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“Step back a century” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and Museum

Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and Museum
Book In Advance
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$113.42*
and up
Bus to Silverton and Train to Durango Full Day Experience
Ranked #1 of 64 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.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
97 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Step back a century”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 18, 2013

We've ridden the train 4 times now, most recently in August, 2013, either getting to or coming out from wilderness backpacking trips. The train runs from Durango to Silverton and back again, but we've always gotten on or off at the Needleton stop. Kids (and many adults, like my steam train-obsessed backpacking friend) absolutely love the puffing locomotives, the restored rail cars, even the smoke from the coal-fired engines. The train not only gives a glimpse into what travel in these mountains was like a century ago, it gives relatively easy access to some wild country. The route goes through some of the most rugged mountains in the US, and follows along the wild Animas River. Just beautiful.

Not sure on pricing, as we've always ridden one-way. I'll echo what others have said: if you really want to be in a coach car get your tickets in advance. This is a really popular activity in the area. By the day of, you might only find seats in the open coaches. I personally like these - I think the view is better - but the experience can be drafty and a bit wet if the weather is cool and/or damp. Or just take clothes for the conditions and make it all part of the adventure..

One tip if you DO ride the open cars. These engines burn coal, and there's a certain amount of soot in the smoke from the stack, which does drift back over the train at times. First time we rode the train out from a hike I was wearing a white base layer shirt. That shirt has never been white since. Dark colors hide the soot better.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank Dennis R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Grand Rapids, Michigan
Level Contributor
38 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Worth the Trip - One Way”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 17, 2013

A very well managed and packaged experience, the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway makes for a satisfying day trip if a little costly. We bought the cheapest tickets which put us in an open sided car. For those wanting to experience both indoor and outdoor aspects, this is not only less expensive but preferable. You smell the coal smoke of the engine, feel the wind and dodge the cinders, can crane out from time to time for the view, and hear the whole racket of an old railway. The trip north, which we took, is slower as it is a long climb, but that is better as it allows for longer views of the rivers and canyons. If possible sit on the 'starboard' side going up as you get most of the views there. The 'port side' also has some good moments but you can move for a look. You may stop to take on or discharge white water rafters or residents of a zipline laced resort. We saw a young woman sliding along acrobatically, which was not expected. There are toilets on board, and snacks for sale at a premium price. Bring your own water and food. Cinders will land on clothes and eyes, so do not wear your best and do wear sunglasses. Silverton is a pleasant tourist focused place, but its pleasure can be had in less than three hours. Take the bus back, as we planned, as the return trip is the same on you took up. And it costs a little less

Visited July 2013
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1 Thank W F W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fort Worth, TX
Level Contributor
36 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“What a ride!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 16, 2013

This "old timey" train trip of 3.5 hours each way north to Silverton and back to Durango is a classic gas. We bought the next to priciest seats and were delighted. Josh the onboard guide and car host is a delight with a seemingly endless knowledge of this train line, trains and Southwest Colorado. The engine is coal-fired so smoke might be a mild issue. The views up into a columbine blue sky, at puffy white summer cumulus clouds, out into the largely untouched wilderness and down, down, down into the Animas River Vally and then to the crystal green, frothing, racing Animas River as it discends thousands of feet are breath-taking. The tracks run so close to the edge of the canyon and river, that It often seems you must actually be flying. This is authentic old-timey fun well served with many modern comforts, The train is clean, sharp-looking and well-funtioning. What a ride!

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank BHorton2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lubbock, Texas
Level Contributor
96 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
“Step back in time on this historic ride to Silverton, CO!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 16, 2013

My wife rode this train more than 20 years previously and she was very excited about returning. It was my first time.

Tip #1, call weeks in advance! If you just want the coach car and don't care about seating, you can maybe get away with buying tickets the morning of. However, if you want ANY other car, make reservations well in advance. We rode up on the coach car, and rode back on the silver vista. More detail to follow.

There are four different levels of cars ranging from coach to Presidential. The coach (standard) car is an open-air gondola with bench seating and a central aisle. The coach cars are also normally placed closer to the engine and you will get some soot blown back at you. The staff anticipates this, warns you in advance, and will even sell you safety glasses on board if you like. My recommendation is to take some nice wrap around sunglasses and just enjoy the experience. It was chilly in the morning and a long sleeve shirt or a light jacket will serve you well. You will also want some kind of hat as the sun later in the day can be intense during the summer.

Next up is the "delux" car. The car we saw at this level was the Prospector car, which is often intended for families. The car is a salon-style with table and chair seating. We just passed through so I can't speak to the experience.

Up from the delux is first class which has several cars. We rode back in the Silver Vista, which is one of the first class cars. This car is also open air, but with some neat twists. Instead of a bench seat, my wife and I enjoyed a comfy leather two-person seat. The seats can also reverse and go front to back and vice versa. The sides are open and the roof is comprised of window-paned UV free glass panels which offer amazing views in every direction. We also had an attendant who not only provides free drinks, but conversation and trivia as well. We were second car from the end and thus had no blow-back soot.

Finally, the Presidental cars are so named as former U.S. Presidents rode in them. I was unable to view these and I am not even sure if there was one on our train. But they do sound amazing.

The trip is roughly three and a half hours each way. You stop several times at flag stops (hikers can "flag" down the train and purchase a ticket to ride it up or down). The train can also stop at the Tall Timber resort to drop off/pick up lodge guests. Finally, our train stopped once each way to take on additional water (it is a steam train afterall). You will have roughly a two hour window at Silverton, CO. This gives you enough time to eat, walk around, and shop.

This is a ride you simply cannot get anywhere else. You ride a train from the 1920s on tracks that were laid in the 1880s! The train takes you to a town that looks like something out of an old western. On our trip both ways we actually saw a mother moose with her calf across the river. The attendant said bear, dear, and elk sightings are also common. I will return and bring my kids.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Michael J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DFW
Level Contributor
28 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Fun trip”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 16, 2013

We did the Mild to Wild Jeep trip up in the mountains in the morning and road the Train back. It was fun just a long afternoon at 13 mph but the scenery is so breathtaking we always enjoy it. However, it's so expensive.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank destinsbest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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