The United States will see a boost in tourism along three states this year.
As of August 15, passengers can book a train ride on one of Western Canada’s most-decorated luxury scenic train lines, the Rocky Mountaineer. The train line will allow passengers to travel on two-day, one-night trips back and forth between Denver, Colorado, and Moab, Utah.
This ambitious route is titled Rockies to the Red Rocks, and will take passengers through several regions of Colorado before making its way to Southern Utah.
On its inaugural run this past week, the Rocky Mountaineer barreled through the Colorado River and through natural canyons with steep rugged walls. For two days, passengers were able to witness the US’s vast mountain vistas, deserts, and rock formations from the comfort of their seats. Passengers spent the night at Glenwood Springs, Colorado.
“Our routes showcase some of the most spectacular scenery North America has to offer,” said Nicole Ford, communications director at Rocky Mountaineer. “Our trains only travel during the day and feature oversized windows so guests do not miss a moment of the ever-changing landscapes.”
A Typical Trip
To better put the trip into perspective, a passenger can begin their route in Denver, at the Union Pacific Rail yard at 9 a.m. From there, the train sets off for an eight-hour, 175-mile ride to Glenwood Springs. Passengers can wave goodbye at the skyscrapers and city views.
Then, the train will begin its descent into the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains via the famous “”Big 10 Curve.” Built in the early 1900s, this switchback was made to help trains climb steep hills. There are two dozen rail cars filled with cement permanently parked alongside the track to act as a wind block.
After that, you will find the Moffat Tunnel. It cuts through the Continental Divide at 9,239 feet above sea level to the base of the Winter Park Ski Area.
From there, you’ll reach the mighty Colorado River Watch and witness the ranch lands, valleys, and a series of canyons. The trip will culminate with a ride through Glenwood Canyon.
This sixteen mile stretch of road and track goes through walls that rise to more than 1,300 feet tall. It leads to Glenwood Springs, where you’ll stay the night, be able to explore its downtown area, and soak in a hot spring.
From there, travel between Glenwood Springs and Moab for 194 miles (approximately five hours). The focus of the trip that day will be Colorado’s Western Slope and its transition from high alpine forests to red rock cliffs and canyons.
Pass through the small town of Palisade, home to the Palisade Fruit & Wine Byway, with more than 30 wineries and about two dozen peach orchards butted up against the Book Cliffs. From there, it’s 25 miles through Ruby Canyon and its red sandstone cliffs. The train then crosses into Utah, and the Rocky Mountains give way to the expansive desert that leads into Moab.
Ample Food Options
This luxury scenic train has its own unique operations, food and beverage program and luxury-focused service, which make it a model service within the scenic train industry. Each row within the — is treated as an eat-at-your-seat restaurant which includes personalized service, scheduled meals and drinks on demand.
The menu includes short ribs braised with beer from Epic Brewing, charcuterie boards made with Colorado bison, elk and venison, seasonal vegetables from Colorado growers and desserts from Aspen Baking Company. The meals are prepared from locally sourced ingredients found in the areas the train passes through.
Wine is sourced from California and Oregon, however the beer is sourced from Denver. The railroad line says it will continue to develop the menu as more partnerships are formed.
Passengers wishing to eat onboard the train will have two options to choose from: SilverLeaf ($1,250 per person) and SilverLeaf Plus ($1,645). Both plans include meals and drinks along with an overnight stay at Glenwood Springs (either the Glenwood Hotel Colorado, the Hotel Denver or the Glenwood Hot Springs Resort). The plus option allows an additional course and access to a separate lounge with a mixologist.
The inaugural season for Rockies to the Red Rocks will run through November 19. The 2022 season will be extended to seven months and begin next spring.