All Aboard! Durango to Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

For 130 continuous years coal-fired steam engines have powered up the narrow gauge tracks that connect Durango, Colorado to Silverton. Originally constructed to haul workers to, and precious metals back from, gold and silver mines in the San Juan Mountains, the line now operates exclusively for the benefit of tourists.

Pulling restored 1880-era passenger cars, the locomotive winds along 45 miles of the Animas River as it climbs to Silverton’s 9,035 feet elevation. During its three-hour trip, the train clings to canyon walls, passes waterfalls, and gives views of 14,000 foot peaks that are often topped with year-round snow.

Is it any wonder the Society of American Travel Writers chose it as one of the World’s Top 10 Train Rides.

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14 Comments on “All Aboard! Durango to Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad”

  1. Pit July 27, 2012 at 9:09 am #

    Wasn’t the Durango & Silverton part of the set for “Support Your Local Gunman”?


    • Brian July 27, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

      I don’t know. I recall hearing that the “Polar Express” was modeled after it though.


  2. hobopals July 27, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    I’m surprised that the Cumbres de Toltec didn’t make it. It was once part of the same line.


  3. Debbie Young July 27, 2012 at 11:21 am #

    Wow, what a gorgeous photo! And I’d always wondered where Durango was, ever since first hearing the Bob Dylan song “Romance in Durango”, back in the 1970s! Thanks for solving that one!


    • Brian July 27, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

      Given all the Spanish verse in that song, I always thought he meant Durango, Mexico. Although he is trying to escape to Durango, and the one in CO is a pretty great place to escape to. 🙂


      • Debbie Young July 27, 2012 at 1:32 pm #

        Oh, I did wonder if there was another one! I’d always thought it sounded a hotter place too! Of course, if I’d have first heard the song nowadays, I’d have just Googled it and found out – how times have changed since my teenage Dylan days!


  4. Betty Londergan July 27, 2012 at 11:54 am #

    I love this part of the world … my favorite (and scariest) ride in Colorado is the Million Dollar Highway (it’d be a billion now) from Ouray to Silverton … I sure wouldn’t want to try it in an RV but it’s a breathtaking journey!! Have fun, you guys!!!


  5. rommel July 29, 2012 at 1:03 am #

    Cool amazing pic!


  6. rfljenksy July 30, 2012 at 6:00 am #

    They have some awesome train rides in Washington State like this one as well. My hope is to take Amtrak from Washington to New York this January.


  7. an uncommon girl July 30, 2012 at 7:32 pm #

    The song I remember as a kid, The Silverton by C.W. McCall.



  1. Getting There Is Only Half The Fun | Everywhere Once - August 8, 2012

    […] Approaching from the south, you can reach Silverton’s 9,318 mountain elevation on one of the world’s greatest train journeys. Or from the north, take one of the world’s most exhilarating drives along the Million Dollar […]


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