Are you and your family train enthusiasts? Do you like beautiful scenery and good food? Do you enjoy adventures close to Denver? If so, the Royal Gorge Route may be just what you are looking for…
This past June, our family took the 2-hour roundtrip train ride on the Royal Gorge train from Canon City. It’s about a 2-hour drive to Canon City from Denver so it does make for a long day. We stayed overnight in Colorado Springs for one leg to make the overall trip more tolerable for our 3-year old, oh, and for us. The length of the trip was perfect, the scenery gorgeous, the experience nostalgic, and the food delicious. We absolutely loved the adventure and highly recommend adding it to your Colorado bucket list.
A Very Brief History
The Royal Gorge route opened in 1879 and cost $11,759 (about $250,000 in today’s dollars) but service eventually ended in 1967 for a variety of reasons. The Royal Gorge historic rail line was resurrected in 1999 with the goal of creating “an entirely new Colorado experience featuring excellent food, friendly service and memorable events while sharing the most spectacular scenery in the Rocky Mountain West” (Royal Gorge Route Railroad “Signal” Publication). The route is run by a private, family owned Colorado company passionate about good food and wine.
Trips are offered year round. From the end of May until the end of October, trips are offered four times daily: 9:30, 12:30, 3:30, and 6:30. Based on our observations, the tours seemed to get more crowded as the day went on. There are several different classes of service offered including Vista Dome, Club, and Coach. The ticket price varies by class. We opted for the Vista Dome class and purchased our tickets (easily) online in advance. Vista Dome service provided us with 360-degree views, assigned seats at a table (seats are in groupings of four so we were all seated together), and table side lunch service (lunch was not included in our ticket price, but that is an option.) Food, drinks, and a full service bar are available to all classes of service. Passengers are also permitted to visit the open air car as frequently as they’d like and at any point in the trip.
One of the highlights of the tour is seeing the Royal Gorge bridge from a unique vantage point, below it! The Royal Gorge bridge is the world’s highest suspension bridge and is located at the narrowest and deepest point in the gorge. The train stops under the bridge for a few minutes for viewing and for photo opportunities. Since it was summer, we also enjoyed watching the whitewater rafters and kayakers as the train hugged the banks of the Arkansas River.
“The trip that bankrupts the English language.”
Besides the daily train trips, there are several special events offered throughout the year including a Mother’s Day Brunch, 5-Course Wine Dinner, Murder Mystery, Santa Express and New Year ‘s Eve Dinner trains.
For more information:
Visit: www.royalgorgeroute.com or call 1.888.724.5748
This article was written by Kristin Kleimann and will be appearing in a future issue of "Life in the Park" magazine.
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