Top 7 Winter Train Trips in Colorado

Because of the rough terrain they traverse, it’s not uncommon for Colorado railroads to only open for rides during warm-weather months. However, several offer special winter train excursions, opening the door to spectacular mountain scenery, fine dining, kid-pleasing, holiday-themed experiences and even the ski slopes. All aboard!

 

Georgetown Loop Railroad Holiday Train
Amtrak's Winter Park Express, formerly known as The Ski Train
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1. Amtrak's Winter Park Express

Formerly known as the Ski Train, Amtrak has reintroduced its route between Denver's Union Station and Winter Park Resort for skiers and boarders looking for a relaxed ride to the slopes. Running Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during the winter months Jan.–March, the trip takes only two hours.

2. Rocky Mountaineer’s Rockies to Red Rocks

Experience Colorado’s winter beauty in a luxury setting on the Rocky Mountaineer's Rockies to Red Rocks experience. You’ll traverse our numerous landscapes — from golden plains and river-carved canyons to craggy mountains and hulking mesas — in style, as you sip champagne and marvel at the flakes falling from your glass-domed train car.

3. Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad

With a station that sits at 10,151 feet, you’re guaranteed elevated fun with the Leadville Railroad’s winter train rides. Snake past powder-covered vistas of some of Colorado’s tallest peaks in a cozy heated car on The Holiday Express™. The train will be decked out in lights and while the Rockies will be decked out in their winter finery of snow.

4. Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

Deemed the “No. 1 North American Train Trip” by National Geographic Traveler, this memorable route on the Durango Train tracks through the remote wilderness of the San Juan National Forest. Wind around snowy cliff sides and soak in spectacular views of the frozen blue-green Animas River on the Cascade Canyon Winter Train. Or add an extra dash of magic to your winter train ride on  THE POLAR EXPRESS™ — an enchanting journey to the North Pole that satisfies wide-eyed kiddos and nonbelievers alike.

5. Broadmoor Manitou & Pikes Peak Cog Railway

Winter magic is taken to the next level when you ride the Pikes Peak Train — the highest railway on the continent — to the tip top of America’s Mountain. Warm up with doughnuts at the summit as you take in views of mountains and plains blanketed in white as far as the eye can see.

6. Royal Gorge Route Railroad

The Royal Gorge Route Railroad is a Cañon City gem presents multiple trip options, including a Santa Express Train in November and December, when pajama-wearing adolescents and their parents clamber aboard for a scenic jaunt to a twinkly replica of St. Nick’s hangout. Or, treat yourself and a friend to a three-course dinner for two in a glass-domed rail car as.

7. Georgetown Loop Railroad

The folks at the town's prized Georgetown Loop Railroad are wild for special occasions — and their enthusiasm is contagious. Celebrate some of our most beloved residents on November’s Big Horn Sheep Festival Train, with talks from experts from Colorado Parks & Wildlife and an opportunity to view the horned beauties. Or, board one of their holiday train rides, like Santa’s Lighted Forest to watch a synchronized holiday-music-and-light show in the forest above town. Grumpy Scrooge-types beware: This one’s a heart-warmer.

Fall Train Excursions in Colorado

As the aspens of the San Isabel National Forest turn gold, the Continental Divide-bound Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad offers twice-daily fall-color photography specials in September for leaf-peepers, as well as a special Octoberfest train.

Through mid-October, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, which runs from Antonito, Colorado, to Chama, New Mexico, offers full-day excursions and a Junior Engineer Program for budding conductors (ages 5–12). To earn the super-official certificate, kids learn about the train and complete an activity booklet during their ride (available for download online).

From mid-October to early November, Georgetown Loop Railroad’s Oktoberfest Trains bring microbrew tastings (root beer for underage riders) and bratwursts for all. Prost!

Please check railroad websites to confirm all excursion dates and details.

Want more?

Read the Complete Guide to Colorado Train Trips or view our listings for scenic and historic railroads in Colorado.

For more ways to celebrate the holidays, check out Colorado's Iconic Winter Events & Celebrations