If you love taking trips on luxury trains, the Western U.S., or both, you’re in luck.
Canadian rail company Rocky Mountaineer has expanded operations into the U.S. and now offers a route called “Rockies to the Red Rocks.” The 2-day, 1-night trips run back and forth between Denver, Colorado, and Moab, Utah.
“Vast canyons, chromatic deserts, natural archways, and enchanting hoodoos are just the beginning,” a Rocky Mountaineer blog post explains. “The train winds alongside rivers, through mountain ranges, and past ancient rock canyons as it travels between the mile-high city of Denver to the red rock formations of Moab. The rail route is filled with highlights best seen by train, including Ruby Canyon, Mount Logan, and crossing the Continental Divide.”
A Different Approach
On the first day, the train travels from Denver to Glenwood Springs. The route will gain elevation before reaching the Continental Divide. The train then passes through the Moffat Tunnel, which opened in 1928 and cuts through 6.3 miles of mountainous terrain before exiting on the other side of the Continental Divide. The train also travels along the Colorado River, offering views of canyons such as Byers Canyon and Gore Canyon.
On the second day, the train travels from Glenwood Springs to Moab. Along the way, it passes the 6,600-foot-tall Mount Garfield. Then the train travels along the 25-mile-long Ruby Canyon, named for its red sandstone cliffs. As the train approaches Moab, passengers will see stunning views of red sandstone cliffs and Arches National Park. The route may also be reversed, running from Moab to Denver.
What’s different about Rocky Mountaineer’s approach is that the train doesn’t travel through the night. Instead, it stops so passengers can get off the train, do some exploring, and sleep in a hotel.
“Our routes showcase some of the most spectacular scenery North America has to offer,” Nicole Ford, communications director at Rocky Mountaineer, said in a CNN article. “Our trains only travel during the day and feature oversized windows so guests do not miss a moment of the ever-changing landscapes.”
Something For Everyone
The Rockies to the Red Rocks itinerary offers two types of service. The standard SilverLeaf option runs $1,250 per person, while SilverLeaf Plus runs $1,645. Both include all meals and drinks, seats next to oversized glass-dome viewing windows, and an overnight hotel stay in Glenwood Springs at either the Glenwood Hotel Colorado, the Hotel Denver, or the Glenwood Hot Springs Resort.
The SilverLeaf Plus adds an additional course during meals. It also adds exclusive access to a separate lounge car with a mixologist who makes craft cocktails with premium spirits.
What’s also different is that Rocky Mountaineer encourages making trips longer than 2 days. For example, when booking, passengers can arrange extended stays at the origin and destination.
The rail company also offers package options for add-on tours, activities, and hotel stays in Denver and Moab. That way it’s easy to make side trips to visit Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, Bryce Canyon, Lake Powell, Salt Lake City, and of course, Las Vegas.
You can find all the details about the various packages here.
Know Before You Go
This is the first season for the Rockies to the Red Rocks route, which began this month and will end on November 18. A 7-month season is currently planned for 2022.
Per guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, passengers must wear a face mask while onboard the train. Masks may only be removed while passengers are eating or drinking.
You can find more health and safety information here.
For more on traveling by train, be sure to also read all of our Rail and Sightseeing coverage.