Railroads of the Old West

Colorado has one of the largest collections of historic railroads, including many powered by good ‘ol fashioned steam engines. This tour will take you to four of those railroads, plus more classic Colorado points of interest.

This tour starts and ends in Denver and passes through the iconic Rocky Mountains, including its branch range, the colorful San Juans. It was the extensive mining activity in the late 1800s that created the need to build these classic railroads through very rugged mountain terrain. The engineering required to get those heavy iron horses and their cargo over these mountain grades is unbelievable. Going on this tour, you’ll experience for yourself what it is like to ride the railroads of the Old West. This tour is also a great introduction to seeing the stunning Rocky Mountains.

Tour Highlights:

  • Georgetown Loop Railroad
  • Jeep tour through the San Juan Mountains
  • Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
  • Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park
  • Royal Gorge Route Railroad
  • Royal Gorge Bridge & Park

Inclusions:

  • Services of a Southwest Adventure Tours tour director – a professional tour guide
  • Comfortable transportation in a Mercedes Benz Sprinter Van
  • 6 nights hotel accommodations
  • 6 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 1 dinners
  • Entrance fees to attractions and activities listed in the itinerary
  • Georgetown Loop Railroad
  • Jeep tour through the San Juan Mountains
  • Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park
  • Royal Gorge Route Railroad
  • Royal Gorge Bridge & Park
  • Pikes Peak Cog Railway
  • Park entrance fees
  • Water
  • Gratuities for included meals and activities
  • Applicable taxes and fees

Daily Breakdown:

  • Day 1: Arrive in Denver
  • Day 2: Georgetown Loop RR to Grand Junction
  • Day 3: San Juan Mtns and Durango & Silverton RR
  • Day 4: Cumbres & Toltec RR & Great Sand Dunes National Park
  • Day 5: Royal Gorge RR & Royal Gorge Bridge/Park
  • Day 6: Pikes Peak Cog Railway, Colorado Springs, & departure from Denver

Itinerary:

  • Arrive at the Denver Airport today and transfer on your own by taxi or Uber to your Denver hotel. If interested, enjoy the train ride from Denver Airport to Union Station in Denver, CO. Your guide will meet you at the hotel for check-in between 3 and 6 PM, to answer any questions you have and prepare for the following morning. The evening is free to explore the downtown area and have dinner on your own.

    The Curtis Denver - a Double Tree by Hilton Hotel, Denver, CO

  • This morning, depart Denver and climb high into the Rocky Mountains stopping first at Georgetown, CO (8,500 feet). This town was once known as the “Silver Queen of Colorado” due to the large silver deposits discovered back in 1864. Here you will depart on the first train ride of the tour, the Georgetown Loop Railroad. This old-time steam locomotive will chug its way up the canyon, hauling you past the remains of several gold and silver mines. The Georgetown Loop Railroad open car train runs between Georgetown and Silver Plume, over 2 miles apart, its mountainous terrain requiring trestles, cuts, fills, loops, and curves totaling 3.1 miles of narrow-gauge track. At the end of the line, we tour the Lebanon Silver Mine, taking you 500 feet into a mine tunnel bored in the 1870s. Your guide will point out rich veins of silver and tell you about early-day mining. The temperature inside the mine is a constant 44 degrees Fahrenheit, so bring a jacket. The tour also includes visits to the manager's office, the miners' change room and the tool shed. Late in the afternoon we will cross the Continental Divide and check in to our Grand Junction, CO hotel for the night. Dinner this evening is included at a local restaurant in the heart of downtown Grand Junction.

    Hampton Inn Downtown, Grand Junction, CO | Meals: B, D

  • Today, we take a three-hour Jeep Tour over 12,000-foot Corkscrew Pass into the Red Mountains. You ride beside high mountain cliffs over hanging mining trails, where the clear air and the brilliant colors of the red mountains are simply astonishing. Travel the Million Dollar Highway to Silverton, CO where you board the Silverton-Durango Railroad. This steam locomotive travels 45 miles along the Animas River winding through spectacular and breathtaking canyons in the remote wilderness of San Juan National Forest. You may feel as though you are reliving history as you travel on the same tracks that miners, cowboys, and settlers of the Old West took over a century ago. This train has been in continuous use since 1882, both as a passenger train and freight train. After checking into your hotel, enjoy exploring historic Durango, CO for the evening.

    Holiday Inn & Suites Durango, CO | Meals: B, L

  • An early morning departure takes us to Chama, NM for a ride on The Cumbres & Toltec Railroad. Perhaps the most beautiful train ride in America, it is a rugged, narrow gauge, coal-fired, steam powered mountain railroad that traverses 64 miles of unparalleled scenery. You will climb through an unspoiled landscape, passed historic railroad structures dating back to the turn of the twentieth century. Enjoy the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains as this sure-footed locomotive rolls through tunnels, above deep gorges, and over Cumbres Pass, zig-zagging between the Colorado and New Mexico border. A stop is made for lunch at the lonely Osier Dining Hall near the halfway point. Your rail journey will end in Antonito, CO, after which we will take a short drive to Alamosa, CO and check into the hotel for an overnight stay. After some free time for dinner, the evening will be spent visiting a special hidden gem in Colorado. You will take a short drive to visit nearby Great Sand Dunes National Park for sightseeing. Nestled in a spot where the Sangre de Cristo Mountains buckle inward, the dunes within the borders of the park have been building and shifting for eons. A sandbox of epic proportions, the entire dune field encompasses 30 square miles and the tallest dune towers 750 feet high. This is a beautiful area to enjoy as the sunsets on the horizon.

    Hampton Inn, Alamosa, CO | Meals: B, L

  • Depart Alamosa for a scenic drive to Canon City, CO. Here you will ride the Royal Gorge Route Railroad for a scenic journey through the spectacular Royal Gorge. Since 1879, these tracks have followed the winding, tumbling Arkansas River deep within the soaring, 1,000-foot granite cliffs of Colorado’s Royal Gorge. In 1905, President Teddy Roosevelt described this ride as “the trip that bankrupts the English language!” This ride also includes a delicious lunch. Next visit the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park, where the world's highest suspension bridge towers 1,053 feet above the Arkansas River. You will have time to walk out on the bridge and explore other sights in the park. Once finished you will return to Canon City for the evening. Dinner is on your own.

    Hampton Inn - Canon City, CO | Meals: B, L

  • Begin your day with a historic and scenic ride on the world’s highest Cog Railroad, the Pikes Peak Cog Railway. Travel from 6,300 ft to just over 14,000 ft above sea level and experience the sweeping 360-degree views, vistas, and natural beauty of the Pikes Peak region; that has drawn generations of explorers and travelers. Once finished, you will return to Denver, CO. Say farewell to Colorado as you head over to Denver International Airport for your flight home. Your guide will drop you off at the airport for your flight home.

    Fairfield Inn & Suites DIA | Meals: B, L

Not Included:

  • Airfare
  • Items of a personal nature (alcohol, room service, etc.)
  • Meals (other than listed in the itinerary)
  • Optional activities
  • Arrival airport transfer (departure is included)
  • Gratuities for the tour director

Arrival / Departure Info:

  • Arrival Location: Denver International Airport (DEN)
  • Arrival Time: Any time on Day 1
  • Departure Location: Denver International Airport (DEN)
  • Departure Time: Any time after 4;00 PM on Day 6

Physical Requirements:

  • Guests should be comfortable walking on uneven terrain for about a mile at a time.
  • Elevation gain and loss averages between 50 to 300 feet in the areas visited in this tour.
  • Touring and overnight locations are above 6,000 to 11,000 feet above sea level.
  • De-board and board van/bus each time at a viewpoint.
  • Please let us know if you have any other physical/health limitations or requirements.

 

Departure Dates 2023

July 16th - July 21st

September 24th - September 29th

 

Pricing: 

  • Double $3149
  • Single $3699
  • Triple $2999
  • Quad $2899

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