One of the best ways to experience Durango, Colorado is onboard a train chugging down the the Durango and Silverton Railroad. It’s easy to understand why: If there was no train, there’d be no Durango! Durango was founded in 1879 by the Denver & Rio Grande Railway. By 1881, the railroad reached Durango and by 1882, the tracks to Silverton were completed. Today, nearly 140 years later, the Durango train is just as an essential part of the city’s livelihood and culture as it was in its founding days. There are many ways you can experience the Durango train. From leisurely rides to and from Silverton to special train events, there’s a Durango train experience for you. Learn more about riding the Durango train and start planning your next railroad experience.
Durango Train Skyway Tour
According to information from the Durango & Silverton Railway Museum, one of the most popular ways to ride the Durango train is their Skyway Tour. In season from early May-late October, this summer and fall tour lets you ride the train 53 miles from Durango and Silverton and then ride a bus back to Durango.
You can choose to ride to Silverton and spend the day or spend the night and catch the bus back the following day. Find more information about the bus & train schedules here. The Skyway Tour is a popular option because it allows travelers to see many different views of the San Juan Mountains.
Round Trip Tour
If you’re a train enthusiast, consider booking a round trip tour on the Durango and Silverton Railway. You spend a total of 7 hours on board the train in a single day. The train rides 3 1/2 miles to Silverton, stops for 2 hours in Silverton, and then treks 3 1/2 hours back to Durango. You’ll experience the full splendor of the 1880s train, allowing you to step back in time as the train chugs down the track.
Cascade Canyon Express
The Durango train's Cascade Canyon excursion is specifically designed for busy travelers of today. It is the train's shortest excursion offered in the railroad's history. The Cascade Canyon Express lasts just under two hours, making it an excellent choice for those who don't want to commit to an all day train ride. Choose between an open-air gondola or a historic restoration coach and take in the incredible views along the highline of the canyon.
For backpackers, hikers, and fishermen, a great way to ride the Durango train is on a wilderness access trip during the summer. Head out into the San Juan National Forest and Weminuche Wilderness via the Durango train, and get off in Needleton (for access to the Chicago Basin) or Elk Park (for access to the Colorado Trail). Call (888) 872-4607 to book.
Photographers love the views and vistas they can snap onboard a special ride just for them. The Durango train offers trips just for photographers several times a season, giving ample opportunity to get the perfect shot. The Photographers Special train packages run both day and night, letting you test your photo skills in a variety of settings. You can call the Durango & Silverton Railway at (877) 872-4607 for additional information or to book your spot on the next photographer’s special.
Durango Train Events
You’ll find a number of family friendly events taking place on the Durango Train all year long. The Polar Express rules winter. The Shamrock Express makes early spring fun. The Easter Beagle Express brings Peanuts fun to the railway. Many more family friendly events dot the annual calendar, as well as some suitable for adults only, like the Durango Brew Train or Blues Train.
Locomotive Cab Ride
Did you know that the Durango train offers passengers the chance to ride up front with the conductor? Aboard a locomotive cab ride you can experience a day in the life of an engineer and fireman in the front cab of a steam train. See if you have what it takes to work on the railroad line! Ride 3 1/2 hours on a one way trip to Silverton and observe first-hand as the operators create locomotion. This ride is available all year.
Motor Car Ride
Another unique experience offered by the DSNGR is a motor car ride. Available from May through October, this ride travels along the rails in a motorcar with a veteran maintenance-of-way crewmember. You can experience a typical afternoon of patroling the rails and communicating with the train as it returns from Silverton. Those at least 18 years old can ride in the motor car; don't forget your lace-up boots and water bottle!
Looking for more ways to ride the train? From romantic couples rides to beer tasting rides for brew buffs, there’s something for everyone to enjoy on board the Durango train. Give the Durango & Silverton Railway a call at (877) 872-4607 for more information or to book your next ride.