the durango & silverton narrow gauge railroad

Posted on August 11th, 2010 by mountain girl  |  2 Comments »

Durango, Colorado is one of the sweetest little wild-west towns in southwest Colorado. It’s very much a tourist town, with lots of outdoor adventure sports kinds of things to do. It’s all about the outdoors, and you can see why.

If you’re ever out there, it’s really worth your time to do a little sight-seeing. And if you’ve got a day to spare, why not hop aboard the train? We did just that, and it was a wildly cool way to see a wildly beautiful country!

We started out early, and you really need to, since it’s an all-day excursion. We rode in an open car, and the view was incredible. I would definitely choose that again over the enclosed coaches! It was so sweet to ride on the very rim of cliffs and bluffs, and look down to the river waaaaay below.

Whooaaaaaa. It was a very Spiderman-ish feeling. I dig that.

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad came to town in 1879,  and it’s still running strong. Originally, it was built to carry gold and silver mined from the San Juan mountains; now it carries tourists, as well as workers.

See the lone yellow brick building peeking through the trees? That’s a factory, way out in the middle of nowhere, and the only way to get to it is by this vintage coal-powered locomotive. So every day, the factory workers ride out, and every night they ride back.

By train from Durango to Silverton, it takes over 3 hours, but it’s only a 45-minute drive by car.By the time we pulled into Silverton, it was pouring rain.  And freeeezing. If you visit Silverton, bring a jacket, and bring lunch. The place is downright cold,  and quite honestly, the food isn’t so hot, either. Maybe you shouldn’t go by just my experience, but I did hear stories of snowstorms in July. And you might like the food, but only if you like hamburgers.

We unashamedly did the tourist thing and bought long-sleeve shirts and a nice warm blanket for the trip home. All with Silverton emblazoned across them. And a D&SNG Railroad travel mug for Pa Lucero, just to complete the touristy feeling.

And I bought a warm pair of socks for my baby girl. Who loved every minute of her choo-choo ride, by the way. Especially hanging out to look waaaay down over those cliffs.

That’s enough to knock anybody’s socks off.

2 Responses to “the durango & silverton narrow gauge railroad”

  1. allison says on :

    beautiful. i love colorado.

  2. bill says on :

    Correction: that is not a “factory” where workers go in and out each day. That is the Tacoma power plant, a hydro power plant built in 1910 & still in operation. The manager and his wife live in the house behind it.

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