Your Guide to the Durango & Silverton Scenic Train Ride in 2021

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Your Guide to the Durango & Silverton Scenic Train Ride in 2021


Durango & Silverton scenic round-trip train ride in Colorado is a popular trip embarking on a journey through the beautiful San Juan Mountains. The train journey offers incredible scenic views such as Horseshoe Curve, High Bridge, and all of the Animas River Gorge giving you an unforgettable Rocky Mountains experience. 

There's a lot to understand including whether to ride the steam train or the diesel train, how-to book, which seat that offers the best view, how much does it cost, etc. 

In this post, I'll try to walk you through these most commonly had questions about Durango & Silverton Scenic Train Excursion.

Everything About Durango & Silverton Scenic Train Ride
Photo Credit: Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

Table of Contents  [show/hide]

    Steam Train Vs Diesel Train 

    Durango and Silverton scenic train excursion offers two types of train ride experiences: 
    • The Silverton Steam Train 
    • The Silverton Diesel Train

    Both trains go through the same rail route so you can expect incredible scenic views on either train. The Steam train is more popular because of the historical background behind it. It also offers more classes of service, so this excursion tends to sell out quicker than the Diesel train's excursion. Otherwise, the only difference between the two trains really is the locomotive that pulls the train. 

    I suggest that you go with the train that works best for your time and party in your group because these trains' tickets can sell out quickly and advance seat assignments are required so there's a chance you would not be able to sit together. Be flexible, plan in advance and you'll be fine.

    How long is Durango & Silverton train ride?

    The train ride from Durango depot to Silverton town takes approximately 3 and half hours each way. The train takes you up into the Rocky Mountains on your way to the historical mining town of Silverton. You have two hours to spend in Silverton before going back to Durango if you are doing the round-trip excursion. 

    Durango & Silverton Train Schedule

    Below is the schedule for departure and arrival information available from May 22 - October 31, 2021. The information is obtained from Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad's official website. 

    The Silverton Steam Train Schedule
    • Depart Durango at 9:00am and arrive in Silverton at 12:30pm
    • Depart Silverton at 2:45pm and arrive in Durango at 6:15pm

    The Silverton Diesel Train Schedule
    • Depart Durango at 8:00am and arrive in Silverton at 11:30pm
    • Depart Silverton at 1:45pm and arrive in Durango at 5:15pm

    How much does it cost to ride the Durango & Silverton train?

    A round-trip ticket for Durango to Silverton scenic train ride starting from $99 per adult and $65 per child (under 4 years old) depending on the class of service you choose (more below). 

    The Diesel train ticket is $5 cheaper, so the cheapest class of service ticket costs $94 per adult and $60 per child. 

    The Silverton Steam Train Ticket Fare
    • Standard Class:
      • Coach: $99/adult and $65/child. 
      • Open-Air Gondola: $104/adult and $70/child. 
    • Deluxe Class: $124/adult and $119/child. 
    • First Class: $194/adult and $189/child. 

    The Silverton Diesel Train Ticket Fare
    • Standard Class:
      • Coach: $95/adult and $60/child. 
      • Open-Air Gondola: $99/adult and $65/child. 
    • Deluxe Class: $119/adult and $115/child. 
    • First Class: $194/adult and $194/child. 

    Classes of Service  

    Standard Class
    • Coach: Similar to economy class plane seat. 
    • Open-Air Gondola: Open-air bench-style seating facing out. 

    Deluxe Class
    Deluxe Class includes a Durango & Silverton tote bag souvenir. 
    • Historic San Juan Coach: Enclosed coach features reversible and overstuffed seating in a wide three-across arrangement. 
    • Deluxe Legend: Enclosed coach features large windows and face-to-face plush generously sized overstuffed seating. 

    First Class
    All first-class and presidential class cars come with the same amenities such as an onboard attendant, unlimited non-alcoholic beverages, morning pastry, souvenir mug, and one tote bag per couple/group. 
    • Silver Vista: Open-air glass-domed car offers oversized seats with the most legroom and a private outdoor viewing platform. 
    • Knight Sky: Leather seats. UV-protected glass-paneled roof with a closed vestibule that boasts the largest viewing platform. During late spring and summer, the Knight Sky’s windows are removed for you to enjoy an open-air experience in this car.  
    • Yankee Girl: Old-fashioned flair woodwork table and chair style seating. 
    • Prospector: Comfortable table and chair-style seating. 
    • Alamosa Parlor Car: This car features a table and chair lounge-style seating. It also comes with a private outdoor viewing platform.
    • Red Mountain: Upscale coach features comfortable table and chair-style seating.

    For more details on Classes of Service description and photos, please go to Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Official Website

    Which side of the Durango train is best?

    If you are taking Durango & Silverton train round-trip, then it really does not matter which side of the train you sit for better views because your seat is assigned to you for the whole journey. Meaning you will be sitting in the same seat traveling from Durango to Silverton and back. So you get to see the scenery on both sides. 

    It's worth mentioning too that Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad also offers a bus & train combination excursion called "Skyway Tour" - You take bus one-way and train one-way allowing you to see the San Juan Mountains scenery from the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway (a.k.a Million Dollar Highway) and from the railroad. 

    The Skyway Tour is not available during the 2021 summer season, but if you are going to do this tour when it becomes available, you will want to sit on the left side of the bus if going from Durango to Silverton and on the left side on your train return. Change the side if you are taking the train up to Silverton and riding the bus back from Silverton. 

    Should you book Durango & Silverton train tickets in advance?

    Yes. This is a popular tourist activity in Durango and Mesa Verde National Park area. Tickets are open 2-3 months in advance and can sell out really quick. The thing about this excursion is that advance seat assignments are required, and therefore if you want to sit together in the same car, booking in advance is a must. It also gives you more options in terms of the classes of service and traveling dates that work best for your schedule. 

    Cancellation Policy

    No refund if you cancel within 5 days of your departure. Otherwise, it costs $14 per adult and $7 per child per ticket to change or cancel your booking. 

    If you are changing your ticket for a seat upgrade, the change fee is waived. 

    Is the train ADA accessible?

    Yes, the trains have cars that have wheelchair-accessible restrooms and lift service.

    How to book Durango & Silverton train tickets?

    You can book online directly through Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Official Website

    For passengers with special needs (ADA) or who want to book tickets with a live person, you can the reservation desk at 1-877-872-4607.

    Durango & Silverton Train Discounts

    Currently, the only discount that is available now is the 20% Military discount. You need to call the reservation desk to book your ticket to use the discount. 

    Parking

    There's a parking lot next to the rail yard. The address is 209 W College Drive, Durango, CO. The parking cost is $8 for a car, truck, or motorcycle and $10 for an RV, bus, trailer, and other non-standardized vehicles. 

    If you are staying within walking distance to the Durango depot, then you should not have to worry about parking. 

    Which hotel in Durango to stay at?

    Durango & Silverton train depot is located in the downtown area of Durango town. For your GPS, you can put in 479 Main Ave, Durango, CO

    So if you want to be within walking distance to the train station and not having to worry about parking, there are a few downtown hotels and motels. I recommend the following:
    • Holiday Inn Express Durango Downtown-Animas River is a fairly new IHG property. Its location is superb and offers a free hot breakfast buffet every morning! The breakfast is included in your room rate. For points travelers, you can use IHG Rewards Club points to redeem for a free night stay there. 
    • Holiday Inn & Suites Durango Central is also a good option. It takes about 15 minutes to walk to Durango train depot. It is also part of the IHG rewards program. 
    • DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Durango is another great option. This hotel is more upscale and thus can be more expensive. But if you have Hilton Honors points, you can redeem them for a free night stay as well. 
    • Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Durango is within walking distance to the Durango train depot. This property is under the Marriott Bonvoy program and therefore you can use Marriott points for a free night's redemption.  
    • Residence Inn by Marriott Durango is also within walking distance and it is also part of the Marriott Bonvoy program. 

    If you have any more questions, you can either reach out to Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad directly or comment below and I'll try to get an answer for you!

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    PL

    Posted by: PL

    Hello there! People call me PL and I am a points blogger. Obsessed with using points and miles to elevate travel experiences to explore the world. Enjoy finer things in life and good food. I have a day job, this points blog is mainly my hobby and my contribution back to the points community. If you enjoy reading this post, please help me share it! If you enjoy what you read here, please make sure you subscribe or follow this blog on social media so that you will be notified when there's a new blog's post. I thank you for reading this blog. Your support means a lot to me and it is what makes this blog's work worthwhile. If I can be of any help, you can contact me: thepointslife at gmail dot com

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