Traveling by train may seem like a thing of the past, but you might be surprised to learn that Colorado has many scenic railroads that offer passengers unique travel experiences. Consider riding the rails for your next Colorado adventure.
The California Zephyr runs daily between San Francisco and Chicago with several stops in Colorado. This Amtrak train stops in Grand Junction, Glenwood Springs, Granby, Winter Park, and Denver. A trip from Denver to Winter Park will take about 2 hours and costs $22-43 per person for a one-way, coach ticket. If you take the journey all the way Grand Junction, it will cost $50-78 per person for a one-way, coach seat and will take about 8 hours.
Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad
The 45-minute trip aboard the Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad takes you south of Cripple Creek, past many historic mines, and to the deserted mining camp of Anaconda before returning back to the depot. The train runs from mid-May through mid-October and tickets are just $13 for adults.
Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad
The Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad is a coal-fired, steam-powered train that runs from Antonito, Colorado to Chama, New Mexico. A variety of trips are offered (some using a motor coach for one leg of the trip) and trains run daily from May 25 to October 20. Adult tickets start at $79-89 for a coach seat and a lunch buffet is provided for all passengers.
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
Voted as “One of the World’s Top Ten Most Exciting Train Rides” by the Society of American Travel Writers in 2009, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad takes passengers through the spectacular canyons and endless wilderness of the San Juan National Forest. The train travels from the original 1882 depot in Durango to the historic, mining town of Silverton. Passengers will experience views and scenery that cannot be seen by car. An abbreviated tour is offered January to May and costs $59 for a standard, coach seat. From May to October, the full trip is $85 for a standard, coach seat.
Georgetown Loop Railroad
The Georgetown Loop Railroad travels 3.1 miles between Georgetown and Silver Plume in Clear Creek County. Completed in 1884, it was one of Colorado’s first visitor attractions and is still a popular tourist destination today. The train travels up 640 feet of elevation, across 4 bridges, and around 2 loops. The train will open for the 2013 season on May 6 and tickets start at $25.95 for adults.
The Leadville Colorado and Southern Railroad travels through the Arkansas River Valley along the old Denver, South Park and Pacific, and Colorado and Southern railway lines. Travelers enjoy panoramic views and historic narratives on Leadville’s past. You can even bring your pets along for the ride– assuming they are well-behaved. The train runs May 25 through October 6 and tickets start at $35 for adults.
Pikes Peak Cog Railway
Take a ride on the world’s highest cog railway as it travels to the top of Pikes Peak. The journey is 8.9 miles long and takes approximately 3 hours and 10 minutes round trip. Passengers board the train at the base of Pikes Peak, travel through Englemann Canyon, climb above timberline, and end at the summit of Pikes Peak at an elevation of 14,110 feet. An adult ticket is $35 and children (age 3-12) can ride for $19.
Rio Grande Scenic Railroad
The Rio Grande Scenic Railroad offers a variety of winter and summer excursions to multiple depots in the San Luis Valley. They also run several Concert Trains to an amphitheater that is only accessible by train. Additionally, their Rails and Ales and Photographer’s Spectacular Trains are special events that always draw many visitors to the Railroad. Fares start at $49 for an adult, coach seat.
Royal Gorge Route Railroad
Travel along the winding Arkansas River through the breathtaking Royal Gorge aboard the Royal Gorge Route Railroad. The 24-mile round trip voyage takes 2 hours and offers not only fantastic views, but gourmet dining for first-class travelers. Murder Mystery tours and special events, such as Mother’s Day brunch, are also offered. The Royal Gorge Route Railroad departs from Cañon City March 9 through January 5 and tickets start at $39 for an adult, coach seat.