Built in 1880, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is a proud remnant of the spirit that won the west. It's path through steep passes and deep gorges is the stuff of adventure novels--taking passengers on the ride of lifetime.
The excitement begins the moment the train leaves the station in Antonito, Colorado, which is about a 30-minute drive from Alamosa. Beyond the vast, open San Luis Valley, the imposing peaks of the Rocky Mountains seem to stretch forever. The train quickly covers the flat ground and reaches a series of hills. It crosses Ferguson’s Trestle, named for a man who was hung there, then climbs to a lava mesa, a remnant of the mountains’ volcanic past. From here, the route winds around wide curves, going up into the mountains. Wildlife is abundant in this area, with bears, elk, and deer roaming the forests and hawks and eagles patrolling the sky.
The Cumbres and Toltec climbs to 10,015 feet along its journey, making it the highest mountain pass reached by rail in the United States. You'll pass through white-barked, slender aspen trees, which turn yellow-gold in fall, form a light, whispery forest. Along the way, you'll see Sublette, New Mexico, an abandoned railroad town that still provides water for the steam locomotives. Shortly after, the train makes another crossing between Colorado and New Mexico state lines. It does this eleven times in total! Continuing your journey, the train will inch its way along the rim of Toltec Gorge and through Mud Tunnel, which is supported by wood beams. Around Phantom Curve, named for a spire of rock that casts a ghostly shadow, then through Rock Tunnel is a narrow ledge where the dizzying view is straight down to the rushing Rio de Los Pinos. The train roughly follows this river along much of its route.
Call 1-888-CUMBRES (1-888-286-2737) or purchase tickets online.
View their full calendar for special events and themed trains.
Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad-Explore our History, Scenery & Machinery!
Colo-Road Trip: Steam, Sand, Spaceships & Hot Springs in Alamosa, Pagosa Springs & Beyond
10 Most Instagram Worthy Spots in the San Luis Valley
36 Hours in Alamosa: Front Range Family Getaway
Why You Should Experience Colorado's San Luis Valley by Train