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“C&TSRR...a real gem”

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad
Ranked #1 of 7 things to do in Antonito
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Built in 1880 and little changed since, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is the finest and most spectacular example of steam era mountain railroading in North America. Its equipment, structures and vast landscape exist today as if frozen in the first half of the 20th century. USA Today readers voted Cumbres & Toltec the Best Scenic Train Ride in America. Climb aboard this National Historic Landmark for a 64-mile day trip you’ll never forget. Our coal-fired steam engine carries you through steep mountain canyons, high desert, and lush meadows as you zig zag between the Colorado and New Mexico border. Open your eyes to spectacular and rare Western scenery which can only be viewed from this train’s unique route. Ride in the Victorian elegance of our deluxe parlor car or choose the budget-friendly coach car. Either way, a delicious buffet lunch is included. Trains depart daily from Chama, NM and Antonito, CO, from late May’s blooming wildflowers through the golden leaves of October.
Reviewed July 30, 2014

We took the Cumbres & Toltec train from Antonito to Chama, and returned by bus, a highly recommended option of the several they have. We had seats in the Tourist class car. Perfect choice. We were served complimentary non-alcoholic drinks and snacks in a very relaxing club car environment. Our hostess from Antonito to Osier was very friendly and informative, pointing out many things of interest. At Osier there was a crew change and the new hostess seemed a bit overwhelmed with her job.

The ride itself is spectacular, after a few miles of relatively flat San Luis valley scenery, we enjoyed canyons, steep gorges and forests on the way up to Osier. From Osier down to Chama the scenery is different, not as spectacular perhaps but very lush. Overall, the best scenery is on the left side of the train (heading from Antonito) so consider this when reserving seats.

The steam engine huffs and puffs along using (we were told) 4 tons of coal for the total trip, all shoveled by the fireman and engineer. The train goes through a lot of large rock cuts where you can easily reach out and touch the walls, going slowly to prevent vibration from loosening rocks that could fall on the tracks (or train!). After a lunch stop at Osier the train climbs to Cumbres Pass and from there goes down to Chama with the engineer riding the squealing brakes on a steep, miles-long descent.

At Osier, they served us a pretty good lunch in record time considering the size of the crowd. The lunch choices are turkey or meatloaf, both served with all the trimmings, and soup/salad bar. I had the turkey and my wife had the soup/salad bar. The turkey was very good, but I'm not big on canned green beans and the turkey dressing was not very good. The salad bar was very complete and fresh. All lunches came with good desserts from a self-serve bar. It would have been nice to have had a menu before we left Antonito from which to make our choices.

I spent most of the time in the open-air car taking pictures. This requires a tolerance for smoke and some cinders. If you are planning to spend most of your time outside in the open air car, don't spend the extra bucks for Tourist or Parlor class. But, in our case, my wife enjoyed conversing with others in the Tourist class car while I was outside.

Arriving in Chama we boarded a very nice 21st century Volvo bus that left promptly for the 1 hr +/- trip back to Antonito. There we boarded the waiting Rio Grande Scenic Railway train for a leisurely trip back to Alamosa. Also highly recommended. A great day!

8  Thank Thomas L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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178 - 182 of 380 reviews

Reviewed July 21, 2014

We rode the train from Chama to the top and had lunch several years ago. Had a good time but I do think if we do it again we would take the bus back down. Really were tired by the time we got back to the a RV. The scenery was great going up. The lunch we had was really good. We go back through Chama every year going to Bayfield.

3  Thank Karen L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 17, 2014

If you are like my husband (who loves trains) this trip is for you. I like trains and train rides, but 5 hours was a bit much for me. The scenery is incredible and the stop for lunch was yummy! They offer a Turkey or Meatloaf dinner with all the fixin's. Definitely where glasses or sun glasses as the coal pieces from the train to start to fly around. You don't want to get anything in your eyes. I would dress down a little bit because you may get some coal dirt on your clothes. There are volunteers that can answer any questions and there is a flushable toilet and sink on the train (which was very nice). They also have a dining car with sodas, water, snacks, and popcorn (which you buy) which was really nice. Stay clear of the coffee though, not very good.

If you have kids, this may be a little long for them, so make sure you bring stuff for them to do. All the kids I saw on the train really looked like they were having a good time.

This train goes through tunnels and over trestles big and small. We really had a good time.

8  Thank Lisa K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 15, 2014

Wonderful way to experience the history of steam engine locomotive travel. Spend the extra money and travel in the Parlor car from Chama to Antonito. Best to sit on the right hand of the car. Excellent lunch is served at Osier (half way) as part of the ticket cost. Have the Meatloaf lunch. The Turkey dinner lunch is good also. Great desserts ! You ride back to Chama on a custom bus after arriving in Antonio after 6 hours on the rail. Best scenery is between Chama and Osier. Do this trip !

7  Thank Steven H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 12, 2014

Absolutely loved the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. Went in the middle section that had tables and chairs and allowed children. We each received our own tumbler for drinks and made a nice souvenir to take home too. We spent about 1/2 of our time outside listening to the tour guide explain everything! The scenery was beautiful! The lunch was outstanding. Real home cooking and great service. Highly recommend this trip to anyone!

3  Thank Jennifer E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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