Colorado Scenic Railroads

Colorado Scenic Railroads began with the popular Pikes Peak Cog Railway, which you can read about on this site.  It was a quick and comfortable way to get from the foot of the Peak to the summit.

There are other railroads that fall into the category of scenic railroads.  In the late 1800's, these railroads were in use traveling all over the mountains of Colorado.

After the turn of the century, many were put out of commission and the tracks torn up.

With the interest in Colorado history, a few of these rail lines have been brought back to life, taking tourists into the Colorado Rockies and back in time.

Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

photo courtesy of the Colorado Railroad Museum.

Originally completed by the Denver Rio Grande Railroad in 1882, the Durango Silverton was the mining train of the gold and silver booms.

There were three rail lines coming out of Silverton.  All of these tracks were narrow gauge, for travel in the mountains.

Durango was known for many years as the "Narrow Gauge Railroad Capital" because at least four tracks ran out of the town.

After the mines played out, very few trains traveled the rail line and it started to fall into disrepair.

However, in the 1940's tourists became interested in the 45 mile scenic journey from Durango to Silverton and business started to pick up.

Today, this popular scenic railroad travels the same path as the original route.

Visitors can have the same experience traveling through the Animas Canyon as those a century ago did.

The train has added open air and private cars and also a lounge car for the comfort of guests.

The Durango Silverton runs four trains from May through October. For more information, please visit the Durango Train website.

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad

photo courtesy of the Colorado Railroad Museum.

This Colorado scenic railroad is also a product of the Denver Rio Grande Railroad that operated in the 1800's between Alamosa and Durango.

During the San Juan mountains gold rush days, the Denver Rio Grande was racing to lay track over the Cumbres Pass and on to Durango.

The Cumbres & Toltec not only hauled freight and ore, but carried passengers to Durango.

When the highway system starting building roads in Colorado, train travel became almost non-existent.

However, those with insight realized the need for scenic railroads and the Cumbres & Toltec was brought back to life.

Historic interest fueled the need for guests to ride the rails and learn about the great ore finds in Colorado and grab a little peek at the history of the state.

During the autumn, the mountain scenery is breathtaking.  The golden leaves of the aspen trees and snow covered mountains are dazzling.

The Cumbres and Toltec runs daily from mid-May through mid-October, weather permitting. Visit the Cumbres and Toltec website for more information and schedules.

Royal Gorge Train Route

 photo courtesy of Royal Gorge.

This Denver Rio Grande rail line owned by the Union Pacific had been abandoned for many years.

However, in 1998, the Union Pacific sold the line to the Canon City & Royal Gorge Railroad.

This route is 24 miles through the canyon of the Royal Gorge.  The trip takes about two hours.

Some of the sights seen as guests travel along the tracks is the "Hanging Bridge" above the 1,000 foot deep canyon, big horned sheep and stone ruins of the Royal Gorge War.

The train runs year round, daily during the summer, weekends all other times of the year.

The Royal Gorge Train website can give you schedules and times of departure.

These are just a few of the popular Colorado Scenic Railroads we, and visitors to the state, have ridden on and really enjoyed. 

You can find direct links to the railroad tours through the Colorado Resources section of this site.

All train tours are narrated throughout your journey, and you will get a rare glimpse into the remains of old gold mines, failed towns and a great deal of old west Colorado history.

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