Arrive Denver, Colorado Springs
Enjoy touring of the US Air Force Academy. Situated in the shadow of the mountains and overlooking the open spaces of the western plains, the academy is famous for its architecturally unique chapel. The aluminum, glass and steel structure features 17 spires, and was recently named “One of the most epic churches in America.”
Next, check into your hotel for a two-night stay.
Overnight at the Broadmoor Hotel (D)
Today is devoted to exploring the area around Colorado Springs. After a leisurely morning, take a short drive to Garden of the Gods for sightseeing. An abundance of plant and animal life can be found throughout its 1,340 acres, as well as the magnificent red sandstone rock formations, for which the Garden is best known.
After lunch at the Trading Post, visit the US Olympic Training Center for a guided tour and a look at what it takes to be an Olympic Athlete. The recently renovated Visitors Center provides an upgraded experience while honoring the rich heritage and enduring legacies of U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes. An interactive, digitally reimagined rotunda powered by five HD projection screens, features stirring video highlights and rotating exhibits showcasing Team USA athletes who live and train at the facility.
Next, visit a landmark of Colorado Springs, The Broadmoor. Enjoy some free time to wander the beautiful grounds, browse through the shops and to visit the Penrose Heritage Museum which features history of the area, a collection that contains 31 horse-drawn carriages including two presidential carriages and a new section with 4,000 sq. ft. of artifacts and memorabilia from the history of The Broadmoor’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
Overnight at the Broadmoor Hotel (B,L,D)
This morning board the Royal Gorge Route Railroad for a vintage train ride along the legendary Arkansas River deep within the Gorge. Amazing. In 1905, President Teddy Roosevelt described it best, “…the trip that bankrupts the English language.”
Next, travel to the historic rail town of Salida, literally in the heart of the Rockies, for a delicious home-style lunch.
This afternoon visit Great Sand Dunes National Park. The tallest dunes in North America are the centerpiece in a diverse landscape of grasslands, wetlands, conifer and aspen forests, alpine lakes, and tundra. Then arrive in Alamosa for a one night stay.
Overnight in Alamosa, CO
Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railway
This morning, “all aboard” the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, considered the finest remaining example of a once vast network of narrow gauge lines linking together the Rocky Mountain Mining Camps. This unique railroad has been called by author Lucius Beebe, “the most awesomely spectacular example of mountain railroading in North America.” Leave Antonito, Colorado and travel to Osier to enjoy lunch; then re-board your transportation and travel to the old west mining town of Durango. This 64-mile, day long trip on a coal fired steam engine is one you’ll never forget.
Overnight in Durango, CO
After breakfast, travel to nearby Mesa Verde National Park to visit the spectacular cliff dwellings where the mysterious Anasazi once lived. Known as the “Ancient Ones” to the Navajo, the Anasazi lived in the Four Corners area almost a thousand years ago, then suddenly disappeared – leaving their incredibly well-preserved dwellings to intrigue and challenge modern man. This is the nation’s largest archeological preserve with 4,000 sights including 600 cliff dwellings. A local expert will guide you through the most famous ruin sites with a stop at the Spruce Tree House Restaurant for lunch on your own.
After a fascinating tour of the park, return to Durango with the rest of the day free to explore this fun western town on your own.
Overnight in Durango, CO
Durango, Silverton Train
This morning, ride the Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, one of the last such railroads operating in the United States. “All aboard!” for a delightful trip through the Colorado Rockies between Durango and Silverton. The rugged peaks, alpine meadows, and crystal lakes take you back to the early days of the West when mountain men searched this untouched land for traces of bear and mountain lion. Upon arrival in Silverton, enjoy some free time to explore the many shops and have lunch on your own.
Meet your transportation for a scenic drive north to Grand Junction.
This evening see the fantastic monoliths of Colorado National Monument. Over the centuries, wind and water have carved sheer, walled canyons, spires, and gorges from the brilliant orange and red sandstone.
Overnight in Grand Junction and enjoy dinner this evening on your own.
Grand Junction, Denver
Depart and travel east through the Heart of the Rockies enjoying vistas of rugged canyons, pristine wilderness, and deep gorges. Cross the Continental Divide at Loveland Pass as you travel east descending once again into the “Mile High City” of Denver.
Colorado Railroad Museum
Before checking into your hotel, we’ll stop at the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden. This museum’s mission is to acquire, preserve and exhibit railroad equipment, artifacts, and photographs emphasizing Rocky Mountain area railroads. You’ll learn about the history of this region from the 1860’s to present. What a great end to our Colorado Rail Adventure.
This afternoon, check into your hotel and freshen up but and explore the area. Dinner on own.