Those searching for a way to sit back, relax, and enjoy a tour of Colorado will love the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad tour. It takes you over historic La Veta pass which is the highest point in which standard guage crosses the Rockies, and features a stop at Fir Station with an elevation of 9,242 feet. Trains depart daily and there are a variety of treks and special events from which to choose. You can ride on a diesel or steam train and all fares are for a roundtrip ride.
The San Luis Express departs from Alamosa and moves through agricultural flatlands, colorful foot-hills, and mountains with amazing cliff-sides. Much of the area the train travels is not reachable with a car. There is a two hour stop for lunch in the park, and time to shop and browse the galleries in La Veta. You can also enjoy lunch at one of the local restaurants, or relax at one of the charming cafes. Weekends feature a reverse trip that leaves from the town of La Veta on a diesel-electric train. Riders get to spend two hours in the town of Alamosa where they can shop and dine. There are often concerts performed high in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains that can only be reached via a train ride. Schedules for the concert series can be found on the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad website.
Other train tours include Standard Gauge to Narrow Gauge with connection service with Cumbres and the Toltec Scenic Railroad. There are also Western Weekend tour that features the music of Michael Martin Murphey on his "green'' concert stage. This concert venue is run by solar and wind power, and travelers can enjoy the Grammy nominated music while enjoy the scenic views of Colorado mountains. A barbecue meal is available for an additional price. Concerts usually take place on the weekends, and they may book up fast, so schedule your attendance early.
The Winter Wonderland Express is one of the most popular rides the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad features. It runs from the beginning of January through the spring, only on Saturdays. Riders deaprt from the town of Alamosa and ride over the snowcapped mountains of La Veta. There is an hour stop and then the train returns to Alamosa in the evening. Food is available for purchase during the ride and includes soups and sandwiches, or you can grab a snack during the hour stop. There is nothing like cuddling up in the train car, watching the snowcapped mountains swoosh by while sipping a warm cup of coffee or hot chocolate. Winter Wonderland Express tours can be combined with a variety of package deals. After riding the train on Saturday, you can ski at Wolf Creek, visit the Great Sand Dunes National Park, go tubing or cross-country skiing, rent snowmobiles, or head to the Hot Springs for a bit of pampering. There are also numerous shopping and dining opportunities in town, so feel free to sleep in Sunday morning, enjoy a leisurely brunch, and then stroll down the quaint streets browsing gift shops and galleries.