Rio Grande Scenic Railroad journeys are amazing journeys, whisking passengers off from Alamosa on three distinct and unforgettable trips around Colorado. Railroads have always been an integral part of Colorado history, and the Rio Grande scenic train has solidified the popularity of this unique way of sightseeing and celebrating special events. Set apart from other Colorado railways, like the Pikes Peak Cog Train, the Rio Grande Railroad in Colorado was one of the fastest built and most utilized of all state rails.
Launching its very first season of operation in 2006, the historic diesel engine rail cars careen over famous La Veta Pass in one of their most popular and most exciting train routes. A turn-of-the-century, completely restored steam locomotive was bought by the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad in 2007. In 2008, five dome cars and two more steam engines were added to the train family. The 1954 dome cars were once used on luxury connections between Texas, Chicago, and the Grand Canyon. Three more welcomed additions to the Rio Grande scenic train in 2009 have completed a picture of perfection for train lovers from all over.
The narrow gauge Rio Grande Railroad in Colorado features La Veta Mountaineer, which travels through from Alamosa through flatlands and foothills to steep mountains—most of which are totally inaccessible by any other mode of transportation—and ends in artsy La Veta, where a lunch break offers time for shopping, dining, and sightseeing. Heights of more than 9,000 feet are scaled with La Veta Mountaineer.
Historic Fort Garland, south of Canon City, is another stop on the Fort Garland Rio Grande Scenic Railroad. On weekends and during special events, a Rio Grande train departs from La Veta and travel across to Fort Garland by diesel electric locomotive. A couple of hours are offered to explore Fort Gardland, and to enjoy the popular, open-air music concerts held in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains (only accessible by train) during the summer months. The mountain-top concerts are top attractions bringing in award-winning musicians and thousands of music lovers.
From Alamosa to Monte Vista, which edges on the Rio Grande National Forest, the Potato Valley Explorer is another Rio Grande scenic train ride possibility. The mixed passenger/freight train is a shorter ride that careens passed a bounty of centuries-old wheat, potatoes, and barley fields. Twice-daily trips leave from the main station and layover in Monte Vista for a full hour.
The Rio Grande Railroad in Colorado also connects with the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad via the Toltec Gorge Limited which ends in Antonito and also translates to same-day service to Colorado, Osier, and even New Mexico. The San Luis Valley is the star player on this scenic ride where ranches and agrarian areas, as well as historic Spanish communities come alive by the tracks.
There are scores of Colorado hotels within all areas the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad travels through. Many visitors enjoy several train trips within their Colorado vacations, using the trains as transportation for sightseeing, both along the tracks and at all destination stops. All trains are equipped with myriad comforts, including plush seating, onboard food and drinks, well-equipped restrooms, and plenty of professional staff. From the train depot in central Alamosa, visitors have easy access to shopping, hotels, parks, pubs, restaurants, and many things to do before or after hopping the Rio Grande Railroad in Colorado.