Travel Colorado by Train

Sit back in your comfy seat and enjoy the ride

For those of us who live in the West, riding a train is a historic way to travel, and Amtrak has given it a modern twist. With one of the most beautiful transportation hubs in the United States, boarding the train in Denver's Union Station comes with many amenities.

Photo courtesy of Denver Union Station

If you fly into Denver, don’t rent a car, just catch the light rail at the airport and ride directly to Union Station. From there, you can switch to Amtrak and ride in style to two top-notch Colorado destinations: Winter Park or Glenwood Springs.

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Brumm, Winter Park Resort

It’s so easy and it’s a trip on the bucket list of lots of people in Colorado.

Jump on the Ski Train to Winter Park

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Brumm, Winter Park Resort

The ski train ran between Denver and Winter Park Resort from 1940 to 2009, and it started running again, operated by Amtrak, in 2017. We rode the train back in the mid-2000s and then again last month. On our most recent trip, we stayed overnight at The Crawford, a hotel inside Union Station that feels historic but was built just a few years ago.

With some of Denver’s finest eateries, bars, shopping and coffee shops, Union Station is not only a transportation hub but a destination unto itself.

After spending a peaceful night of sleep in a Loft Room at The Crawford, we boarded the 7 a.m. ski train to Winter Park. The ride takes two-hours and ours was filled with snowy views of the Rocky Mountains, and by snowy I mean the snow was falling hard. By the time we reached Winter Park, three inches of fresh powder had fallen that morning at the resort.

Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Brumm, Winter Park Resort

Passengers can take the ski train back to Denver the same day or make a weekend of it. We stayed at Zephyr Mountain Lodge, just feet from the train and feet from the new Winter Park Resort Gondola. We arrived at the resort on Friday and returned to Denver via the ski train on Sunday afternoon.

The Amtrak Winter Park Express, as the ski train is officially called, runs from January 4 through March 31, 2019. Tickets are $39, $49 and $59, depending on availability and whether you are booking a round-trip fare or one-way.

Catch the Train to Glenwood Springs

Photo courtesy of Amtrak

This route is a bit longer than the ski train and affords amazing views of the mountains and the Colorado River. The entire California Zephyr route runs from Chicago, Illinois to San Francisco, California, however, passengers can board at Union Station in Denver and get off in Glenwood Springs.

I’ve taken Amtrak to Glenwood Springs and back to Denver several times and it’s a unique way to get to this hot springs town that's steeped in Colorado history. You can buy an Amtrak package that includes your roundtrip train ticket plus transportation to and from your Glenwood Springs hotel. Although, if you’re staying at Hotel Denver, it’s a moot point because it’s across the street from the train station. Make your reservation on the Denver to Glenwood Springs train here.

Adding a train ride to your Colorado vacation is a delightful way to see the state without needing to drive. All you have to do it sit back in your comfy seat and enjoy the ride.

Categories: The Heidi Guide