A first-class expedition through Colorado’s scenic mountain ranges, this unforgettable journey takes an intimate group of travelers aboard five renowned heritage railways, including the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad in the luxurious Silver Vista Car, putting Colorado on display like never before.
About the Tour
Some of the most impressive scenery in the continental United States beckons on this 9-day tour through Colorado. The state’s rich history and storied views come to life through excursions aboard upgraded heritage railcars and extra services on five historic trains: the Georgetown Loop Railroad, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad and the Royal Gorge Route Railroad. Railway experts, overflowing with knowledge about the routes, rolling stock and regions the trains move through, offer invaluable insights throughout the tour, and the small group atmosphere afforded by this journey allows each experience to be enjoyed to the fullest extent.
Our railway adventure begins in Denver, where the Old West collides with modern luxuries. The tour continues on, with two days each in Colorado Springs, Durango and Alamosa. We even visit the charming resort town of Manitou Springs before the tour concludes. Along the way, we enjoy deluxe motorcoach transportation between destinations and exciting experiences, such as a bus tour up to the summit of Pikes Peak. With boarding in some of the region’s most renowned hotels, first-class amenities and wonderful dining opportunities, immerse yourself in the beauty of Colorful Colorado. All aboard for this once-in-a-lifetime expedition of Colorado’s railways.
- Scenic rail excursion aboard the Georgetown Loop Railroad in the Parlor Car
- Ride aboard the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad in the first-class Silver Vista Car, plus a yard tour
- Rail journey aboard the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad in the Parlor Car
- Voyage aboard the Royal Gorge Route Railroad, including a 3-course meal in an elegant Parlor Car, which has been converted to a Dining Car, with access to the open-air gondola car
- Hotel accommodations for 8 nights
- 12 meals
- Visit to the Colorado Rail Museum
- Narrated Pikes Peak excursion
- Garden of the Gods
- Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
- Presentations by railroad experts and knowledgeable railcar attendants
- Small group experiential tour
- National park entrance fees
- Transportation by deluxe motorcoach
- Services of a professional tour manager
- Baggage handling
Activity Level View Details
Day 1 - Denver
Arrive in Denver and make your way to the Crawford or Oxford Hotel*, both of which are located next to Denver’s historic Union Station. Arrive by 4:00 p.m., so you can freshen up before meeting your tour manager and fellow travelers in the lobby. This evening, we are treated to a guided tour of Denver’s historic Union Station, which is over 135 years old and remains one of the true highlights of downtown. Discover the histories of the building, the railway and Denver here, as well as interesting art, an array of restaurants and meticulously preserved architecture. Following the tour, enjoy dinner on your own at one of the diverse onsite eateries. Some of the restaurants here even boast James Beard award-winning chefs! Overnight Denver.
Day 2 - Colorado Rail Museum & Georgetown Loop Railroad
This morning’s journey begins in Golden, CO, at the Colorado Rail Museum. A docent-led tour through its featured exhibits, large collection of rolling stock and Roundhouse restoration facility offers an insider’s perspective of this fascinating site. We step back in time aboard a Union Pacific Dining Car for a truly memorable three-course lunch, which features an authentic menu that recalls the Golden Age of rail travel during lunch service. After eating, a captivating presentation of the Railroads of Colorado furthers our railway knowledge.
This afternoon 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 from between Georgetown and Silver Plume. From your table in the fully enclosed Parlor Car, look out the panoramic windows for views over Clear Creek Canyon and old silver and gold mines. Enjoy the provided snacks and drinks while gazing upon the alpine views and admiring this amazing example of American ingenuity. Following, we continue to Colorado Springs for an evening at leisure. Downtown Colorado Springs is brimming with restaurant options. Enjoy Italian, German or Asian cuisine, or sample Colorado-style pizza at one of the pizzerias. If you are feeling particularly adventurous, enjoy a Colorado delicacy, Rocky Mountain oysters. Overnight Colorado Springs. (L)
Day 3 - Pikes Peak by Motorcoach/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.” This 4-hour journey winds up and down Pikes Peak Highway, one of the most iconic roads in Colorado. Along the way, the motorcoach makes scenic stops that allow you 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 that is filled with dramatic sandstone formations that reach up to 300 feet tall. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Overnight Colorado Springs. (B)
Day 4 - Scenic Drive to Durango
Relish an in-depth view of the Colorado landscape, as we set out for a day of travel aboard a deluxe motorcoach. The all-day journey begins at our hotel and takes us across vast expanses of wilderness, through mountain ranges, past enchanting alpine towns and into national forests en route to Durango. Along the way, enjoy scenic rest stops and a break for lunch on your own in the town of Salida, which is set in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Enjoy the artistic scene and the laid-back appeal of the town while you stretch your legs and prepare for the second leg of the journey. Imagine the possibilities and adventures to come as we continue on our journey, pass through the Rio Grande National Forest and arrive at our destination. Our hotel for the next two nights is the Strater Hotel, Durango’s “Historic Landmark hotel.” Conveniently located within walking distance of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, the hotel serves as a time capsule of sorts, adorned in period furnishings that hint at its 1887 beginnings. In fact, this hotel is home to the largest collection of American antiques in the country and no two rooms are decorated the same. After checking in, 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 5 - 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 90-mile round-trip 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. We are treated to all these sights and more from the comfort of our first-class seats in the Silver Vista Car, a glass-domed car that is complete with reclining leather seats, panoramic windows and a closed vestibule with the largest viewing platform on the train. Savor complimentary pastries and beverages as you soak in the magnificent views and listen to interesting narration by your car attendant. 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 on our Silver Vista Car, we take a guided walk through the yard and roundhouse to learn about the railroad’s rolling stock, see the machine shop and hear about behind-the-scenes operations at the station. Back in Durango, return to the Strater Hotel for an evening at leisure. Overnight Durango. (B)
Day 6 - 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. The route is full of incredible views, and we enjoy them all from panoramic windows of the Premium Parlor Car. This meticulously preserved car features tin ceilings, period-appropriate seating and access to the train’s open-air gondola. Onboard, we are served a variety of hot and cold beverages. A delicious home-cooked lunch awaits us upon arrival at the train station in Osier. 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. Tonight, join your small group for dinner, and share stories of the day as you enjoy tastes of the region. Overnight Alamosa. (B, L, D)
Day 7 - 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 8 - Royal Gorge Route Railroad in 1950s Era CAN-CAR-converted Dining Car
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 board the train’s Dining Car for a one-of-a-kind lunch experience. This first-class restaurant on wheels features large picture windows from which to view Royal Gorge and plush seating at linen-covered tables. A three-course lunch awaits us, with each course freshly prepared on the train using locally sourced ingredients. While we dine, dramatic views of rushing rivers, steep canyons and beautiful rock formations come into sight. If you choose, head out to the open-air car after lunch to take in the scenery. The route runs entirely along the bottom of the gorge, allowing you to look up at the amazing sights, including the Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge. Following the 2-hour excursion, we head to the resort town of Manitou Springs for the evening. There are over 30 fantastic restaurants within 3 square miles in this colorful locale, as well as boutiques and interesting Native American sites to explore. Overnight Manitou Springs. (B, L)
Day 9 - Tour Conclusion
With your camera filled with amazing photographs and your heart brimming with memories to last a lifetime, our time in Colorado comes to a close after breakfast this morning. A group transfer to Denver International Airport will accommodate flights departing after 1:30 p.m. (B)
Hotel accommodations include the Crawford Hotel (Denver)*, Antler's Hotel (Colorado Springs), The Strater (Durango), Holiday Inn Alamosa, and the Cliff House at Pike's Peak.
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.
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.