Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

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I did this trip about 10 years ago – it is every bit as spectacular as the article indicates. There are a few stops along the way: to drop off/pick up hikers, and at an amazing zipline. Silverton is small enough to explore in the two hours you have there; there are lots of un-tacky tourist-oriented shops and some good restaurants.

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Durango and Silverton Railroad

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The other narrow gauge train in this area is the Cubres-Toltec Railroad that runs between Chama NM and Antonito CO. The railroad crosses the Colorado and New Mexico State line several times. The ride starts in Chama, with a stop in Osier CO for a nice buffet lunch, and when the train ride ends in Antonito you get a nice coach bus ride back to Chama. The scenery is breathtaking. The only thing that caused us to stop on our trip was cattle on the tracks, but they were encouraged to finish crossing and we were on our way.

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The Cubres and Toltec Railroad referenced above is a much better choice for out-of-the-way, uncivilized scenery. Where the D&S has to fight its way out of Durango by crossing paved parking lots and people’s backyards, the Cubres has a much more remote, frontier feel to it. Also on the Durango and Silverton, the train travels most of its journey with the river on one side and a blank wall of rock on the other. Chose the wrong seat and you will be disappointed. There are also more options for traveling on the C&T (half day, full day, one-way). At one time the two railroads were connected, so the C&T travels on the same historic rails.

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It’s already been added.

And before the Durango Silverton.

One of the coolest things you can do is ride the train half way to Needle Creek and backpack up into the basin. We did this as a family backpacking trip. You can set your base camp in the basin and do day hikes up to each of three peaks. Streams run throughout so you don’t need to haul your own H2O. Be sure you are well provisioned as the area is only accessible by the train or helicopter. Don’t miss the train or you will have to spend an extra night. The train food isn’t very enticing on the way in, but after four days of dehydrated camp meals the hotdogs and nachos are irresistible.

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