Envelop yourself in little-seen sights of the Colorado Rockies on this exciting rail adventure, which includes rides aboard five of the most renowned railways in Colorado, including the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.
About the Tour
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 five remarkable train rides that fully justify President Roosevelt's enthusiasm.
We commence this railway journey in Denver, where a breathtaking first glimpse of the wonders of Colorado lies ahead aboard the Georgetown Loop Railroad. Moving on, the magnificent red rocks of Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak are beautifully presented through in-depth tours. Enjoy sights of the changing landscape as the tour moves west across the Continental Divide and take in the unique offerings of the cities of Durango and Alamosa. We are treated to little-seen views of the mountains, valleys and forests of Colorado aboard four more railways - the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad and the Royal Gorge Route Railroad - before returning to Denver. By train and motorcoach, your scenic journey through the Rockies is beyond all expectations.
- Four scenic rail excursions: Georgetown Loop Railroad, Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, and Royal Gorge Route Railroad
- Hotel accommodations for 7 nights
- 13 meals
- Pikes Peak by Coach
- Garden of the Gods
- Scenic drive across Ute, Trout Creek, Poncha and Wolf Creek Passes
- Great Sand Dunes National Park
- National Park entrance fees
- Transportation by deluxe motorcoach
- Services of a professional tour manager
- Baggage handling
Activity Level View Details
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/Pikes Peak by Coach
This morning we visit the Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center followed by a drive through the towering red rocks of the “Garden” with a guide to learn about this amazing natural wonder. Later in the day, we ascend 14,115 feet to the summit of Colorado’s most renowned mountain, Pikes Peak. This motorcoach tour begins at the Railroad Depot in Colorado Springs and takes us on a leisurely journey up the side of the mountain. There are several stops and photo opportunities along the way, making it easy to capture the changing mountain scenery, views of the alpine forests and even wildlife, such as mountain goats, elk and bear. As we reach the top, enjoy approximately 40 minutes to take in the bountiful vistas. On clear days, you can see five states! 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-meter peaks of the San Juan Mountains. There is time for lunch on your own in Silverton, as well as time to explore the shops, before returning to Durango this afternoon by coach. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Overnight Durango, CO. (B)
Day 5 - The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad
Early this morning, the group drives 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-meter 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 is 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 - Scenic Drive to La Veta/Great Sand Dunes National Park
Today's excursion takes us by deluxe motorcoach into the heart of Colorado scenery to La Veta with a stop for lunch in the charming mountain town of Cuchara. Our day continues with a drive 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. 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 such a fantastic day, the group drives back to Denver, where the evening is at 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)
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 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.
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.
* On 9/18/20 the Colorado Springs hotel will be the Marriott Colorado Springs.
** Denver Tour Night Hotel on 6/18/20, 6/25/20, 7/2/20, 7/30/20, & 10/8/20 is at the Hilton Garden Inn Denver. Denver Tour Night Hotel on 7/16/20, 8/6/20, 9/10/20, & 9/24/20 DoubleTree by Hilton Denver Hotel
+Vacations By Rail can supply connecting rail from your closest Amtrak Station.
Tour Dates & Prices
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Rio Grande Railroad is no longer included in these departures. Pricing reflects the changes made on 2/16/2020.