Royal Gorge Route Railroad
See Colorado from a different perspective and experience the beauty of the Royal Gorge on the Royal Gorge Route Railroad.
The Railroad's service transports you back to the time when travel was an elegant and leisurely affair, which has earned the Royal Gorge Route Railroad its reputation as the premier railroad in the country and inclusion in Trains magazine's recent list of America's Top Trains.
What is the Royal Gorge Route Railroad?
The Royal Gorge Route Railroad traverses the narrows of the Royal Gorge deep within the granite cliffs that soar more than 1,000 feet above the tracks. Inheriting a storied history that dates back to 1879, this is Colorado's oldest and most famous streamliner. The Royal Gorge Route Railroad runs year-round and is the best way to experience stunning scenery and history of the region - all while enjoying a 24-mile round-trip journey in comfort and style.
This is Colorado's first and only full-service railroad dining experience. The Royal Gorge Route Railroad features beautifully restored mid-century coach, dining, bar and lounge, and dome cars with luxurious seating. Take in the panoramic views from your seat or the open-air car. Full bar and extensive, well-curated wine list always available. Top excursions include Vista Dome, Dinner, Murder Mystery Dinners and holiday family events like Mother's Day Brunch, Oktoberfest and Santa Express Train.
Since 1998, the passenger train, now known as the Royal Gorge Route Railroad, has been resurrected to create a unique tourism experience. But the life of this grand rail line goes back much further than that.
The beginning of the railroad: In the late 1870’s minors embarked on a journey west in search of lead and silver. Feverish mining activity in the area gained attention from both the Denver & Rio Grande and the Santa Fe railroads. Both crews battled for control over a region rich in resources and continued building tracks, each trying to establish their primacy to the right of way. This led to an all out railroad war in the old west and an injunction from a local court restraining the Santa Fe from operating the D&RG in June 1879, sparked an armed retaking of their railroad by D&RG crews. A final peace in the war came with the “Treaty of Boston” after the intervention of the Federal courts. which settled all litigation, and gave the D&RG control of the railroad.
The beginning of passenger services: The first passenger train arrived at Salida in 1880 and in 1882 the Royal Gorge route became a transcontinental rail link between Denver and Salt Lake. During the 1890’s, four transcontinental passenger trains a day passed through the Royal Gorge.
Royal Gorge Route Railroad Today
In the 1908’s Southern Pacific railroad took over the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad (D&RGW) and then in 1996 the Union Pacific (UP) Railroad acquired D&RGW. Part of the inherited rail line was the original D&RGW mainline constructed in the 1870s and 80s. From there the UP decided portions of the railway were no longer needed. However, the state opposed abandoning those parts and instead developed a bidding process that would select a private operator to construct a private train operation through the gorge. And with that the Royal Gorge History reached its new life as the reestablished The Royal Gorge Route Railroad in the fall of 1998.
The Royal Gorge Route Railroad carries more than 200,000 guests through Colorado’s Royal Gorge each year. Visitors can take in the majestic views by railway in one of the premier train cars.
Depending on your desired experience, passengers are able to choose from a variety of seating arrangements while riding the train. Take comfort in the dome car for unbeatable panoramic views, ride in an open-air car for an up-close-and-personal experience, relax comfortably in the coach or deluxe class cars, or choose one of the first-class dining cars for an unforgettable meal. There’s even the opportunity to ride with the engineer while they share fascinating facts and first-hand stories about the Royal Gorge and its historic Route through the Colorado Rockies.
You don’t need a special occasion to take a Royal Gorge train ride but throughout the year, special holidays are met with special experiences aboard the Royal Gorge Route.Treat that special someone to a memorable ride with a multi-course, locally sourced meal and 2-hour excursion on the Mother’s Day, Easter, and Valentine’s Day trains. Stocked bars are open throughout the journey, so pair up your experience with your favorite wines, micro brews and cocktails.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long is the Royal Gorge Route Railroad?
Scenic rides typically last 1.5-2 hours during morning and afternoon daily departures. Evening departures are about 2.5-3 hours round trip. Passengers travel from Canon City to Parkdale, Colorado, beneath the Royal Gorge suspension bridge.
When does the train depart?
There are four departures daily throughout the year, starting at: 9:00 AM, then at: 12:30 PM, 3:30 PM and 6:30 PM. Check the schedule for special events and departure changes.
How much does it cost to ride the Royal Gorge train?
Prices range from $79 to $249 depending on the experience. Check ticket prices for details.
Is food included on the Royal Gorge train?
When you book a First Class Lunch or First Class Dinner ticket, a three-course dining experience is included in the price of your ticket. When you book Vista Dome, Deluxe or Coach, food is not included; however you can order from the menu on the train. You can ride without eating or you can order just drinks or snacks.
Is there parking?
Free parking is available adjacent to the Santa Fe Depot.
An adventure aboard the Royal Gorge Route Railroad will always include top-notch service, an exquisite culinary experience, and breathtaking scenery departing daily from the Santa Fe Depot in Canon City.
Group Information: Special rates for groups or 20 or more are available. For more information call 719-276-4000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your travel plans.
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