Colorado Rail Adventure CRS21
|Resort:||Colorado Rail Adventure CRS21|
|Operator:||Great Rail Journeys|
|Destination:||United States Of America|
Wind through the breathtaking scenery of the Colorado Rockies aboard some of the USA’s most charming railways on a rail adventure which combines history, heritage, and incredible natural scenery. Soak up ever-changing views of rugged mountains, vast valleys, and emerald forests and discover mining towns and dynamic cities which hark back to the legendary era of the ‘Wild West’.
Days 1-2 – London and Denver, Georgetown, and Colorado Springs
We begin our American adventure with our flight from London Heathrow to Denver, meeting our local Tour Manager on arrival. On Day 2, our adventure through the Rockies begins as we board the Georgetown Loop Railroad, a narrow-gauge line which once connected the mining towns of Georgetown and Silver Plume. The line dates back to 1884 and includes horseshoe curves and 4 bridges that span Clear Creek, affording fantastic views of the lush valley and trickling creek below. Later, we take a scenic coach journey toGeorgetown, travelling through Clear Creek Canyon. After lunch at a local restaurant in Georgetown, continuing by coach, we take a scenic route along the Front Range of the Southern Rocky Mountains to Colorado Springs, for 2 nights.
Day 3 – The Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak
This morning, we travel by coach through mountainous terrain to the summit of Pikes Peak. At 14,115 feet, this is the highest summit in the southern Front Range of the Rockies and is Colorado’s most renowned mountain. We enjoy several pauses and photo opportunities en route, giving us plenty of time to take in magnificent views of rugged creeks, plunging ravines, thick forests, enchanting waterfalls and, if we’re lucky, wildlife including mountain goats and bears. At the summit, we have time to soak up the panoramas, which on a clear day, include an incredible 5 states.
This afternoon, we transfer by coach to the Garden of the Gods, a breathtaking park filled with striking red rock formations. We discover the Visitor Centre and museum before embarking on a guided drive through the park, seeing the towering red rocks and learning about the history of these natural wonders.
Day 4 – Through the Rockies to Durango
We continue through the Rockies by coach, travelling through iconic spots including the dramatically steep Ute Trail, the Continental Divide, and Trout Creek Pass, at 9,487 feet. We pause in Salida, a pretty town nestled in the mountains, where we have time for lunch. Continuing this afternoon, our Tour Manager explains the history, culture, and geology of southern Colorado as we cross Poncha Pass and enter San Luis Valley, on the southern edge of the San Juan Mountains. Our final destination is Durango. With its historic downtown filled with characterful buildings, visiting Durango is like stepping into an old Western movie. We check into our hotel, situated in a landmark building on the main street.
Day 5 – The Durango & Silverton Railroad
This morning, we embark on a journey aboard Durango’s famous heritage railway, the Durango & Silverton Narrow-Gauge Railroad. The line connects Durango with the mining town of Silverton and incredibly, has been in continuous use since its inception more than 130 years ago, when the train was first used to transport silver and gold ore mined from the nearby San Juan Mountains. The train is reminiscent of a bygone era, with an imposing black coal-fired locomotive pulling distinctive vintage yellow carriages through untouched backdrops, and past azure flowing rivers and towering evergreens.
We have some time in Silverton to have lunch and explore. Perhaps visit the Silverton Freight Yard Museum for an insight into the historic railway before we return to Durango by coach. This evening, you are at leisure. With a place on the National Register of Historic Districts, Downtown Durango boasts excellent restaurants, galleries, boutiques, and several breweries. Perhaps visit a traditional saloon for a tipple – a fantastic opportunity to get a true taste of the Wild West.
Day 6 – The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad
Early this morning, a coach takes us to the village of Chama in New Mexico for a journey on the longest narrow-gauge steam railway in North America, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. Following the route of the former Denver & Rio Grande San Juan Extension for 64 miles, the train takes us over the Cumbres Pass and into the heart of the San Juan Mountains. We continue through a deep canyon known as the ‘River of Pines’, a section of the route so remote that no paved road crosses the tracks for 50 miles. After pausing in Osier for lunch, the train begins its final, steep ascent through Toltec Gorge. Our journey ends in Antonito and we transfer to our hotel in Alamosa.
Days 7-8 – The Rio Grande Scenic Railroad and Royal Gorge Route Railroad
Today, we embark on a journey aboard the heritage Rio Grande Scenic Railroad to the wildly beautiful La Veta Pass. We wind through the sweeping mountain landscapes on tracks that date back to 1882, admiring ever-changing scenery that includes charming Old-West towns and beautiful valleys. This afternoon, we continue by coach to Great Sand Dunes National Park. Endless easterly winds here have resulted in towering sand dunes, which rise almost 750 feet above the valley floor – a truly spectacular sight. We return to Alamosa by coach.
We journey into the dramatic Royal Gorge Canyon on Day 8, travelling Vista Dome Class on the Royal Gorge Route Railroad in panoramic vista-dome cars, with lunch served on board. Our route skirts the path of the Arkansas River, passing the soaring Royal Gorge Bridge, one of the highest suspension bridges min the world. After our journey, we transfer to Denver, where we check into our hotel ahead of an evening at leisure in Colorado’s capital city.
Days 9-10 – Denver and London
Enjoy the day at leisure in Denver, a city overlooked by majestic mountain peaks and nicknamed the ‘Mile High City’, due to being exactly 1 mile above sea level. Explore the bustling downtown area, centred on a mile-long promenade lined with cafs and shops, or perhaps head to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science to see the world’s most advanced digital planetarium. Later, we transfer to the airport for our overnight flight to London Heathrow, arriving on Day 10.