Capture colorful mountain scenery and picturesque views aboard several different rail lines on this 9-day high-altitude adventure, which begins and ends in the town of Denver, Colorado.
About the Tour
The majestic Rocky Mountains are the focal point of this natural excursion. Aboard four separate rail lines, all of which boast their own charm, travelers have the opportunity to learn more about the history of the Colorado railway and the unique landscape of the area. Scenic drives between the cities give travelers the chance to experience Colorado a little closer to the ground. Over the course of this looped adventure, guests enjoy eight days of carefully planned activity and comfortable overnight lodging.
- Georgetown Loop Railroad
- Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway
- Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad
- Royal Gorge Route Railroad
- 8 days of compact car rental with GPS
- 8 nights Hotel accommodations
Day 1 - Arrive in Denver, Colorado
Guests are free to arrive in Denver, Colorado at their leisure on the first day of this adventure. There are no planned activities, so initial exploration of the city is welcome. Unique dining options abound, and there are great family-friendly attractions such as the Denver Botanical Gardens and the Denver Zoo. Overnight lodging near Downtown Denver.
Day 2 - Travel on Georgetown Loop Railroad
After breakfast, guests must make their way over to Budget Car Rental in Denver to pick up their compact car, which is included in the cost of the trip. From here, a scenic 50-minute drive takes travelers from Denver to Georgetown, Colorado, where the Georgetown Loop Railroad awaits. Departure time for the train is 10:45 a.m. Aboard the historic narrow gauge railroad, riders enjoy a 3-mile adventure through the Clear Valley Creek area to Silver Plume and back. The loop route includes an elevation increase of over 640 feet while crossing four bridges and navigating through two loops. Riders enjoy comfortable bench seating in Coach Class during the journey, which lasts just over an hour. The day continues from Georgetown with a 2-hour drive to Colorado Springs for the first of two overnights.
Day 3 - Leisure Day in Colorado Springs
The second-largest city in Colorado, Colorado Springs has plenty to see and do including the top park in the United States, Garden of the Gods. Or consider an excursion to Manitou Springs to visit Pike's Peak and enjoy dramatic views over the surrounding mountains, the "Bottomless Pit" and the distant city. Overnight Colorado Springs.
Day 4 - Scenic Drive to Durango
On the fourth day, guests travel from Colorado Springs to Durango, Colorado. The trip takes approximately 5 1/2 hours to complete, yet there are plenty of scenic stops to extend the trip, should travelers desire. The final stretch of the journey takes drivers through San Juan National Forest, where natural views are bountiful and animal life is abundant. Once in Durango, travelers have the option to explore the town on their own. There is a charming historic Downtown area, as well as many great museums and attractions to explore. This is the first of two overnights in Durango.
Day 5 - Ride on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway
Prepare for an all-day adventure between Durango and Silverton on the fifth day of this trip. The train leaves the Durango station at 8:45 a.m., so arrive in plenty of time to explore the onsite museum prior to boarding. Along the 45-mile round-trip route, riders pass over one of the West's last free-flowing rivers, the Animas River, a total of five times. Other notable scenery along the way to the Silverton station include colorful canyons, tall mountain peaks of up to 14,000 feet, farm land, old mining camps and stagecoach routes, and more. The journey ends at approximately 6 p.m. at which time you return to Durango for the night.
Day 6 - Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad Adventure
Travelers rise bright and early on the sixth day to make the beautiful 3-hour journey from Durango to Antonito, Colorado. The route takes drivers back through San Juan National Forest and along the edge of Carson National Forest, as well, which makes for spectacular surroundings the whole way to Antonito.
This morning, enjoy a trip aboard the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. Arrive in time to board the 10 a.m. train, which heads to the Chama Depot in New Mexico. Mountain peaks and expansive valleys make up much of the scenery on the first part of the trip; however, further sights include a lava mesa, an abandoned railroad town, several tunnels and impressive Toltec Gorge. The train does stop for lunch in the town of Osier, Colorado before continuing through to Cumbres Pass, which is the highest railway pass in the United States. From Chama, New Mexico, a motorcoach returns guests to the depot in Antonito.
Back on the ground, travelers head over to the town of Alamosa for overnight accommodations.
Day 7 - Sightseeing on the Royal Gorge Route Railroad
Today, travelers begin their day by traveling from Alamosa to Canon City, Colorado. The whole morning is open to make the 2 1/2-hour journey, so sightseeing along the way is welcome. In Canon City, arrive at the Royal Gorge Route Railroad Santa Fe Depot for 12:30 p.m. boarding on the coach train. Dining is available on board in the Parlor and Bar Car, for convenience, and drinks are also served. A ride upon this historic railway allows travelers to look over the 1,000-foot cliffs of the Royal Gorge, as well as over the Arkansas River.
When the ride concludes at approximately 2:30 p.m., travelers make the final stretch of their trip and return back to Denver, Colorado. The evening is completely open for relaxation, exploration or general sightseeing. Overnight in Denver.
Day 8 - Exploring Denver
Today is open for you to explore Denver on your own. There is plenty to see and do; visit the Denver Art Museum, book a rafting tour, a brewery tour, or take a day trip to nearby Rocky Mountain National Park or the city of Boulder. Overnight in Denver.
Day 9 - Trip Conclusion
This beautiful Colorado journey concludes on the ninth day. Return your vehicle to the car rental company before making your way home via the local airport or Denver's rail station.
Hotels included are the Hilton Garden Inn Denver, The Antlers Colorado Springs, Best Western Plus Rio Grande Inn, and Hampton Inn Alamosa.
Georgetown Loop Railroad
Completed in 1884, this spectacular stretch of three-foot narrow gauge railroad was considered an engineering marvel for its time. Today, the Loop is once again a popular tourist attraction and an exceptional way to see the Clear Creek Valley. The Loop takes you between Georgetown and Silver Plume, over 2 miles apart. The tracks scale an elevation of 640 feet over mountainous terrain, requiring trestles, cuts, fills, loops, and curves totaling 3.1 miles of narrow gauge track. The once-thriving mining towns of Georgetown and Silver Plume lie two miles apart in a steep, narrow mountain canyon. To connect the two, the railroad’s builders designed a “corkscrew” route that traveled twice the distance, slowly gaining more than 600 feet in elevation. The route included horseshoe curves, grades of up to 4%, and four bridges across Clear Creek, including the massive Devil’s Gate High Bridge.
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway
Durango, Colorado was founded by the Denver & Rio Grande Railway in 1879. The railroad arrived in Durango on August 5, 1881 and construction on the line to Silverton began in the fall of the same year. By July of 1882, the tracks to Silverton were completed, and the train began hauling both freight and passengers. The line was constructed to haul silver & gold ore from Southwest Colorado's San Juan Mountains, but passengers soon realized it was the view that was truly precious.
Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad
Built in 1880, the track between Antonito and Chama was part of the San Juan Extension of the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad, with tracks running from Denver through the ore-rich Rocky Mountains into Silverton, Colorado. Its path through steep passes and deep gorges is the stuff of adventure novels and was an engineering feat for the time. The decline of silver mining in the 1890s ended the railroad’s vital role. The Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad filed for abandoment in 1969, but the most scenic part of its route, its equipment, and its buildings were saved by the states of Colorado and New Mexico in 1970. Today the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad fulfills another important mission – taking passengers on the ride of a lifetime, connecting Colorado and New Mexico, the Mountains of the San Juans to the Conejos Valley, and allowing us to see where the deer and the antelope play.
Royal Gorge Route Railroad
The Royal Gorge Route Railroad was reestablished in the fall of 1998 and has become a premier destination attraction carrying over 100,000 guests through the Royal Gorge each year. The Royal Gorge Route has been instrumental in preserving this breathtaking canyon and ensuring a vital part of Colorado history will be passed along to the next generation. Why do so many people ride the train? We are not a theme park or carnival experience. We do not offer thrill rides, but instead have grown as a major destination attraction through ensuring the Royal Gorge remains a special place and should be preserved much like any one of our National Parks. We believe riding the rails through the Royal Gorge and spotting Big Horn Sheep, Blue Heron, Bald Eagles, and enjoying the tumbling Arkansas River with your family or special someone is a very unique experience. The train provides the means to unwind, enjoy family time and Mother Nature up close.
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