The railway through the Royal Gorge was built in 1879. Trains still run along this route including dinner and sightseeing trains. The entire journey on the dinner or lunch train is 24 miles. The train leaves from Canon City, Colorado traveling along the river that served to carve out the Gorge in early history. Red rock walls, sparse pines and other plants will dot the country side as one moves through the gorge on the train.
The Royal Gorge Route Railroad has six classes of services for every budget. The route opens in March each year, closing for the wintry months. Travel during winter is too dangerous with the older trains along the route. Royal Gorge is 2 hours from Denver and 45 minutes from Colorado Springs. To grab a train trip one must book online or visit the welcome center. The welcome center is where one catches the train. It is important to get there an hour before the train departs to pick up tickets and get ready to depart. The center also offers information on the bridge, white water rafting, and accommodations in the area. It is even possible to take a tour of the Dinosaur Depot Museum while in the area.
When silver was found in the Arkansas miners felt it necessary to have a railroad to help them move their equipment, selves, and the silver they found. After the war between the two railroads the Santa Fe was able to move from Pueblo to Leadville. The gorge was an obstacle they eventually had to go through in order to make it work. The gorge is very steep on both sides, making it dangerous to walk up and down. In 1967 passenger service ended on the railway, and eventually the tracks were turned over to tourism.
Tickets are based on what type of ride a visitor wishes to take. Coach class is $33 for adults and $22 for children. The concession car offers food for the trip if need be. This section of the train is just filled with passenger seats. The vista dome offers more. Adult tickets are $58 and children 3-12 are $47. In this area one has a dome of glass overhead so one can look out and up to see the views of the gorge. It is also part of the breakfast, lunch, and dinner offerings. If visitors want a meal they will pay $65 for adults and $45 for children in the dining car for lunch. The dome is $95 for adults and $75 for children. A 3 course lunch is served with salad and dessert as part of the meal. The entree is chicken, pork, salmon or the vegetarian option. Dinner is $79 or $109 for the dome. Salad, dessert and a choice of entree is offered. The entrees are prime rib, salmon, shrimp or vegetarian. Wine can be purchased, as well as other beverages. There is also a murder mystery train for $110 per person. Often when the train only has enough for one car during dinner they will move everyone into the Dome.