If you are looking for train rides in Colorado, you must consider the Durango and Silverton narrow gauge railroad train. In case you wonder, this is not strictly a discussion about two towns and a train but rather a discussion about the relevance of them in the life of those who visit the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Located in the south of the state at the base of the mountains, Durango offers some vibes from the old Wild West. These vibes are particularly strong in the historic downtown, where you can enjoy some grand old buildings before or after spending some time in the wild Rockies. The town offers several hotels that may accommodate you during the trip. If you decide to stay, you may have time to meet some of the 16,887 inhabitants.
Why should you care about Durango? Well, some may care because they like the town or the views it offers to La Plata Mountains and San Juan. While Durango is located at 6,512 feet (1,984 m), some peaks of the San Juan mountains rise to altitudes over 14,000 feet (4,267 m). But even those who are not interested in visiting Durango may still find the location valuable given the connection it provides to the surroundings. For example, Durango is also part of the Colorado Trail, a backcountry trail that is 500-miles-long and runs from Denver to Durango. The trail can give you access to Junction Creek, Gudy’s Rest and other hiking trails. However, when thinking about where Durango can take you, there is something else that comes into the minds of most people. I am referring to the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gage Railway, which is not only one of the town’s main attractions but also the coolest way to leave the town. The town of Durango was actually founded by the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad (1880) and, for this reason, it can be said that the train does not only plays a major role in the town’s life today but it has since its beginnings.
This train offers day trips up the valley, from Durango to Silverton-another old town that is located in the mountains at a “good” altitude. If you are not convinced, maybe it’s worth knowing that National Geographic Traveler has named Durango the Number One American Train Trip. The train has several stops which allow you to hike different parts of San Juan National Forest-which covers most of the southern areas of San Juan Mountains. The ride can last for an entire day, as the travel time in each direction is over three hours and the stopover in Silverton lasts for 2 hours. Durango & Silverton Narrow Gage is not nice just for the views; visitors can choose whether to ride in Victorian or open-sided gondola cars. You cannot ride this train without reservations and it is recommended that you book it in advance in order to avoid hearing or reading “no seats left” or something similar. The train is also operational during the winter.
There are several nearby locations that are arguably worthy of your attention. One is the Vallecito Lake, which is located in the San Juan National Forest and is said to offer great views during summer, autumn, winter, and spring. Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort, on the other hand, is the most interesting during the winter, as it offers a good ski area, particularly oriented at families. This area has 10 ski lifts and 88 trails.
Note: If you have had the chance to take a ride on to the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gage Railway, please let us know. We want to know whether it is overrated, just as expected, or even beyond expectations.
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