There is nothing like a train trip, except a scenic fall train trip in October for your birthday. Gene and I went to Durango in October of 2009 and took a train trip on the Durango – Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. It was phenomenal and breathtaking. I couldn’t believe the amazing views around every turn. The best part was that the tickets were a gift from a customer at my former company. That just made it even sweeter.
I want to give a little history before I share our experience. According to their site, the railroad arrived in Durango on August 5, 1881, and construction on the line to Silverton began in the fall of the same year. By July of 1882, the tracks to Silverton were completed, and the train began hauling both freight and passengers. The line was constructed to haul silver and gold ore from Southwest Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, but passengers soon realized it was the view that was truly precious.
This historic narrow-gauge railroad and train have been in continuous operation between Durango and Silverton since 1882, carrying passengers behind vintage steam locomotives and rolling stock indigenous to the line. It is a family-friendly ride sure to create memories that will last a lifetime while offering a view of Colorado’s mountain splendor inaccessible by highway.
The Durango – Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad travels along the Animas River which is one of the last free-flowing rivers in the western United States. Lucky we live here in CO :). The train crosses the river five times on its journey to Silverton and passes fertile farmlands, old stagecoach roads, the breathtaking “Highline”, the remote Tacoma Power Plant, old mining camps, and peaks reaching over 14,000 feet, often with year-round snow.
Since it was my birthday weekend, we decided to say an extra day and spend a few days exploring the area as well as Mesa Verde. We had a great time. The morning of our trip we got there early, as the train took off a little before 9:00 am. It was one of the most amazing trips I can remember. Like I said earlier, there were amazing views around every turn, especially with all the amazing beautiful fall colors. It was just spectacular. There were some wonderful waterfalls too, and we were lucky enough to have to stop for a few minutes and our car was right in front of one! I guess another birthday treat 🙂
It took us about 3 hours to get to Silverton where we were able to wander around this historic town, grab some lunch, and do a little shopping. We had quick lunch then headed out to explore the town. Gene bought some jerky and I got a piece of fudge. Eventually, we ended up visiting a local distillery and tried some of their whiskey. We had such a great time talking to the owner that we had to run to catch up with the 2:30 train heading back to Durango. Not sure what we would have done had we missed it, but we made it. It was just as breathtaking on the way back and we rolled back into Durango about 6:00 pm.
We later found out that there was also a train/bus tour option. With this option, you take the train up and then a bus back. We were so glad we had the round-trip train tickets. It was a little bit of a long day (made longer with the whiskey in us, lol). However, it was amazing and we had an incredible time on the Narrow Gauge Railroad.
Upon our return, we spent a few minutes browsing through their gift shop and picked up a couple of items as mementos to remember our fun-filled adventure. There was also a little museum that we walked through. It gave us a little more history about the transportation and mining industry. It was cool, but Gene enjoyed it more. Here is a link to their website with more information and how to buy tickets for your own trip. In the end, we had a great day and would love to do it again in the future. Please comment below if you have been on this trip and what you thought. Would love to hear from you.
Durango – Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Visitor Information
479 Main Avenue, Durango, CO 81301
Reservations: (970) 247-2733
General Information: (970) 247-2733
Toll Free: (877) 872-4607
Administration: (970) 259-0274
2021 Schedule Through April 2021
This 5-hour round-trip excursion departs from the Durango Depot at 9:30 am and returns at 2:30 pm.
|January, 2021||9-10, 15-17, 23-24, 30-31|
|February, 2021||6-7, 12-14, 20-21, 27-28|
|March, 2021||5-20, 22-27, 29-31|
|April, 2021||1-3, 9-10, 16-17, 19-24, 26-30|
Classes of Service – Train Type
Not sure if this was the way it was when we visited (as we had free tickets) but they have different classes of service. Here they are below:
Presidential Class (21 and over)
The Victorian splendor of a bygone era awaits you onboard one of the most legendary and historic private cars to ever grace the narrow gauge rails
Onboard attendant, unlimited non-alcoholic beverages, morning pastry, souvenir mug, and one tote bag per couple/group.
Ride in historic comfort and style on one of their First-Class cars
Onboard attendant, unlimited non-alcoholic beverages, morning pastry, a souvenir mug, and one tote bag per couple/group.
Relax in a roomier, family-friendly atmosphere aboard this open-air observation gondola. This class features comfortable and larger overstuffed seats with more expansive viewing windows.
All passengers will receive a souvenir mug.
Standard Class (All ages)
Choose between vintage coach seating or open-air gondolas. Seat width in Standard-class is equal to the industry standard of an economy-class plane seat. Extra-space seating is available for an additional charge.
Prices vary depending on the type of class your group picks. I would suggest checking out their website for the most current prices.
The Durango and Silverton Railroad offers a train car with a wheelchair-accessible restroom and lifts service! This car is scheduled to run daily on the summer train to Silverton and on the winter train to Cascade Canyon. The wheelchair can be locked in position and non-wheelchair passengers ride right in the same car as the passenger in the wheelchair. Be sure to ask for the ADA car when booking. THERE IS ONLY ONE WHEELCHAIR-ACCESSIBLE CAR IN THEIR FLEET. WITHOUT ADVANCE BOOKING, THEY CAN NOT GUARANTEE THAT IT WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR YOUR PARTY. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE CALL AHEAD TO BOOK THIS SERVICE!
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