Colorado Train Rides And Excursions

Colorado train rides offer a uniqueness one just can't find anywhere else in the country. The state has become legendary for its many narrow-gauge tourist lines operating west and south of Denver, all of which use trackage once part of either the Denver & Rio Grande Western's or Colorado & Southern's mining branches (built during the late 19th century to tap the region's silver deposits). The most popular of these excursions certainly has to be the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge (D&SNG) although others like the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic (C&TS) and Royal Gorge Route Railroad offer similarly incredible views and are not too far behind. Colorado is also home to more unique tourist lines like the cog railway, Mamtou & Pike’s Peak, or the Platte Valley Trolley. In any event, the information included here provides a brief overview of each excursion along with their contact and website information.

Durango & Silverton Class K-28 #473 waits patiently to depart Silverton with another excursion on September 17, 2009.

Historically, Colorado's rail operations have known mostly for three things; flat plains, the Rocky Mountains, and narrow-gauge lines. All three still hold true today although the services you can find amongst the state's excursion trains vary quite a bit. While the D&SNG and C&TS focus on their incredible scenery and historic steam locomotives used to pull their trains other Colorado train rides like the Royal Gorge Route and Rio Grande Scenic offer wonderful views as well as fine accommodations and dining services. So, depending on what you may be interested in and the budget you may have, the state definitely offers a wide array of excursion train options.

Tourist Trains In Other States

Alabama, Riding The Rails Through The Heart Of Dixie

Alaska, Experience The Breathtaking Scenery Of The Last Frontier

Arizona, Reach The Grand Canyon By Train

Arkansas, Ride The Arkansas & Missouri And Other Excursions

California, Home To A Wide Range Of Steam And Diesel-Powered Excursions

Connecticut, Home Of The Essex Steam Train

Florida, Home To Dinner Trains And Steam-Powered Trips

Georgia, Enjoy A Wide Range Of Train Rides In The Peach State

Hawaii, Keeping Alive The State's Narrow-Gauge Railroad History

Illinois, Home To One Of The Country's Largest, The Illinois Railway Museum

Indiana, Experience The French Lick Scenic Railway And Other Trips

Iowa, Ride The Popular Boone & Scenic Valley Railway

Kansas, Showcasing A Few Trips By Rail

Kentucky, Home Of The "My Old Kentucky Dinner Train"

Maine, Riding The State's Fabled Narrow-Gauge Railroads

Maryland, Enjoy The Steam-Powered Western Maryland Scenic Railroad

Massachusetts, Featuring Several Popular Excursion Trains

Michigan, Home Of The Popular Huckleberry Railroad And "The Polar Express" Steam Locomotive, Pere Marquette #1225

Minnesota, Preserving The State's Rich Rail History

Missouri, Home Of The Popular Branson Scenic Railway

Nebraska, Ride The State's Only Excursion, The Fremont & Elkhorn Valley

Nevada, Experience The Legendary Virginia & Truckee

New Hampshire, Enjoy The State's Gorgeous Scenery By Rail

New Jersey, Preserving Its Railroad History

New Mexico, Ride The Fabled Narro-Gauge Cumbres & Toltec Scenic

New York, Offering Numerous Excursions To Enjoy The State's Scenic Beauty

North Carolina, Home Of The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad And Other Trips

Ohio, Enjoy The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad And Other Rides

Oklahoma, Where You Can Enjoy A Few Trips By Rail

Oregon, Excursions On The Popular Mt. Hood Scenic Railroad And Others

Pennsylvania, Home Of The World-Famous Strasburg Railroad

South Carolina, Trips At The South Carolina Railroad Museum

Tennessee, Enjoy Train Rides Through The Appalachians

Texas, Home Of The Steam-Powered Texas State Railroad

Washington, Experience The State's Beauty By Rail

West Virginia, Through The Mountain State's Breathtaking Backcountry

Wisconsin, Enjoy The Ever-Popular Wisconsin Great Northern

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Class K-37 #488 rolls through the grade crossing in Cumbres, Colorado with an excursion on September 19, 2009.

Colorado Railroad Museum

The Colorado Railroad Museum, based in Golden, houses a large collection of rolling stock and locomotives.  They also host train rides during the weekends and other special events.

Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad

The Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad, based in Cripple Creek, Colorado is another of the state's many narrow-gauge tourist railroads (it's gauge is two feet). The little railroad has been in operation since the summer of 1967 and since that time has become a popular operation, running trains on four miles of ex-mining trackage. Of course, the railroad is only one attraction in the town of Cripple Creek, which is itself a popular tourist attraction. 

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad

The Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad is another famous narrow-gauge tourist railroad in southwest Colorado and northwest New Mexico, like the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (except that it operates entirely in Colorado). The C&T is quite similar to the D&S in many ways, including the use of famous narrow-gauge steam locomotives that are native to the line (which were originally owned by the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad). Also like the D&S, the C&T operates through the gorgeous canyons and mountains located in the region. So, if you are ever in southwest Colorado I would strongly consider stopping by to see this historic and super scenic tourist railroad! Even better, if you time, also stop by and see the nearby Durango & Silverton.

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

One of the premier tourist trains you will found anywhere in the country, the Durango & Silverton operates on the fabled narrow gauge lines of the former Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad in the beautiful rugged regions of southern Colorado, still using the same steam locomotives that operated under the D&RGW. The railroad also hosts special events and trains throughout the operating season that include lunches and barbecues.

Fort Collins Municipal Railway

Based in Fort Collins, Colorado this tourist train operates on 1 1/2-mile stretch of former interurban trackage using a restored Birney Safety Car #21. They normally operate on weekends and host special excursions throughout the year.

Galloping Goose #5

This uniquely restored, historic rail car was returned to operating condition in 1998. It now offers rides on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic and Durango & Silverton during different times of the year.

Georgetown Loop Railroad

The narrow-gauge Georgetown Loop Railroad is a short, but very popular and scenic tourist railroad located in Georgetown, Colorado and operated by the Colorado Historical Society as the Georgetown Loop Historic Mining & Railroad Park. The scenic line dates as far back as 1881 (as the Georgetown, Breckenridge & Leadville Railroad, originally a Union Pacific subsidiary) when it was chartered to serve thriving silver mines near Georgetown and Silver Plume.

Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad

The Leadville, Colorado and Southern Railroad is another of Colorado's many tourist railroads and just like the others operates through the spectacular Rocky Mountain Range, departing each trip from the historic mining town of Leadville at the former Colorado & Southern restored depot. The railroad's primary power is a GP9 #1714 painted in LC&S colors.

Manitou & Pike’s Peak Railway

This cog railway operates up Colorado's Pike's Peak, along a line that covers nearly nine miles and lasts over three hours. While this isn't a traditional tourist train it's tough to find one that affords such spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and countryside.

Platte Valley Trolley

The Platte Valley Trolley operates from mid-April through the end of October every weekend using trolley cars along a route that allows for about a 25-minute ride.

Rio Grande Scenic Railroad

The Rio Grande Scenic Railroad is a new tourist railroad based in Alamosa, Colorado that has been operating only since 2006. The railroad operates exclusively over ex-Rio Grande trackage (as you may have guessed from the name) and connects with the popular narrow-gauge tourist line, Cumbres & Toltec Scenic at its southern terminus of Chama, New Mexico.

Durango & Silverton Class K-36 Mikado #481 steams in Silverton, Colorado as it waits to depart the station while onlookers enjoy the sights on September 17, 2009.

Royal Gorge Route Railroad

The Royal Gorge Route Railroad is another tourist railroad that operates part of the Denver & Rio Grande Western’s super-scenic trackage in Colorado. Also close to other very popular lines like the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad, Cumbres & Toltec Scenic, and Durango & Silverton the Royal Gorge Route operates 24 miles of the Rio Grande’s famous line the Royal George Route (as you may have guessed, this is where the railroad derives its name) departing daily from Canyon City, Colorado (it should be noted that the railroad is one of the few tourist lines to operate year-round).

Tiny Town Railroad

The Tiny Town is located in Morrison offering scale-train rides using authentic, miniature steam locomotives.  Their excursions are offered daily between June, July, and August and run during the weekends from September through May.

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