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Scenic Train Rides

Georgia
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Scenic Train Rides

We are thinking of taking one of the trains (E.g. Cumbres & Toltec, Rio Grande, Durango & Silverton, Cripple Creek & Victor) for the sake of seeing the beauty of the land and hopefully catching a glimpse of wildlife (as opposed to the train ride). The trains seem to take all day and that is a big chunk of time out of a 10-day mid-September vacation.

1) Are these excursions more for the trill of the train ride; or, will we see more on the train as opposed to driving?

2) For those who have been on several of the trains in Colorado, which would you recommend for sightseeing purposes?

vcv
Tennessee
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1. Re: Scenic Train Rides

The Durango/Silverton train will give you spectacular views of the river gorge, which aren't visible from most of the drive between the two towns. The river is roaring with whitewater rapids and is truly awe-inspiring. If you take this train and don't have children with you, consider the adult parlor cars, which have fewer people and very nice amenities.

It's the only train I've done, so I can't compare; but I liked it so much that I went back a year later for another run. Silverton is also worth exploring by car for the very interesting, old cemetery.

Edited: 03 March 2012, 04:39
Colorado Western...
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for Ouray, Outdoors / Adventure Travel, Montrose
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2. Re: Scenic Train Rides

I've been on the Durango/Silverton train several times, and the Cumbres & Toltec once. I'd definitely choose Durango/Silverton for scenic beauty, and for being able to see a lot that can't be viewed from the road.

WestSlope,CO
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3. Re: Scenic Train Rides

I've only ridden the Durango-Silverton train, but I am familiar with the routes of the others you mention. If you must pick one, that's the one to do, IMO. For the best use of time, ride the train one way and take the bus or van the other. For the very best use of time, I recommend taking one of the combination tours, such as the train/jeep combo which will get you higher into the mountains and to Animas Forks ghost town in about the same amount of time as riding the train both directions. I'm a "Facebook friend" and I've enjoyed seeing the wildlife pictures they've posted...everything from bears to the occasional moose. I haven't seen wildlife from that train, but people often do, and the advantage to the train for wildlife spotting is that there are lots of eyes looking and no one having to watch the road and traffic!

The Cumbres Toltec or the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad would be next on my list. If you are music lovers, the Rio Grande has their Mountain Rails concert series, an outdoor concert venue only accessible by train. These two, along with the Leadville train, have more sweeping mountain vistas...very beautiful, but similar to what you can see along the highways. If you have the time, it is nice to ride the train because then you can enjoy the views without having to keep your eyes on the road! Actually, the Amtrak train between Grand Junction and Denver is another great trip and deserves to be on the list of scenic train rides in Colorado.

Edited: 03 March 2012, 15:43
Santa Fe, New Mexico
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4. Re: Scenic Train Rides

I agree that Durango/Silverton train and then an add on of a jeep tour would be a great Colorado day!

Cumbres Toltec is a beautiful, scenic trip and I would make that a 2nd choice if you are in that area of the state. Cripple Creek/Victor train is mostly a train ride, you can see most of the scenery and mining areas from your car. Rio Grande train goes through a valley, not so much in the mountains and you can see the same scenery from the road.

A couple of other train trips/rides include Royal Gorge Railway, Pikes Peak Cog Railway and Leadville Colorado and Southern. www.coloradoscenicrails.com/

Georgia
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5. Re: Scenic Train Rides

Thanks to everyone who took the time to respond to my post. Your replies were all very helpful!

I think we will do the Durango Silverton train ride and consider the combined jeep tour as well.

The mention of the roaring white water rapids helped make up our minds.

We will definitely do the Pikes Peak Cog Railway this trip.

The Amtrak train ride sounds wonderful for another trip - perhaps when we retire and have more time - I will be sure to keep that in the back of my mind.

WestSlope,CO
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6. Re: Scenic Train Rides

Great choices!

7. Re: Scenic Train Rides

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