Trains, trams, gondolas, jeeps and kayaks are all great ways to enjoy the scenic wonders of the Centennial State’s most beautiful sites. Combine some early Colorado history and a little outdoor adventure regardless of your agility, and you have one perfect itinerary.
- Historic Arkansas Riverwalk
- Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad
- Great Sand Dunes National Park
- Monarch Crest Scenic Tramway
- Royal Gorge Bridge & Park
THIS ITINERARY IS IDEAL FOR: Adults 18+ & Extended Families
Arrive in Pueblo and visit the El Pueblo History Museum for a self-guided tour. Through innovative exhibits, including ”The Borderlands of Southern Colorado” and the award-winning ”Children of Ludlow,” the region’s cultural and ethnic groups are showcased. Enjoy lunch along Pueblo’s Historic Arkansas Riverwalk. Depart for a 90-minute drive south to Fort Garland.
Arrive at the Fort Garland Museum & Cultural Center. Explore life in a military fort built in 1858. Five original adobe buildings still exist and tell the history of the fort. From the Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th Cavalry to Colorado’s role in the Civil War in the West, you’ll discover a rich military history. Depart for a 30-minute drive to Alamosa.
Located in the unique geography of the San Luis Valley, Alamosa restaurants feature locally grown food. Enjoy dinner before checking into your group-friendly accommodations.
Depart for Antonito onboard Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. Deemed the ”Best Scenic Railroad” by USA Today in 2019, the railroad runs for 64 miles from Antonito, Colorado to Chama, New Mexico.
The highlights are nothing short of dramatic. The ride includes the Cumbres Pass, the highest mountain pass reached by rail in the United States. Traveling through the Toltec Gorge, the train appears pressed in by the steep, rocky sides. The train stops for lunch at the scenic Osler train station before proceeding across the 137-foot-tall Cascade Creek Trestle. Traveling with you are friends of the railroad that act as docents who share and describe what you see along the journey.
Return to Alamosa for dinner and a good night’s sleep.
Breakfast and checkout at your hotel before departing for the Great Sand Dunes Visitors Center. There you’ll see a short film on the history of the dunes along with exhibits showing the formation of the tallest sand dunes in North America. The diverse system of the park ranges from the 30 square miles of sand dunes to forests. The dunes and surrounding mountains are a great place to enjoy unspoiled natural beauty.
After the visitors center, check out the dunes from the Dunes Parking Area and Medano Creek. Sand sledding down the dunes is popular. Several retail outlets provide sand-sled and sandboard rentals. A hike to Mosca Pass pays off with great views, while the adventurous hikers will take on the Star Dune—the tallest in North America. Lots of water is highly recommended.
Head to Villa Grove and a stop at Villa Grove Trade. It’s a restaurant and perfect for lunch today, along with being a convenience store and grocery store. Depart Villa Grove and it’s a scenic 30-minute drive to Salida.
Board your gondola for the Monarch Crest Scenic Tramway. The tramway and gift shop are located on the top of Monarch Pass. At 11,312 feet you’ll be on the Continental Divide at the southern end of the Sawatch Mountain Range. As you ascend to more than 12,000 feet in elevation, you’ll see marvelous panoramic views. The gift shop opened in 1954 as a Greyhound bus stop and now attracts visitors from all around the world.
It’s back to Salida in the heart of the Rockies. Check into your accommodations and enjoy the culinary delights of Salida’s culinary scene. There are world-class chefs doing everything from sushi to locally harvested specialties.
This evening, it’s a visit to the Salida Creative District, one of only two “Certified Creative Districts” in Colorado. The city’s growth as an art and culture center took many years, but the project has blossomed. Within the downtown Salida Creative District there are more than 230 locally owned businesses.
Enjoy an early breakfast and check out from your hotel. You enjoyed the Arkansas River from El Pueblo’s Historic Riverwalk, and now we’re headed to Bill Dvorak Rafting, Kayak & Fishing Expeditions and a half-day rafting on the Arkansas River. Colorado’s first licensed outfitter specializes in watersport rentals. For the less experienced, join a guided trip down the river on Class II to V levels. If your water interest is more in-line with fishing, try the half-day “Beginner Fly Fishing Clinic” or a “Float Fishing Trip on the Arkansas River.” Regardless of your agility level, there’s a fun experience waiting for you.
Depart for Canon City; it’s about a 90-minute drive. Upon arrival, check into one of the area’s lodging options. After dinner, enjoy a leisurely evening stroll.
Breakfast at your hotel then depart for Colorado Jeep Tours. A scenic half-day adventure is in store. It’s a fun way to learn more about Colorado’s regional history and geology. The ride is in a customized, open-air jeep.
After lunch, it’s the panoramic views from Royal Gorge Bridge & Park. One of the world’s highest suspension bridges is a Colorado landmark. Depending on your level of adventure, you can crisscross Royal Gorge in an Aerial Gondola 1,200 feet in the air. It’s a great view of the gorge, Arkansas River, bridge and park. For the adventuresome try the Cloudscraper Zip Line, the Royal Rush Skycoaster or join your guide for a ferrata.
Enjoy a lovely meal to go along with your Colorado memories. Return to your hotel for a good night’s sleep before breakfast, checkout and departure the next morning.