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