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Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad in Colorado

Take a picturesque steam train trip through the American West that you will never forget

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad
Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad

Every summer a coal-fired steam engine train makes daily excursions through high mountain canyons, scenic deserts, and green meadows on the border between Colorado and New Mexico. The trip covers 102 km (64 miles) of scenery, which can only be viewed on the railroad route.

The National Historic Landmark train strikes with its Victorian elegance and historical charm. It departs every day from Cumbres, New Mexico and Antonito, Colorado, from late May through late October. Thus you can observe either blooming fields or golden forests, depending on the season.

The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad was built in 1880 to get access to the silver mining areas of the San Juan mountains in southwestern Colorado. In 1970, the railroad was purchased by the states of Colorado and New Mexico, which recognized its potential to draw tourists to the area.

Practical info

What is the best time of the year to visit Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad?

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad runs daily excursions from late May to late October, making this period the best time to visit. The surrounding areas are filled with colorful flowers or golden forests depending on the season. It is important to note that the train operates from Mondays to Saturdays, except on Sundays. To avoid disappointment, travelers are advised to plan their trip in advance and confirm schedules before making bookings. Show more

What events or festivals take place along the train route?

Several events take place along the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad route throughout the year. San Juan Mining & History Days is celebrated in August, celebrating the western history and culture of the area. Osier Station offers outdoor activities such as hiking trails with picnic areas. Additionally, there are themed trips such as Christmas Train, Wine & Rails, and other entertaining excursions. Check the official website to find out more about upcoming events. Show more

What are the most scenic parts of the rail route?

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is scenic throughout its entire route, although there are some exceptional points of interest. The climb to Cumbres Pass stands out at an elevation of 10,015 feet, providing breathtaking views of steep mountain drops and deep gorges. Passing through the Toltec Gorge by crossing the High Bridge, a steep-walled canyon is another beautiful sight. Other notable highlights include crossing the New Mexico/Colorado border, winter journeys, and other scenic views. Show more

Is it possible to hike or bike along the train route?

Hiking and biking along the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is permitted, but only on the Rio Grande National Forest lands and public lands. The route provides several different trails such the Osier Trail, offering a hike through mountain meadows and along the Rio de los Pinos river. The trails range from easy to strenuous, and when hiking, visitors should carry adequate food and water, and plan for sudden weather changes. It is advisable to check with local authorities for more information and safety tips. Show more

Are there any famous or notable landmarks visible from the train?

The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is surrounded by many notable landmarks and historic sites. In Antonito, Colorado, the train passes by a historic depot built in 1880. When traveling through the Toltec Gorge, the train crosses the High Bridge, which is one of the highest narrow-gauge railroad bridges in the country. Other notable landmarks include the Los Pinos Indian Agency Site, the old mining town site of Osier, and the abandoned section house known as Sublette. Passengers have several opportunities to capture beautiful memories of the journey by taking pictures. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin