8 Train Experiences in Colorado
Trains and railroads are as much a part of Colorado’s recent history as its ski resorts, mines, and ranches. Types of trains in Colorado include everything from Amtrak to little cog railways and narrow gauge railroads which creak up spectacular mountains and canyons. All aboard!
515 Ruxton Ave, Manitou Springs, CO 80829, USA
This three-and-a-half hour ride up the nation’s highest and steepest cog railway, allows a 45-minute break on the summit to take pictures from 14,115 feet above sea level. It’s quite an experience, with various levels of ticket prices and car types. If you’d rather attempt the burly hike to the summit, the Barr Trail is about 12.9 miles each way—with a 7,800 foot elevation gain.
17155 W 44th Ave, Golden, CO 80403, USA
If you’re into trains (or your kids are) this museum is a ferroequinologist’s (a person who studies trains) paradise. This museum houses over 100 steam and diesel locomotives, passenger cars, and cabooses as well as a G-scale model railroad in its 15-acre rail yard. There is also a restoration facility and working round table that will wow curious minds and train fans.
330 Royal Gorge Blvd, Cañon City, CO 81212, USA
The meal, drinks, and bar car are only part of the experience. Getting to stand out on the viewing deck while perched over the rushing Arkansas River, then passing under the Royal Gorge Bridge, all while enjoying a pint of Fat Tire or Colorado wine ... well, it’s a pretty unique experience and the worth the money (from $39 coach adult tickets). Look for special events like murder mysteries, Santa Express, and, pictured above, the four-course dinner train with its extensive wine list, and the train’s own micro-brew, Royal Gorge Rogue. Season begins in early March.
646 Loop Dr, Georgetown, CO 80444, USA
Originally constructed in 1884, this narrow gauge railroad was an engineering feat of its time and one of the first attractions ever for early visitors to Colorado. Today, the restored railway is part of a great historic preservation effort, offering a two-mile ride between the small communities of Georgetown and Silver Plume during the summer. It is a fun, easy activity, great for families and a nice way to see the mountains. The Georgetown Loop Railroad is located just off Interstate-70 as you approach the Eisenhower Tunnel from Denver. Look for first class parlor cars, dinner trains, and holiday specials; purchase tickets online.
479 Main Ave, Durango, CO 81301, USA
There’s only one way to make this journey--by narrow gauge railroad, pulled by a vintage steam locomotive. This is a truly iconic experience in the southwest of the state, and one of the ways to feel the full grandeur of the San Juan Mountains. You board the train in the morning at the depot in Durango, just as passengers have been doing since 1882! The trip takes about 3.5 hours and you can either ride the same train back, or opt for the one-hour bus ride down Highway 550. There are a number of cars and classes to choose from, from standard coach to the Knight Sky, an all-glass carriage in First Class that allows views up the stunning canyons (and not just their passing walls). Tickets start at $85.