Whether you ride in plush cars with modern luxuries or a train car from a more historical era, these railways are a link to Colorado’s rich past. Take a trip along these rails and you’ll travel over rugged mountain peaks, traverse rushing river gorges, and discover pristine landscapes that would otherwise be impossible to see. These routes are more than just scenic, they’re an integral part of Colorado’s history and make our state the place it is today.
While you might look at the railroad tracks and passenger cars as curious relics from another time, the fact is that they were crucial to helping Colorado become the place it is today. At one time, a series of Click here incredible technological feats linked a bustling gold and silver mining town in Denver with the hamlet of Banff, nearly 850 kilometers away. The path was not easy: countless mountain peaks, alpine passes and waterfalls were overcome in a decades-long struggle to lay track across Colorado’s stunning Rocky Mountain region.
The Colorado’s railroading boom began in 1873 when the Denver, South Park & Pacific Railroad Company was incorporated with the intention of connecting Denver to mines in South Park and other mining districts. As the population of the state continued to grow, more and more companies sprung up with the same goal in mind. The flurry of railroad activity resulted in hundreds of miles of new track being laid throughout the state, including over and through the Continental Divide, across each of Colorado’s state borders and even into a few frontier territories.
In the end, only the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad Company was able to successfully connect all corners of Colorado. The company’s ambitions inspired rivals who raced to complete their own routes in hopes of capturing the golden opportunity. These new lines carved through the rugged peaks and perilous valleys of Colorado’s most pristine mountains, establishing a network that stretches from the mining boomtowns to the Rocky Mountain National Parks.
A railway through the Rockies is a stunning experience all year round, but it’s particularly beautiful in springtime when wildflowers bloom and wildlife comes out of hibernation to hunt for food. During this season, the trains offer daily operations to allow you to soak up the scenery and enjoy the best of what America’s Mountain has to offer.
After descending the Spiral Tunnels, the Rocky Mountaineer runs alongside Bow Lake where the silt and runoff from Victoria Glacier gives the water an otherworldly shade of aquamarine. The train continues into the wide Bow Valley and then onto the hamlet of Lake Louise, where its snow-capped peak is reflected in the calm waters. The train then leaves Lake Louise for Vancouver via the Yellowhead Pass.
The Rocky Mountaineer departs Vancouver for Banff and Lake Louise each Monday and Friday April 17 – October 13, 2023. During the rest of the year it departs on Tuesdays from May 9 – May 30, and Thursdays July 4-September 26, 2023.