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Day 1: Arrive in Denver, CO. Check into hotel for a two night stay. Dinner tonight will be on own.
Day 2: Your High Mountain Rail Adventure begins this morning as we drive out of Denver climbing to Georgetown (at 8,500 feet she was once known as the ‘Silver Queen of Colorado’) here your first train ride is on the Georgetown Scenic Railroad. An old-time steam locomotive chugging its way up the canyon, hauling your train past the remains of several gold and silver mines. This open car train takes you between Georgetown and Silver Plume, over 2 miles apart, over mountainous terrain, requiring trestles, cuts, fills, loops, and curves totaling 3.1 miles of narrow gauge track. 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.
Ending the day you are in Grand Junction for Overnight and dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 3: Day 3 starts with 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 color of the red mountains are simply astonishing. This jeep ride has been the highlight of our train tour for many of our past travelers. A picnic lunch will be included today.
The jeep tour ends in Historic Silverton, CO where you board train #2 the Silverton-Durango Railroad. This steam locomotive travels along the Animas River winding through spectacular & 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.
You end the day in Pagosa Springs, CO for an overnight stay.
Day 4: Early this morning you travel to Chama, NM for a ride on train #3 The Cumbres & Toltec Railroad. Perhaps the most beautiful ride in America, it is rugged, narrow gauge, coal-fired, steam powered mountain railroad traversing 64 miles of unparalleled scenery. You climb through an unspoiled landscape, past historic railroad structures dating back to the turn of the twentieth century. You enjoy the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains as this sure-footed locomotives rolls through tunnels, above deep gorges and over Cumbres Pass. A stop is made for lunch at the lonely Osier Dining Hall near the halfway point. Then you ride across the border back into Colorado at Antonito.
You spend the night in Alamosa. Dinner is at one of Alamosa’s most popular restaurants, The True Grits Steak House. It is decorated all in a John Wayne theme and proudly offers a classic American menu of steak and seafood.
Day 5: This morning climb aboard train #4 another of Colorado’s most scenic trains for a 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. The Royal Gorge Route is a quality, Colorado attraction – no thrill rides or cotton candy – just rugged scenery.
Then this afternoon you tour the Garden of the Gods Park, a Registered National Natural Landmark in Colorado Springs. here you enjoy a 14 minute movie then learn about the park’s geology and experience Native-American culture. There will also be ample time to explore the Garden of the Gods Trading Post.
You will spend two nights in Colorado Springs (Drury Inn or similar) Dinner on own.
Day 6: Tour the Manitou Cliff Dwellings. Located at the foot of Pikes Peak, these mountain dwellings are a rare historical treasure. Preserved under a protective red sandstone overhang, authentic Anasazi cliff dwellings, built more than 700 years ago, await you here. There are no “Do Not Touch” signs. You are free to touch and even go inside these fascinating architectural remnants of an American Indian culture that roamed the Four Corners area of the Southwest from 1200 B.C. to A.D. 1300.
The afternoon features a round trip ride on train #5 Pikes Peak Cog Railroad. This 8.9 miles long ride begins along Ruxton Creek in Englemann Canyon. The track is built next to the stream where there are boulder fields on both sides. Conductors like to point out the various “faces” and shapes, which with a bit of imagination can be seen in them, during the first 1/3 of the trip. Then you pass Minnehaha Falls and through a natural gateway known as Hells Gate, past Lake Moraine and Mount Almagre before climbing above the timberline. You will spend 20-30 minutes at the 14,110 foot summit. From here, on a clear day, you can see the skyscrapers of downtown Denver and the Great Plains to the east.
This evening we will coordinate a Farewell Dinner for you group at a local restaurant.
Day 7: Depart for Home.