All Aboard! Scenic train rides part of summer trip to Colorado

By Becky Fitzgerald on March 7, 2013
  • The highest mountain pass reached by rail in the United States
  • The Million Dollar Highway, with spectacular views around every curve
  • The World’s Greatest Gold Camp

The attractions listed above are just a few that await Meadowlark Hills Travelers this summer as we escape the Kansas heat and journey to Colorado. There are more than 100,000 square miles to explore in our nation’s eighth largest state, but from July 13 to 20, we’ll concentrate our efforts in the south central and southwest regions. Our Arrow Stage Lines coach will take us to Colorado Springs, west to Cripple Creek and over the Continental Divide to Palisade and south through “The Switzerland of America” to Silverton and Durango. After a guided tour at Mesa Verde National Park, west of Durango, we head southeast to Chama, N.M., experiencing Toltec Gorge, Rock Tunnel and Phantom Curve, as we leisurely make our way north, back to Colorado Springs.

The scenery outside our bus windows promises to prompt much picture-taking, but we’ll get off the beaten path when we hop aboard two narrow gauge trains, both of which regularly receive rave reviews on With the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, travelers experience a coal-fired, steam-powered locomotive that travels along the same railroad tracks that miners, cowboys and the early settlers of the Old West used more than a hundred years ago. After lunch and time to shop in Silverton, we’ll ride the train from Silverton to Durango.

A couple of days later, our group will traverse 64 miles of unparalleled scenery on the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, climbing from Chama to the dining hall at Osier and on to our final terminal. (Lunch is included!) We will sense the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains as our train is handled by sure-footed locomotives and able crews through tunnels, above deep gorges and over Cumbres Pass.

A hallmark of any Meadowlark Travelers trip is the variety of sight-seeing and learning opportunities offered, and this adventure is no different. Other attractions include an in-depth tour of an active, open pit gold mine and a brothel museum visit in Cripple Creek; an alpaca farm tour and wine-paring dinner at Palisade; a guided tour of Mesa Verde National Park; the Bar D Chuckwagon Dinner and Show; an overnight stay at Monte Vista Movie Manor Motel, where guests may watch a “drive-in” movie from the comfort of their motel rooms, and a tour of the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

Adding value to this trip is the service of a tour guide who will be with our group during our time in Colorado. He or she will meet us in Colorado Springs and offer education and insight throughout our journey. On previous trips, travelers often ask Becky questions about what’s out the window, and she must “Google it” to get the answers. The guide should be able to take Google’s place this time.

Tour package includes:

  • Seven night's accommodations (luggage service): three nights at Drury Inn Colorado Springs, Wine Country Inn in Palisade, Best Western Plus Rio Grande Inn in Durango and Movie Manor Motel in Monte Vista
  • Seven breakfasts, six lunches, two dinners
  • Admission to all attractions, fares for railroads and park fees
  • Guided tour of Mesa Verde, including gratuity
  • Colorado guide, including gratutity

Cost is $1,715 per person based on double occupancy, or about $214 daily. Keep in mind, the rate includes lodging, transportation, many meals, all attractions and a knowledgeable guide. The rate for singles is $2,215. A $250 deposit is required with registration, and may be paid by check, Visa or Mastercard. Meadowlark residents also may have trip fees applied to their monthly statements. A minimum of 30 paid travelers are required to obtain the quoted price. Becky Fitzgerald and Amanda Rall plan to serve as co-leaders.

Please register in the Blue Book. Questions? Please contact Becky at 323-3802 or Amanda at 323-3801.