If you are looking to explore Colorado like miners once did, the only option you even want to think about is taking a train through the picturesque mountains. But not just any train. The Royal Gorge Railway has been in action since 1879, chugging over 100,000 passengers though the canyon every year, alongside the Arkansas River.
Travelling along the Rio Grande and Denver railroads, Colorado’s finest steamliner makes for a wonderful adventure for all of the family. Aboard the oldest scenic locomotive in the state, you will witness the cascading waters of the Arkansas River as you meander further into the granite cliffs that form the Royal Gorge.
Recently named one of the Top 8 Train Rides in the USA by Trains magazine, the Royal Gorge railway route has been building its superior reputation for many years. Dating back to when travel was purely a leisurely affair and services were divided up into classes, in only a few centuries the area has been substantially developed.
Seeing battles be fought, explorers lose their way and countless lives lost to mining, the Royal Gorge railroad has an interesting history. Initially constructed to accommodate the silver mining industry in the mountainous regions of Colorado, it took the greatest engineering minds of the time to figure out how to carve a way through the perilous cliffs.
Running since its construction, you will be pleased to know that the railway has been somewhat restored since its first days in operation, though it still maintains its mid-century charm and character. Once onboard, you have the option to try out an open topped car; feeling the rush of the fresh Colorado air over your skin, with impressive 360 degree views to behold.
One of the highlights of the journey is undoubtedly the Royal Gorge suspension bridge. Constructed in 1929 for a cost of $350,000, which is $25 million in today’s money, the bridge is something of an engineering masterpiece. Stretching 1,260 feet across the gorge, the bridge is still in use today and at an impressive 955 feet above the ground, it is one of the highest bridges in the world. On your travels, you will also want to keep your eyes peeled for bighorn sheep, bald eagles and an array of other wildlife that make their homes in the area.
Whilst on board, you will have access to fresh and delicious food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. With cuisine perfectly complimenting your location and a fully stocked bar service providing a selection of local wines, brews, alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages, the service on board the Royal Gorge Railroad is simply splendid. Many of the meals on board are made with organic ingredients as much as practically possible, with all of the meat and vegetables used in dishes on board being locally sourced.
The train runs March through December.If you’re on a budget, book the cheapest ticket and spend time in the open-air car, which is accessible to everyone, the adventure will be absolutely incredible Make sure you bring a jacket because it can get chilly in the winter. In the summer, don’t forget the sunscreen .