All aboard for any-age fun on the Centennial State's many railroad adventures.
Colorado was built on the rails of the many railroads that once crisscrossed our state. Today, you can take a trip into the past and have a seriously good time on many of the restored trains and routes the state has to offer. Check out the trains you can ride, and some of the special, exciting excursions each offers this summer!
Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, Chama
Courtesy of Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad (Facebook).
Get on board with this 64-mile day trip that is sure to create memories. A coal-fired steam engine will carry you through steep mountain canyons, high desert, and lush meadows as you zigzag between the Colorado and New Mexico border. Several classes are available, and a lunch buffet is included with all rides. You can take a full-day train trip, or several train-bus excursions to fit your party's needs. Half-day excursions perfect for families with small children are also on the schedule.
The Cumbres & Toltec offers several special trains through the summer, including a geology train, 4th of July train, speakeasy train, and so many more! Many are just one-day-only affairs, so check out the full list for more information!
Colorado Railroad Museum
Courtesy of Colorado Railroad Museum (Facebook).
This museum is more than just a train ride – it's everything trains and railroad history! You can see the museums large collection of rolling stock and the Roundhouse restoration facility. As well as hop a ride on the on-sight train rides that take you into Colorado's past. This is an especially great museum for those who love trains, small children who might not be able to take a full train trip, or those who simply want to spend a couple of hours celebrating the rails! It hosts tons of events throughout the summer, so visit the website for more information.
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
Courtesy of D&SNGRR (Facebook).
The Durango to Silverton train, with a variety of car options to choose from, generally runs this full route from May through the fall, and despite all the snow in the San Juans, it is chugging its way down the track as we speak! The route is 3.5 hours one-way (for a seven-hour round trip, if you choose to take the whole ride via train), with a two-hour stop in the charming, mining-era, Old West-esque Silverton for shopping and wonderful food (find the funnel cake place and order anything on the menu, trust me).
If seven hours on a train sounds like a long ride (and it can be, especially with small children), you have options.
Skyway Tour: Take a passenger bus one-way over the famous Coal Bank and Molas Passes, seeing amazing views of the high country in comfort. The other half of the trip is the train ride to or from Silverton.
Cascade Canyon Express: A short two-hour excursion starts from the Rockwood Station and travels the high line to Cascade Canyon. Great for those with kids, limited time, etc.
Silverton Silverlight Express: If you are basing your trip out of the Silverton area, you can catch the train to visit Durango for the day, and ride a shuttle back to Silverton.
Brew Trains, June 15, 22, 29; July 6, 13, 20, 27; August 3, 10: Take a ride from Rockwood to Cascade Canyon with Colorado craft brewers who will introduce you to a light sampling of fine ales and educate you about the brewing process. While at Cascade Canyon, guests will enjoy lunch, live music, and more beer. Dessert and coffee will be served on return trips.
Georgetown Loop Railroad
Courtesy of Georgetown Loop Railroad (Facebook).
Just take a quick drive up I-70 to catch a ride on this family-friendly railroad. It offers so many different adventures, that everyone in your group will be engaged and excited. You can take the traditional, out-and-back train ride from Georgetown to Silverplume, or take advantage of the Ride and Mine options, where the train will drop you off for one of several mine tours, along with gold panning, (I've done one of these excursions and highly recommend it) before you catch the next train back to the station.
Father’s Day Train, June 15,16: Treat dad for a unique trip into the Old West!
Railroad Days, June 1, 2, 8, 9; August 24, 25; September 7, 8: Watch out for the Park County Regulators, as they'll be up to trouble (a good old-fashioned train robbery!), during this fun Railroad Days event. In addition, a few engines will be on display, the Steam Engine Bounce House will be inflated, and barbecue and tasty treats will be available between the two depots.
Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad
Courtesy of Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad (Facebook).
The summer season opened in late May, offering 2.5-hour, daily trips into Colorado's rich mining country. The ride takes passengers along the old Denver, South Park & Pacific, and Colorado & Southern lines to the Continental Divide with amazing views of the San Isabel National Forest and Arkansas Valley. You can also book train and rafting or zip-lining excursions.
Devils Tail BBQ Special, July 5, August 30, and September 13: Hit the rails for an evening of beauty, food, and relaxation. This 2.5-hour trip combines tasty barbecue with amazing high-country scenery. It is recommended to make reservations, as limited seating is available.
Rio Grande Scenic Railroad, Alamosa
Courtesy of Rio Grande Scenic Railroad (Facebook).
The summer season La Veta Mountaineer Train Route starts in Alamosa and takes you on a tour of sweeping rugged mountain vistas and a variety of wildlife while enjoying tales of the local railroad and mining history as it travels over La Veta Pass in air-conditioned comfort or in an open-air car.
12th Annual Rails & Ales Event, June 15: Take a train ride to a one-of-a-kind brew fest that you can only access by rail. It offers a rustic Rocky Mountain setting, live music, and handcrafted brews from the region’s best breweries.
Mountain Rails Live Concert Trains: Enjoy a combination of fun train rides and great live music performances from country concerts, artists, and more! The mountain amphitheater will welcome acts like Michael Martin Murphey, Suzy Bogguss, and many, many more. Check out the event page for dates, times, and ticket info.
Wine Tour Trains, Fridays and Saturdays June 21 to August 24: All aboard for a brilliant Colorado-wine tasting excursion complete with perfectly paired appetizers and spectacular scenery.
Royal Gorge Route Railroad, Canon City
Courtesy of Royal Gorge Route Railroad (Facebook).
Ride the rails along the Arkansas River and through the world-famous Royal Gorge on this unique train. There's is truly a train for every interest, as this railroad offers world-class dining, amazing cars, and more. Try the Vista Dome Car Class rides for spectacular views, the Cab Class to ride with the engineer, Club Class for table-style seating, tasty meals, and a full bar, or Coach Class with large windows and access to the wonderful menu. The railroad also offers First Class Lunch and First Class Dinner Trains for good food and great scenery.
Murder Mystery Dinner Trains: It's the classic who-dunnit train-style! Enjoy an amazing meal, and try to solve the mystery of the night.
Wine Dinner Trains: Get at ticket for five courses of meticulously chosen entrees paired with hand-selected wines, complete with some spectacular views along the way.
What do you think? Any other Colorado train experiences we missed on our list? Sound off in the comments.