A train ride is one of the best ways to explore an area, especially in Colorado, and often offers passengers views of their surroundings that can’t be seen from any other mode of transport. The Centennial State has some epic train rides to choose from, combining the natural beauty of the Colorado Rocky Mountains with the state’s rich history of gold and silver mining. Many of the train trips listed below are fascinating and combine the rail ride with adventurous activities such as mining, ziplining, hiking, and whitewater rafting. These journeys are fun for visitors of all ages and provide an exciting and educational way to explore the beauty that Colorado has to offer.
1.Alpenglow Adventure Train
© Alpenglow Adventure Train
Combining the very best of what the Rocky Mountain wilderness has to offer, visitors can experience fascinating railroad excursions during their visit to the Alpenglow Adventure Trail. Adventures can last anywhere from 4 to 12 hours and include an itinerary of things to see and do while there. The Georgetown Loop Railroad Tour takes you on a journey back to the booming silver rush days of the 1880s and includes a tour of an actual working silver mine and a delicious picnic lunch in the serene mountain park. Experience the Colorado Rocky Mountains with a 12-hour train ride on the Royal Gorge Tour; tour includes departing from Canon City depot, a picnic lunch on the riverbank of the Arkansas River, and hearing the tales of the Royal Gorge Railroad War.
P.O. Box 2125, Frisco, CO 80443, Phone: 970-468-7777
2.Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad
© Courtesy of Tom Oliveira - Fotolia.com
A treat for the whole family, a visit to Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad is a scenic adventure you’ll be talking about for years to come. The train trip brings passengers on a scenic journey that will take them back to the days of gold mining. The century-old steam locomotive chugs out of the 1984 depot through Cripple Creek, past Midland Terminal Wye, and through historical mines near the abandoned mining camp of Anaconda. The ride is a fascinating experience and lasts 45 minutes, with a new tour leaving every 40 minutes from mid-May through mid-October.
520 E Carr Avenue, Cripple Creek, CO 80813, Phone: 719-689-2640
3.Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad
© Courtesy of Nikki - Fotolia.com
Designated a National Historic Landmark, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is a narrow-gauge heritage railroad that takes passengers on a 64-mile journey between Antonito, Colorado, and Chama, New Mexico. The trip offers picturesque views of some of the most stunning sites in the area that can’t be seen through other modes of transport, including through Toltec Gorge and Cumbres Pass. Other famed sites include a water tank used in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the 1883 Lobato Trestle, and a gorgeous small canyon past Hamilton’s Point. Passengers will stop for lunch in Osier and see many historical and beautiful sites along the way.
4.Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad & Museum
© Courtesy of Ken Hurst - Fotolia.com
The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad & Museum offers a scenic ride on a restored steam train that ends with a visit to the museum, displaying artifacts and machinery related to the railroad. There are two tour packages, both of which highlight the history and culture of southwestern Colorado: The Mesa Verde Discovery Tour is a guided interpretive journey that will let you explore the ancient cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde National Park, while the Historic Silverton Mining Tour lets you take a 4-hour trip from Silverton to Durango and back while exploring the historical mines and backroads of San Juan County in between.
479 Main Avenue, Durango, CO 81301, Phone: 877-872-4607
5.Georgetown Loop Railroad
© Courtesy of Martine - Fotolia.com
The Georgetown Loop Railroad is a 3-foot narrow-gauge heritage railroad located within the Rocky Mountains. The Lebanon and Everett Mine Tour is a fun adventure that will take you through Lebanon Mine, past the Mine Mill, and even let you try your hand at gold panning at the Everett. An additional treat is being able to get up close and personal with the burros at the Silver Mine. The train ride itself runs between Silver Plume and Georgetown on a journey through mountainous terrain. The railroad is owned by the Colorado Historical Society and is listed on both the Colorado State Register of Historic Properties and the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
646 Loop Drive, Georgetown, CO 80444, Phone: 303-569-2030
6.Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad Co
© Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad Co
The Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad Company is a tourist railroad that will take passengers through Denver, South Park, all way to the Continental Divide. The journey is full of picturesque views of the Arkansas River Valley, which visitors can enjoy while learning all about Leadville’s colorful past. The 2.5-hour adventure winds through the wilderness of the San Isabel National Forest and is also the world’s tenth highest railway by elevation, going up to 11,201 feet. Many adventure tours are available and combine the train ride with activities such as ziplining through the Rockies or whitewater rafting down the rapids in Brown’s Canyon.
326 E 7th Street, Leadville, CO 80461, Phone: 719-486-3936
7.Rio Grande Scenic Railroad
© Courtesy of alpegor - Fotolia.com
The Rio Grande Scenic Railroad is a heritage railway that operates steam and diesel locomotives through the San Luis Valley. One of their most popular and most scenic excursions is the La Veta Mountaineer, which was named as a “Top Ten Train Ride” by USA Today; the authentic Colorado experience takes you through the steep grades of the Southern Colorado Rockies and provides sweeping vistas of rugged mountains while learning about the railroad and mining history of the area. That particular ride runs from the end of May to mid-September and departs from Alamosa Station at 9:30 a.m. and returns at 5:15 p.m.
610 State Avenue, Alamosa, CO 81101, Phone: 877-726-7245
8.Royal Gorge Route Railroad
© Royal Gorge Route Railroad
Located in Canon City, the Royal Gorge Route Railroad is a heritage railroad that takes visitors on a 2-hour historical train ride complete with scenic views of one of the most well-known portions of the former Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. Departing the Santa Fe Depot in Canon City daily, passengers can ride on the 1950s-era train year round, making for stunning sights during each season. The memorable train ride also includes great service and delicious food, which is prepared fresh on the train using locally sourced ingredients. A special murder-mystery train ride is held every once in a while for a fun and exciting exploratory trip of the area.
330 Royal Gorge Blvd., Canon City, CO 81212, Phone: 719-276-4000
8 Best Colorado Train Trips