Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad was established in 1879 and completed by 1882. Originally used to haul gold and silver, now serves as a scenic ride on coal-fired, steam-powered trains that run from Durango, Colorado to the historic mining town of Silverton, Colorado, 45 miles one way.

 

Riding the train in the fall was absolutely beautiful with all the leaves changing and the aspens in full color. The weather was absolutely perfect so we chose the open air gondola. The train follows the Animas River through the San Juan Mountains. You can depart from Durango or Silverton. If you opt for an enclosed car, you can listen to a historic narration through your trip that will also point out places of interest and historical value. The scenery through the canyons is amazing and keep an eye out for wildlife.  Deer, bear, and bighorn sheep are just a few animals you will see along the way.

 

When you reach Silverton you will have a two-hour lunch/shopping break. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from. One of our favorites is the Brown Bear Café, try a bowl of the their delicious homemade chili.  Walking around Silverton you really feel like you have stepped back in time.  You can choose between a round trip on the train or return trip in a motor coach.

 

 

This is one of the posts that the pictures do the talking for me on what you will see and experience on this marvelous ride.  A glimpse of the old west and the beauty of Colorado, this continues to be a timeless adventure on one of America’s top train rides year after year.  Even if you take the motor coach ride back instead of the round trip by train, you will see more stunning scenery. After all, this is Colorado.

 

TIPS:

  • There are museums at both ends of the train line that are free to visit.
  • The train schedule will change seasonally so be sure to call ahead @ 1-888-872-4607
  • Concessions and bathrooms are available on all the trains
  • Durango is a great town to explore with nice hotels options and wonderful restaurants. We always choose the Doubletree by Hilton and are always very happy with our accommodations.

 

Location:  Durango @ 479 Main Ave, Durango, Co 81301

 

 

The town of Silverton

 

See also: http://simplesojourner.com/cumbres-toltec-scenic-railroad/

 

****ALL pictures taken by SIMPLE SOJOURNER.

 

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54 comments

  1. Train rides are my favourite part of travelling & this journey looks spectacular. It’s great to know too that there are 2 museums here to complement the visit – and they’re free! Top post!

  2. OHH this is so beautiful!!! And totally up my alley. I went on a scenic train ride in the autumn through a small mountain in Japan. Seeing all the fall colors made the ride incredibly breathtaking, just like your photos. I hope to take a trip to Colorodo with my BFF next year so I’ll be saving this in reference for planning. Thank you for sharing.

  3. I always make an effort to take a train journey in most places I go and while other often don’t share my enthusiasm, I just think it is the singularly most romantic transportation system. That being said, this journey really does look to be something special, a really slice of history while the natural surroundings are nothing short of spectacular. Certainly, it seems like you picked an ideal time for it, those autumnal colors are incredible!

  4. We were in Colorado this summer and made a large loop around most of the hot spots but didn’t have the chance to make it to Durango/Silverton! I’ve had family that have been on the railroad and have said it was one of the best trips they’ve been on and after seeing your photos I can see why! I would especially want to visit in the early fall since the leaves are so pretty.

  5. Colorado looks like an amazing place and your pictures are brilliant and do it even more favours. Being in the mining industry myself it is always good to have a look at historic mine sites like this one. Great article

    1. I love the history that surrounds these areas. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and hopefully you will visit this scenic state one day!

  6. Wow this looks absolutely amazing. We love trains but have not really had an opportunity to ride them. Next time we are in Colorado we are definitely going to have to put this ride on our list of Must Dos!

  7. I have always had a fascination for trains. The old heritage Narrow Gauge trains are so cute and transport you to another time in history. The landscape is captured stunningly in your pictures. I was reminded of a similar narrow gauge train in Darjeeling, India.

  8. Oh wow, this has to be one of the most beautiful railways in the world. There is just something about rail travel through landscapes like this that captures the romance of travel. Love the history too, an era I am quite interested in.

  9. I love taking old train journeys and would certainly enjoy this. I took a ride on an old Gold Mine train from around the same period the other day and had a great time.

  10. Absolutely stunning! The photos look amazing! I love a good train journey, and this one looks like it takes you through some absolutely jaw-dropping scenery. Haven’t been to Colorado yet, but I’ll definitely try and fit this into a trip if I go!

  11. Fantastic photos! I would love to do a trip like this by train, looks a lot of fun and stunning landscapes! thanks for sharing, have bookmarked it for a future USA visit.

  12. What a truly stunning journey! Absolutely love the views and your photos, wow is all I can say! I would love to stop at the Bear cafe for a bowl of chilli as well – great post, thanks for sharing this information!

    1. Hi Angie, Thanks so much. It’s easy to great photos when the scenery is stunning. The train ride is a must do when your in Colorado!

  13. Awesome you brought me back to the train ride I rode many years ago. Love the photos, and how amazing you were able to ride the train in the fall for the leaves changing colors. This is a wonderful adventure even for families. Thanks for sharing! Pinned for others to see and had to share on FB.

  14. Just awesome! What an absolutely beautiful place. It is exactly the sort of place I want to visit when I get the chance to go to America. And to be able to travel through on an old train…. well, just magical. Pinned it for future USA visit – on my bucket list!

  15. How cool! I can’t imagine there are too many old coal-powered trains about these days. That you get to take it through such gorgeous scenery (especially in autumn) is just an added bonus. Love those shots back along the train! Silverton looks like a proper frontier town too.

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