Like many towns in Colorado, Leadville boasts a mining history. Riding the railroad means enjoying views of the alpine valley terrain at the base of the state's highest peaks. You will enjoy the ride but also enjoy learning about the working class history of the mining town. Known as North America's highest incorporated city, the rails run along several of Colorado's original railroads like the Old Denver, the South Park & Pacific, and the Southern lines. This journey winds past panoramic views, over the Arkansas River Valley, and features historical lessons.
The basic ride lasts for 2 1/2 hours and takes riders through the San Isabel National Forest. Children of all ages will enjoy the locomotive fun that teaches the history of Leadville. Most riders will recognize a few of the famous faces hailing from Leadville including the unsinkable Molly Brown, Augusta and Baby Doe Tabor, the Guggenheims, and Doc Holiday.
You will rise 1,000 feet off of the valley floor during your ride and enjoy views of the Freemont Pass and two of Colorado's tallest peaks, Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive. There are ghost stores, tales of the wild west, and historic railroad lessons to enjoy while you and your family chug to the top. Riders also get to meet the train's engineer and tour the caboose and the engine. Fall is a great time to ride the rails through the bright fall colors. You can even pack a picnic lunch and eat during the train ride, and then enjoy snapping pictures at the top of the track.
A variety of special events are planned throughout the year for riders. The WildFlower Special train ride happens in July and August and allows riders to enjoy alpine flower beds during the peak of their bloom. Riders are provided with a box lunch and they are invited to dine on the lawn of the Healy House Museum. Guests are encouraged to enjoy the heritage gardens and photograph the lovely gazebo that creates a frame for Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive. The trainride cost is $40 and for an additional $15.00 riders can enjoy a guided tour of the Healy House Museum and James Dexter's cabin.
Photo Special rides are held in September at the peak of the fall colors season. The ride includes additional routes and guests are strongly encouraged to bring their cameras. You will have a chance to disembark and photograph the landscapes. The cost of this fall foliage tour is the same as the regular train ride, which is $32.50 for adults and $19.50 for children. Night Ride Specials are also available and include a BBW dinner. This is a two-hour ride with a cost of $60 per adult and $30 per child. Riders can upgrade to the engine for $35 or the caboos for $25.
There are numerous train rides all over the country, but only in Leadville can you combine the excitement of a locomotive ride with lessons about the mining history of Leadville. This is a great opportunity for people of all ages.