Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.
DENVER. Welcome to Denver, the “Mile High City,” capital of Colorado and gateway to the Rocky Mountains. Your Tour Director is on hand late this afternoon to answer any questions.
DENVER–GEORGETOWN LOOP RAILROAD–SEVEN FALLS–COLORADO SPRINGS. This morning, head towards the historic town of Georgetown and the GEORGETOWN LOOP TRAIN. The beauty of the rugged Rocky Mountains surround you as an old-time locomotive chugs its way up the canyon, traveling past the remains of several gold and silver mines. Afterward, travel south to the town of Colorado Springs, located on the plains at the foot of Pikes Peak. The view from the top of nearby Pikes Peak inspired Katharine Lee Bates to compose America the Beautiful more than 100 years ago. Visit the GARDEN OF THE GODS, a registered National Natural Landmark with towering red-rock formations. End the day with a visit to one of Colorado’s greatest natural wonders, SEVEN FALLS.
COLORADO SPRINGS–TAOS–SANTA FE. This morning, travel into New Mexico, arriving in the adobe town of Taos on the high desert mesa at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Visit the historic Taos Plaza where old mercantile stores house galleries, restaurants and shops. Afterward, travel south to Santa Fe, founded in 1610 as the capital of the Spanish colony of New Mexico, and the oldest seat of government in the United States.
SANTA FE. Experience Santa Fe up close as you embark on a guided TROLLEY TOUR revealing the town’s Spanish, Indian, and American heritage. Main sights include the San Miguel Mission, Palace of the Governors, Cathedral of St. Francis of Assisi, and LORETTO CHAPEL’S “Miracle Stairway.” The balance of the day is at leisure.
SANTA FE–PAGOSA SPRINGS–DURANGO. Enjoy a visit to the town of Pagosa Springs surrounded by the rugged San Juan Mountains and vast national forest. Later, arrive in Durango. Where Old West meets Southwest, Downtown Durango is a Nationally Registered Historic District and home to historic boutique hotels, award winning restaurants, laid-back brewpubs, and fabulous art galleries, museums, and shops. The evening is free for independent activities.
DURANGO. EXCURSION ON THE DURANGO & SILVERTON NARROW-GAUGE RAILROAD. Board the DURANGO & SILVERTON NARROW-GAUGE RAILROAD this morning for a scenic 3.5-hour journey through San Juan National Forest to the historic mining town of Silverton. Experience the adventure of traveling by a coal-fired, steam-powered locomotive on the same tracks that miners, cowboys, and settlers of the Old West took more than a century ago. This historic train has been in continuous operation for more than 125 years, and the locomotives used to pull today’s train are 1923-1925 vintage. The train hugs steep canyon walls as it winds its way through the Rio de las Animas Canyon, with vistas of snowcapped peaks. Free time in Silverton, once a major mining town that owes its name to the bragging statement by an early miner, “We have no gold, but silver by the ton!” Return to Durango by motorcoach where the evening is free to explore more of the town born in the gold rush and silver-mining era and at times run by gunslingers.
DURANGO–MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK–TELLURIDE–GRAND JUNCTION. This morning, MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you’ll walk in the footsteps of Ancestral Puebloans and see their mysterious, centuries-old cliff dwellings. Spend time at the park’s museum and visitor center, depicting the story of these people who mysteriously disappeared almost 700 years ago. Continue on to Telluride, a former Victorian mining town in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, at the base of a popular ski resort. Time on your own allows you to explore the 12 blocks along the town’s main street, a National Historic Landmark District where you’ll see the sights, such as the Old Town Jail, the Rio Grande Southern Railway Depot, and the Appaloosa Trading Company (the site where notorious outlaw Butch Cassidy robbed his first bank in 1889). Overnight in the town of Grand Junction.
GRAND JUNCTION–GLENWOOD CANYON–VAIL AREA. This morning, visit COLORADO NATIONAL MONUMENT. Towering monoliths exist within a vast plateau and canyon panorama. Experience sheer-walled, red-rock canyons along the twists and turns of Rim Rock Drive, where you may spy bighorn sheep and soaring eagles. Your journey continues through 12 miles of beautiful Glenwood Canyon with walls that climb as high as 1,300 feet above the Colorado River. Continue to the Vail Valley area, one of America’s most popular mountain resorts. Time to walk the cobblestone pedestrian village before making our way to the hotel.
VAIL AREA–ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK–ESTES PARK–DENVER. See Colorado’s largest natural lake, Grand Lake, before crossing the Continental Divide and behold vistas of lush meadows, alpine glaciers, and thundering waterfalls. Take scenic Trail Ridge Road over magnificent mountain terrain, which attracted the likes of Kit Carson and his group of trappers to ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK. A break at 12,183 feet provides fantastic alpine scenery. A short stop in Estes Park, nestled in a high mountain valley at just above 7,000 feet, before returning to Denver.
BreakfastNOTE: The drive through Rocky Mountain National Park is subject to favorable road and weather conditions.
DENVER. Your vacation ends this morning.