Colorado Rail Adventure
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. Vacations By Rail can also arrange Amtrak transportation to Denver aboard the legendary California Zephyr, which brings travelers to Denver the morning your tour begins.
Highlights and Inclusions
- Georgetown Loop Railroad
- Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway
- Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad
- Rio Grande Scenic Railroad
- Royal Gorge Route Railway
- Hotel accommodations for 7 nights
- 13 meals
- Garden of the Gods
- Scenic drive across Ute, Trout Creek, Poncha and Wolf Creek Passes
- Great Sand Dunes National Park
- Royal Gorge Bridge and Park
- Transportation by deluxe motorcoach
- Services of a professional tour manager
- Baggage handling
Day 1 - Denver / Georgetown Loop Railroad
Your tour begins in Denver this morning, as you board your deluxe motorcoach for the drive up to spectacular Clear Creek Canyon to Georgetown. Here, you embark on your 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, enjoy lunch in town followed by the scenic drive south along the Front Range to Colorado Springs, your home for the next two nights. Dinner is included this evening. Overnight Colorado Springs, CO (L, D)
Day 2 - Garden of the Gods/Royal Gorge Park
This morning we visit the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Centre followed by a drive through the towering red rocks of the “Garden” with a guide to learn about this amazing natural wonder. Next, we drive to Canon City for a visit to the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park. The Royal Gorge Bridge rises 956 feet above the Arkansas River and extends 1,260 feet across the 10-mile long Royal Gorge. It is one of the world’s highest suspension bridges and offers spectacular views of the canyon and the Rocky Mountains. You can elect to walk across the bridge or glide across in an aerial gondola for 360-degree views of your surroundings. Stop in the Visitor Center to learn about the history of the bridge or shop for souvenirs. Lunch is included during our time at the park. Overnight Colorado Springs, CO (B)
Day 3 - Scenic Drive to Durango
Prepare for bountiful scenery today! The drive west over the Rockies is an incredible one, en route to the glorious San Juan Mountains and today's destination of Durango. Traveling from Colorado Springs to Durango, we look for wildlife as we enjoy relaxing views of the parks and mountains of central Colorado while traveling over Ute Pass, the Continental Divide, and Trout Creek Pass to the base of the Sawatch Range. After lunch in Salida, we note the changes in the landscape as our guide explains the history, culture, and geology of southern Colorado while we cross Poncha Pass and enter Luis Valley, skirting the southern edge of the San Juan Mountains. Overnight Durango, CO (B)
Day 4 - Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
Today embark on the grandest of all Colorado rail journeys, the steam-powered Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad's ascent of the Animas River Canyon to the ghost town of Silverton. The train travels 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 Durango, CO (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 de 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 Alamosa, CO (B, L, D)
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. We will enjoy our lunch onboard. 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 to 228 meters above the valley floor against the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Overnight Alamosa, CO (B, L)
Day 7 - Royal Gorge Route Railroad
Today explore the Royal Gorge canyon's depths aboard the restored Royal Gorge Route Railroad in the first-class vista-dome car. Travel along the Arkansas River and see the Hanging Bridge at the narrowest point in the chasm. The excursion concludes with a stop underneath the soaring Suspension Bridge from the rim to the river's edge. After such a fantastic day, the group will drive back to Denver, where the evening will be at your leisure. Overnight Denver, CO. (B, L)
Day 8 - Tour Conclusion
Your tour comes to a close after breakfast this morning. Your tour manager can assist you with transfers to Denver Airport or the Denver Union Station. (B)
Rail Your Way
Add more flexibility to your rail vacation by choosing when and where to begin and end your vacation. Whether you want to go east to west, west to east, north to south, south to north, start at the beginning, travel the reverse itinerary or begin in the middle, Rail Your Way allows you to tailor make your rail vacation so you can have the experience you want.
Look for the Rail Your Way icon to identify those vacations that offer customized rail connections or joining points. Ask your rail specialist how you can have Rail Your Way!
Train and Hotel Accommodations
Hotel accommodations include The Antlers - a Wyndham hotel (Colorado Springs)*, The Strater Hotel (Durango), Holiday Inn Express (Alamosa), and Hilton Garden Inn Denver Downtown (Denver)**
Georgetown Loop Railroad
The Georgetown Loop Railroad is a narrow-gauge train connecting the old mining towns of Georgetown and Silver Plume. The train’s route is designed as a corkscrew and includes horseshoe curves and four bridges across Clear Creek.
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
This scenic train ride follows approximately 45 miles of track along the Animas River. Beginning in Durango, the train climbs over 3,000 feet of elevation before arriving in the mountain valley town of Silverton.
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, New Mexico, and Antonio, Colorado. Along the way, the San Juan Mountains, Conejos Valley and many species of wildlife are visible.
Rio Grande Scenic Railroad
The Rio Grande Scenic Railroad connects Alamosa and La Veta on historic tracks that travel over the La Veta Pass.
Royal Gorge Route Railroad
This train follows the Arkansas River through Colorado’s Royal Gorge. Water views accompany stunning 1,000-footgranite cliffs and views of Colorado’s backcountry.
The Pikes Peak Cog Railway is closed for refurbishing.
* On 9/20/19 the Colorado Springs hotel will be the Marriott Colorado Springs.
**On 6/13/19 and 6/20/19, pre-night Denver hotel is at the Holiday Inn Express. On 6/26/19 and 9/12/19, pre-night Denver hotel is at the DoubleTree Stapleton North. Denver Tour Night Hotel on 6/20/19 is at the Holiday Inn Express and on 6/27/19, 9/12/19, 10/3/19 Denver Tour Night hotel is at Doubletree Stapleton North.
+Vacations By Rail can supply connecting rail from your closest Amtrak Station.
Click here to view testimonials for Colorado Rail Adventure.
Bucket List vacation checked off.
Excellent for variety and scenery.
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!
Dates & Prices
Select from the packages below to view prices for this tour.
|9th August 2019||Sold Out|
|6th September 2019||Sold Out|
|13th September 2019||Sold Out|
|20th September 2019||Sold Out|
|27th September 2019||$2,295||Book Now|
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: Departs 9th August 2019 (Sold Out) 6th September 2019 (Sold Out) 13th September 2019 (Sold Out) 20th September 2019 (Sold Out) 27th September 2019 ($2,295)
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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 in Denver upon request.