The first railroad cut through Colorado’s rocky terrain back in 1869 – and the transportation mode hasn't lost any steam since.
These days there is certainly more of an eclectic selection of trains to choose from though. There are beer trains, wine trains and even blues trains – all traversing the state's ruggedly beautiful landscapes and showing their passengers a totally fabulous time in the process.
Here are some of our favourite ways to get on track in Colorado...
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On May 24 the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad will introduce its newest specialty train, the Durango Brew Train. The authentic 1925 steam locomotive will pull a narrow gauge train through the Animas Valley and on up over the dramatic highline, hundreds of metres above the Animas River. On board, skilled and knowledgeable brewers will introduce you to a light sampling of their fine ales and educate you about the process required for crafting each brew.
Back by popular demand, the Blues Train runs in both May and August. Also new for 2014, each night on the train will feature a different group of musicians – so don’t rule out riding more than once. Travelling on the Historic Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad’s coal-fired, steam-powered locomotive, passengers dance their way between six different cars hosting six different bands and musicians. The breathtaking canyons, rivers and mountains of the San Juan National Forest provide an excellent backdrop. Enjoy nearly four hours of music, dancing and views.
This train tour takes visitors from Denver to Grand Junction, Colorado, on Amtrak’s California Zephyr route – the most popular train route in the country. During the ride, guests engage in a “Colorado Wine 101” seminar, live entertainment by a professional jazz musician, and wine tasting hosted by two Grand Valley vintners. Once in Grand Junction, guests tour several Grand Valley wineries where they learn about the process of wine making, get a behind the scenes look at operations, and sample a wide variety of local wines. Before returning to Denver, this time by scenic byway, attendees also enjoy a tour of the breathtaking Colorado National Monument. Two AAA Colorado Wine Country Experiences trains are scheduled in 2014. The first train is designated as an AAA Colorado President’s Edition tour and will take place June 20 - 23. President and CEO of AAA Colorado, Tony DeNovellis, will host this enhanced version. A second Colorado Wine Country Train is scheduled October 10 - 12.
Since 1891, the Pikes Peak Cog Railway has taken millions of people on an unforgettable trip to the 4,302 metres summit of Pikes Peak. Past cascading streams and forests of aspen and pine, the world's highest cog railroad reveals lovely panoramas that inspired "America the Beautiful". In contrast to the vintage track and beautifully restored station, the modern cars with expansive windows offer views of Englemann Canyon, Minnehaha Falls, Lake Moraine and Mount Almagre and of course, Pikes Peak. Trains run year-round.
Experience the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains as the train passes through tunnels, above deep gorges and over Cumbres Pass. This unique section of mountain railroad is co-owned by the states of New Mexico and Colorado and was designated a National Historic Landmark in October of 2012. The railroad is famous for its appearance in Hollywood films, including Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and the Legend of the Lone Ranger. Beyond Hollywood, riders can experience the authentic West every day, from May to October.