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Utah & Durango/Silverton Rail
Old 05-24-2009, 03:35 PM   #1
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Utah & Durango/Silverton Rail

We just got back from a trip to San Diego and then up in to Utah. We went to Zion National Park, Bryce Cannyon National Park, Arches National Park, and finished with the Durango/Silverton Rail Road trip. I am sure many of you know that if you are over 65 you can get a 'Senior Pass' at any National Park for $10! and it last the rest of your life, (or until the government changes it's mind) A really great deal.

DW and I both agree Utah Rocks! Well mostly sandstone, but awesom sights. If you are even slightly a rail road buff, I would really recommend the Durango/Silverton trip. A little pricy but well worth it. After stomping around the warm canyons of Utah, the cool refreshing trip to Silverton was great.
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Old 05-24-2009, 03:41 PM   #2
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Definitely something I would love to do! Pictures??
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Old 05-24-2009, 04:02 PM   #3
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We spent part of our honeymoon in the area many, many years ago. It's gorgeous. What happened to Mesa Verde?
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Old 05-24-2009, 04:10 PM   #4
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We took about 600 pictures. Here is Bryce, Arches, Durango Rail, and Zion.
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Old 05-24-2009, 04:10 PM   #5
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Definitely a part of the country I want to get to someday. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 05-24-2009, 06:38 PM   #6
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Definitely a part of the country I want to get to someday. Thanks for sharing.
What he said.

Beautiful scenery, perfect time of year to go. Hope to get there myself in the next couple/few years...if I can ever FIRE.

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Old 05-24-2009, 07:13 PM   #7
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I'm also a big fan of that part of the country. Here are a few of photos from our trip last summer:

Silverton, CO (do you see the train?)



The Sangre De Christo Mountains near Westcliffe, CO




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Old 05-24-2009, 11:48 PM   #8
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We also enjoyed the Durango/Silverton Rail Trip. However, I regretted not taking the upgraded option to take the bus one way to enjoy yet an additional and different scenic route by road.

The train ride was 3.5 hrs long one-way, and became tedious on the return leg. Perhaps it would be more enjoyable in the First Class cars, but our coach seats were not as comfortable as I would like.
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Old 05-25-2009, 08:10 AM   #9
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NW, we went both ways also, but first class. Seats were comfortable, and I spent most of the trip back in the open air car on the way back. However, it was quite cool on the way back with a little rain. Most of the people in the open air cars moved to one of the covered cars, an option you may not have if the train is full.
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Old 05-25-2009, 09:10 AM   #10
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You guys are killing me. That's exactly where I want to spend some time. I've only been to Moab and it was just a brief one day visit when I was visiting a nephew in Colorado. Oh well, someday I will have more time to do some traveling.
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Old 05-25-2009, 09:16 AM   #11
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For those that may be thinking about these places, a word of advice. Get into shape! We had been walking for about three months, but still over weight. We still hiked several trails, however, if we had been in better shape we would have hiked more trails. If you are into tent camping or RV camping the three national parks are ideal, if you can get a reservation. We found lodging, for the most part around $125 a night. Food, however, seemed high. No fast food restaurants. Gas prices a little high, but it did not seem to be at the out of line considering how remote these place are.
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Old 05-25-2009, 09:57 AM   #12
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When we took this trip, it was late summer and wasn't that cold, nor rainy. The coach seats would not be so bad if their cushions weren't so thin. I wouldn't know, else would shell out a few more bucks to save my derrière. It would really "hurt" my wallet, as I was paying for a party of 5, myself included.

The above said, the scenery along this rail was simply spectacular, and near impossible to get to any other way. The trip from Durango to Silverton was packed. The return trip had some open seats to allow us to move around some.

About the seat, perhaps one could bring his/her own cushion?

Reminds me that I am getting too old and soft (or is it rusty and creaky) to travel to 3rd world countries and ride their rickety trains with wooden bench seats. Better to stick with the Eurail trains and their ergonomic aircraft style chairs.
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Old 05-25-2009, 11:30 AM   #13
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....

About the seat, perhaps one could bring his/her own cushion?

Reminds me that I am getting too old and soft (or is it rusty and creaky) to travel to 3rd world countries and ride their rickety trains with wooden bench seats. Better to stick with the Eurail trains and their ergonomic aircraft style chairs.
I swear by a $10 version of this, could be carried discretely. Love the way they characterize it as a "neck pillow."

HappiNeck Therapeutic Neck Pillow | IMAK | Walgreens
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Old 05-25-2009, 07:26 PM   #14
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Several years we did the same trip as OP, except instead of taking the train both ways, we did a white water rafting trip going south down the river. Fabulous trip, every view was more spectacular than the last!
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Old 05-25-2009, 10:59 PM   #15
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We also enjoyed the Durango/Silverton Rail Trip. However, I regretted not taking the upgraded option to take the bus one way to enjoy yet an additional and different scenic route by road.

The train ride was 3.5 hrs long one-way, and became tedious on the return leg. Perhaps it would be more enjoyable in the First Class cars, but our coach seats were not as comfortable as I would like.
We took the trip the way you describe. Train one way bus the other. If you get the opportunity to do it again I would recommended it. Some breathtaking scenery to be seen from the bus and great comments from the driver about the local sights.
We were visiting Mesa Verde and took the train trip during that vacation. Only downside of the whole trip was the case of altitude sickness we got while there. DH and I live at sea level and had problems with the thin air. Walking around Silverton was a challenge. What is it 10,000 feet elevation? Gasp. Sitting on the bus on the way back to Durango was a relief.
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Old 05-26-2009, 05:08 PM   #16
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Several years we did the same trip as OP, except instead of taking the train both ways, we did a white water rafting trip going south down the river. Fabulous trip, every view was more spectacular than the last!
Rafting is fun, but you did not see the most spectacular parts of the river. Why? Because the middle portion of the Animas is one of the few rivers in the US that can't be run if you wish to stay alive, regardless of your skill level. The full river has never been run. The problem? Waterfalls that cannot be portaged due to the fact that there are sheer cliff faces on both sides of Animas Canyon. Anyway, the upper and lower portions of the river are pretty, but if you go back you should really consider the train to see the whole thing, or better yet, hike the trails in the area. I have backpacked much of the area between Silverton and Durango, and it is some of the most spectaular backcounty in the lower 48.

[edit] OK, I think I am dense. On reflection, I assume you took the train up and the river back? Sounds like a great trip.
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Old 05-26-2009, 11:11 PM   #17
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[edit] OK, I think I am dense. On reflection, I assume you took the train up and the river back? Sounds like a great trip.
Yup, train going up, river rafting trip coming back down. It was very interesting to see the views from the train and then from the water...when we were able to relax on the rafts, that is. Some of the rapids were a bit more "exciting" than we expected!
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Old 05-27-2009, 06:38 AM   #18
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Dw and I rode the train in 1980. We took the bus to Silverton and did the train back to Durango. It was July 4th and it was still jacket weather in the mountains.

For a little preview of the mountains you can drive from Durango to Silverton on the Million Dollar Highway with Google Maps, in the winter. Watch the ice.

Google Maps
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Old 05-27-2009, 05:56 PM   #19
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Dw and I rode the train in 1980. We took the bus to Silverton and did the train back to Durango. It was July 4th and it was still jacket weather in the mountains.

For a little preview of the mountains you can drive from Durango to Silverton on the Million Dollar Highway with Google Maps, in the winter. Watch the ice.
DW and I drove it in 2004. It was fantastic. She yelled at me to slow down the whole time. I was only going 15 mph.
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Old 05-27-2009, 08:01 PM   #20
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I rode it in 1986 (Ouray to Durango) as part of a longer ride. I cannot recommend that area of the country highly enough as a vacation spot.
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