Top 6 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!

By: Staff Writer
Updated: March 22, 2024

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 in January–March, the trip takes about two hours.

2. 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 and Winter Express. The train will be decked out in lights and while the Rockies will be decked out in their winter finery of snow.

3. Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

This esteemed and 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. Georgetown Loop Railroad

The folks at the town's prized Georgetown Loop Railroad are wild for special occasions. 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 an Oktoberfest train.

Through mid-October, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, which runs from Antonito, Colorado, to Chama, New Mexico, offers full-day excursions through gorgeous autumn scenery.

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