There's something inherently romantic and exciting about trains.

Beyond being a beloved symbol of the wild West, railroad tracks provide some of the most unique paths through Colorado's beauty today with views that can't always be seen from road trips.

The Pikes Peak Cog Railway made its first trip in 1891 and travels above timberline, or the point at which trees no longer grow and passes through a natural mountain gateway known as "Hell Gate."

Or just 50 minutes outside of Denver travelers can try the Georgetown Loop Railroad and enjoy a wine and d'oeuvres ride, a barbecue or moonlight dinner train. Other trains like the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad have historical options like the Native American Heritage Train, murder-mystery rides, panoramic views with glass-domed cars and special holiday train rides.

As the Colorado Tourism Office puts it: "Riding these railroads is akin to eating potato chips — one is never enough. Prepare to make some tough decisions when choosing your rides."

See our picks for the best train rides in Colorado below.
Did we miss your favorite? Let us know in the comments section below!


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  • Georgetown Loop Railroad

    Venture just 50 minutes out of the city to Georgetown for an hour-long mountain view ride. This summer the Georgetown Loop has a wine and d'oeuvres train, steak and lobster train, BBQ train and a moonlight in the mountains dinner train. <em>When: Daily, <a href="" target="_hplink">times differ</a> Where: Departs from Silverplume Cost: $25.50 a ticket. Call 1-888-456-6777 for tickets or <a href="" target="_hplink">purchase them online</a>.</em>

  • Royal Gorge Railroad

    Take a 24-mile, 2-3 hour ride on the Royal Gorge Railroad. The railroad has wine and dinner trains, murder mystery dinners--complete with actors--and Santa Express Trains in winter. One of the railroad's best features is a 1950's vista dome car and an open air car (pictured) that offers unparalleled canyon views. <br> <em>When: Daily, <a href="" target="_hplink">please see the calendar for details</a>. Where: Canon City Price: $35+ (<a href="" target="_hplink">Please click here for more pricing details</a>) For reservations please call 888.724.5748 or 719.276.4000, or <a href="" target="_hplink">purchase tickets online</a>. </em>

  • Pikes Peak Cog Railway

    Appearing almost more like a mountain roller coaster than a train, Pikes Peak Cog Railway is built for steep inclines. In fact it's called a "cog railroad" because the wheels are cogs fit into a track, much like the wheels turning a clock, to get it over the 14,114 feet of Pikes Peak. The scenic ride is 8.9 miles up and just over 3 hours long round-trip. <br> <em>When: <a href="" target="_hplink">Year-round</a> Where: Base of Pikes Peak Price: Children $19, adults $35 </em> <em>Image <a href="" target="_hplink">via Facebook</a>.</em>

  • Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

    The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad has been in operation for over 130 years. The railroad just opened an open-air car in June called the "Knight Sky" to give riders panoramic views of the Animas River Canyon and San Juan Mountains.<br> <em>When: <a href="" target="_hplink">Year-round</a> Where: <a href="" target="_hplink">Durango to Silverton</a>, 45 miles at 18mph Price: <a href="" target="_hplink">$49+ for children, $83+ for adults</a></em> <em>Image <a href="" target="_hplink">via Facebook</a>. </em>

  • Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad

    Take a train in the highest incorporated city in America. The two-and-a-half hour train has untamed views of the Arkansas River, the San Isabel National Forest, Freemont Pass, Mt. Massive and Mt. Elbert. Organizers say well-behaved pets are even allowed aboard. <br> <em>When: <a href="" target="_hplink">June 16 - August 17, and August 18 - October 9 weekdays</a>. Where: Leadville Price: Children $20, Adults $35, Engine Seats $40, Caboose $30</em> <em>Image <a href="" target="_hplink">via Facebook</a>. </em>

  • Cumbres & Toltec Railroad

    Built in 1880, the Cumbres & Toltec Railroad claims to be America's highest and longest coal-fired, steam-operated, narrow gauge railroad. The regular route travels from Antonito, Colorado to Chama, New Mexico with a break or turn around point in Osier. <a href="" target="_hplink">Special trains</a> include the Cinder Bear Express, geared more towards children and the Moonlight Dinner Train for all to enjoy. <br> <em>When: May 26- October 21 departing at 10 a.m., 7 days a week Where: <a href="" target="_hplink">Antonito, CO and Chama, NM</a> Price: $78+ (<a href="" target="_hplink">click here to book tickets</a>) Call 888-286-2737 to book a special train. For July, you can use BTH 2012 </em>