railroad
A train journey that combines history, incredible scenery and a love of food and wine, the Royal Gorge Route Railroad offers a little bit of everything. This train follows the Arkansas River through Colorado’s Royal Gorge, offering water vistas and views of stunning 1,000-foot granite cliffs. As the train moves along the 2-hour route, Colorado’s backcountry is displayed beautifully. Perhaps best of all, passengers get to see the region as it was centuries ago aboard tracks that were first built in 1879.
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