Sept 28, 2021

We left home on Tuesday morning with the goal to camp to near Durango, CO. We had tickets for the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Train trip at 8:00 am on Wednesday morning. We would have left on Monday, but we wanted to attend Everett’s 4th birthday party that night.

We left home just after 10 am and just drove with only a short stop before Moab to each lunch. Our only other stop was in Cortez for gas. The area between Cortez and Durango is very beautiful with many mountain ranches on both sides of the highway. We found a camping spot in the National Forest about 12 miles from Durango and settled down for the night. It was a little cold and windy and it rained quite a bit through out the night.

Sept 29, 2021

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad was built in 1881 and has been in continuous operation for 140 years. It was built to ship cargo and passengers 45 miles up Cascade canyon to Silverton and ship silver and gold ore back from the San Juan Mountains. In more modern times it is the canyon views that have kept the train in operation.

We arrived at the rail station in Durango at 7:15 am, and had to pay $10 to park for the day. We thought we had purchased seats on one of enclosed cars, but found out our car was an open car. In the summer it would have been great, but it was a bit cold this morning. We were able to change to an inside car for the morning trip to Silverton, but the inside cars were sold out on the way back, so we will have the outside car later in the afternoon. The trip would take 3-1/2 hours up to Silverton, a two hour layover in Silverton, then 3-1/2 hours back to Durango.

The train ride very slow and rough. This think the age of the cars and tracks made a very rough ride. Also, the narrow gauge tracks amplified every bump and rock-n-roll back and forth. Due to all of this, we probably never got faster than 15-20 mph. 

It took about an hour to get out of Durango and through the valley to the start of Cascade Canyon. The tracks followed the Animas River all the way from Durango to Silverton. Once we went up the canyon the views were awesome. The colored leaves of fall were at the maximum. 

At points the train track was carved into the cliff side with a straight drop off to the river, several hundred feet below. It was an awesome ride and very beautiful. We were glad we got the inside seats as several people came inside to get warm and commented on how cold it was outside.

We arrived in Silverton at 11:30 am and quickly got in line to eat lunch at a burger place. We beat the crowds and had a burger. 

We spent the rest of our time in Silverton walking through streets and shops. Before leaving we had a funnel cake for desert.

The trip down the canyon was a little warmer, but it did rain a bit. With our coats and hats on, the ride was not too bad. The outside cars have seats facing to to the outside, so watching the scenery is much easier. About halfway down the train slows down so everyone can get a good view of the river, and a lady sitting behind us dropped her husbands phone off the train, so that was the excitement for the trip. She was crying and he didn’t look too happy. About a mile from where she dropped it, the rail came close to the road, so they could have driven up and recovered the phone, but I don’t know if they did.

We arrived back in Durango at 5:15 pm. It was fun as we rode into town, there were many people and kids that came out of their houses and waved to the train. I think everyone in town in proud of the train.

We found a camping spot about 10 miles out of town on BLM ground. It was a very quiet night, with a little bit of rain through out the night. 

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