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“Cross an Item off your Bucket List” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and Museum

Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and Museum
479 Main Avenue, Durango, CO 81301
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Book ahead on Viator
and up
2-Night Stay in Durango with Scenic Train Ride
Ranked #1 of 59 things to do in Durango
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Hop aboard a coal-fired, steam-powered locomotive that travels along the same railroad tracks that miners, cowboys and the early settlers of the Old West used over a hundred years ago. The route winds in and out of canyons and past open wilderness affording great views. The price of a ticket also includes admission to the D&SNGRR Museum and the Silverton Freight Yard Museum.
Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
275 reviews
135 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 188 helpful votes
“Cross an Item off your Bucket List”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2014

First trip and now I understand why everyone raves about this. We had no idea how lovely this would be until we actually got underway.
We ordered our tickets online well ahead of the visit, as we were assured the train would be crowded this holiday weekend. At that time, I also bought the parking pass, to park in the train's reserved lot. Technically, this may not be necessary, but street parking is metered and enforced, and many of the nearby merchants will tow your car. The Bus Depot lot nearby also has parking, but it is the same price as the train lot.
One is asked to pick up their tickets the night before the ride, but since the willcall office closes at 6PM, this is not always possible. So we arrived early the day of and I waited and waited along with about a dozen other people for the office to open. While we waited there was an opportunity to look through the gift shop and visit the train's museum. Restrooms are also available. Unfortunately, they got off to a late start that day....
Husband stayed with the car as the parking lot for ticket pickup is separated from the one where you leave your car during the ride, and it was much too small. When we finally did get our tickets, we were early enough and the trains were empty enough that we were allowed to get on the train scheduled ahead of our reserved time. We had tickets for the open-sided car, as it was least expensive. Several types of cars are available with varying prices, including a car with costumed narrators. When we ordered the tickets, we were told that the car we wanted most, the Vista car with the glassed dome roof, would not be available. Sure enough, when we arrived, it was part of the train, but it was too late to change.
Things were getting off to a disappointing start.

Our seats were on the right going up. This was beginner's luck, as we had no way to know this. But these are the best seats to ride up to Silverton and it turned out to be a brilliant shiny day, so these were excellent.
Some words of caution. The open car gets dirty! The engine is a genuine vintage coal-fired steam engine. It makes clouds and clouds of dirty smoke and the seats and hand rails do get grimy. Wear dark durable clothing and bring some sunglasses to protect your eyes from the flying ash (and sometime water spray if the boilers generate too much pressure). If you wear contacts, this might not be the best place for them.
Each car has access to restrooms and it is possible to walk between cars to the dining car which serves a wide variety of beverages and lunch type food.
The round trip takes nine hours; each way is 45-miles and takes 3 1/2 hours with a 2-hour-15 minute stop for lunch and shopping in Silverton. Trains run this route from May to October, weather permitting. In the winter a 5-hour, 52-mile round trip to Cascade is offered. At Christmas, a Polar Express is available.
But the scenery is over the top! And that why this review gets an excellent rating! The route goes through the San Juan National Forest and follows The Animas River. There are pasture lands, campgrounds, and peaceful places. And then the tracks climb and the mountain views are up close and personal. The Animas River has places were it runs some impressive Class V rapids that even the Pros respect. There are wide flat areas, and then steep sided gorges that you can looks straight down into. There are places where the train wheels are just feet away from the water and others where you are high above it. And if you wish to do a zipline, that's available too, and a train car is reserved by the zipline company especially for their customers.
Silverton is an Old West town that builds it's schedule around train arrivals. There are lots of dining opportunities and lots of shopping. There's also an impressive Shrine to the Miners about 500-ft up into the hills behind town. Steep climb but very impressive...
There is an option to ride the train back to Durango or to take the bus, which is an additional cost. We opted for the bus (and would recommend this) as we had been warned that flying cinders were worse on the down hill ride, and my eyes were red and itchy when we arrived. The bus was delightful. The driver narrates so one learns something about the area. The route is the Million Dollar Highway and the scenery here too is quite spectacular. These are comfortable long distance buses with restrooms. We enjoyed this almost as much as the train

Visited May 2014
5 Thank Violette54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,702 reviews from our community

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Taylor, Texas
Level Contributor
25 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Already a great trip!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 4, 2014

This was my third trip on the train. It gets better each time! We sat in an open gondola car and enjoyed spectacular views and the raging river below. The kids loved it too! Tip: take the bus to SIlverton and ride the train down. You get a different perspective this way! Our bus driver was very informative on the drive over!

Visited July 2014
2 Thank karouselkid
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
22 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“A must do in Durango, but take the buss back and make sure you get a closed in car.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 3, 2014 via mobile

We had a great time riding the railroad all the way to Silverton in July. I would recommend sitting in the closed in car instead of the open cars. It ended up raining on out way back home and I was glad I was able to shut the window and keep the rain out. The scenery in so amazing. It's hard to even describe in words. My only compliant is our car attendant could have done a better job with speaking about the history of the railroad. On the way back we had a volunteer, but she was only available for questions for like 5 minutes.

Visited July 2014
1 Thank Jacob_Davidson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
24 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Choose your seat wisely”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 3, 2014

The Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad ride was awesome! What we didn't realize was that sitting on the right side going up and sitting on the left side going down would give the best views. Actually, we rode the bus up to Silverton. The bus driver gave all sorts of facts as we drove, so sit up front so you can hear. We rode the train down, and we sat on the right side of the open air gondola. The Animas River weaves so both sides get some river view, but one side gets the best view of the deep gorges. Sitting on the right side coming down did allow us to have more space to sit because few people booked that side. I loved looking at the rock formations so I was happy where I was sitting. *Bring a light jacket, a bag/backpack, camera, binoculars, snacks, and cash. The shopping in Silverton was very reasonable.*We were warned that riding the train up and down was too long.

Visited June 2014
1 Thank Wendy B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Centennial, Colorado
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2014

A must do beautiful ride friendly people the town of Silverton is quite unique . Loved Handlebars restr.

Visited June 2014
Thank 21Dixie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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