Tis The Season for Christmas Trains in Colorado

image of Santa lighted forest

What Christmas would be complete without hot cocoa, a trip to the North Pole, or a visit with Santa Claus?! Do all that and more aboard one of these Colorado Christmas holiday train rides.

From the Front Range to the Western Slope, there are a number of historic railroads in Colorado that offer something special for the winter holiday season. While most tourist trains shut down over the winter, a few keep rolling on. Board these unique Xmas-themed trains for an unforgettable time with your friends, family, and loved ones.

Here are Colorado’s best Christmas holiday train rides, in no particular order:

Santa’s Lighted Forest

image of Santa lighted forestSanta’s Lighted Forest. Photo: Georgetown Loop Railroad

Witness the snow-covered mountains in all their glory every evening aboard the Georgetown Loop Railroad for an enchanting experience. The train makes a stop at Santa’s Lighted Forest where the spirit of the holidays is on display with thousands of colorful lights that cover the trees and Christmas village at the North Pole.

Passengers can meet Santa himself, enjoy hot cocoa and cookies all while watching the beautiful light show synchronized to selected Christmas carols. Passengers have a choice of the Presidential Car, Parlor Car, or the Coach Car. This train departs only from the Devil’s Gate Depot in Georgetown, Colorado.

Train: Georgetown Loop Railroad
Trip: Georgetown to Silver Plume
Duration: 50 – 60 minutes
When: November 11 – December 24, 2023
Website: georgetownlooprr.com…

Santa’s Rocky Mountain Adventure

image of Santa in front of trainSanta’s Rocky Mountain Adventure, photo by Georgetown Loop Railroad Facebook

Perfect for the entire family, hop aboard the Georgetown Loop train for a ride to the North Pole. Passengers will join up with Santa and his little helpers who help pass out presents, treats, and goodies for the children.

Choose from the Presidential Car, Parlor Car, or the Coach Car – each decorated with the festivities of the season. This train departs only from the Devil’s Gate Depot location in Georgetown, Colorado.

Train: Georgetown Loop Railroad
Trip: Georgetown to Silver Plume
Duration: 50 – 60 minutes
When: November 10 – December 24, 2023
Website: georgetownlooprr.com…

Santa Express Train

Image of Santa at the Royal Gorge Route Railroad Santa Express in ColoradoSanta at the train station. Photo: Royal Gorge Route Railroad

With your pajamas on, catch a ride aboard the Santa Express Train where Santa’s helpers offer hot cocoa, cookies, and candy canes and even read Christmas stories to all the passengers. Ride through the Royal Gorge for an unforgettable journey to the North Pole, which shines with all the colors and brilliance of Christmas.

Kids, get your Christmas wish list ready for Santa as he makes his way through each class of service, visiting every child aboard the Royal Gorge Route Railroad. It offers up to four daily departures, one of which includes an early morning train ride that includes breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

There are a variety of classes of service available, from the Vista Dome and first-class lunch and dinner train to the club and coach class.

Train: Royal Gorge Route Railroad
Trip: Canon City to Parkdale, CO
Duration: 1.5 hours
When: November 17 – December 24 and Dec 26-30, 2023
Website: royalgorgeroute.com…

The Polar Express Train Ride

Image of the Polar Express train in Durango, ColoradoThe Polar Express. Photo: Anthony D’Amato

Enjoy the warmth and fun of the season with a trip to the North Pole aboard the Polar Express via the Durango and Silverton Train. Experience the classic book, The Polar Express, come to life with the chefs, conductor, Billy, and of course with Santa and his elves.

Enjoy treats and a bedtime story of The Polar Express as you head to the North Pole to pick up Santa. On your return to Durango, Santa visits each car while your chefs lead all passengers in the singing of Christmas carols. Passengers can choose from three different classes of service; coach, deluxe, and first-class.

Train: Durango and Silverton Train and Railroad
Trip: Durango to Cascade Canyon
Duration: 1 hour
When: Starting November 17 – December 31, 2023
Website: durangotrain.com…

Winter Train to Cascade Canyon

image of train through the snow in ColoradoRiding by the Animas River in Cascade Canyon, photo by Durango & Silverton Railroad Facebook

While this isn’t exactly a Christmas-themed train, the Winter Train to Cascade Canyon is perfect to enjoy the beauty of the season. All from the comfort of your heated coaches, take in the beautiful scenery that surrounds you as you pass through the San Juan National Forest, along the Animas River.

This 26-mile train ride departs at 9:45 am and arrives back at 2:45 pm, so plan for a full day of adventure and fun. Durango’s also one of the top Christmas towns in Colorado, so there’ll be plenty of activities to experience the season upon your return.

Train: Durango and Silverton Train and Railroad
Trip: Durango, through Cascade Canyon
Duration: 5 hours
When: November 18, 2023 – May 3, 2024
Website: durangotrain.com…

image of georgetown north pole trainGeorgetown’s North Pole Train, photo by Georgetown Loop Railroad Facebook

From train rides to the North Pole and breakfast with Santa, to illuminated villages and holiday treats, what’s not to love about these Colorado Christmas trains? Celebrate the holidays with beautiful winter scenes of the Rocky Mountains with all the Christmas traditions we know and love, all aboard one of these festive train rides!

When your journey comes to an end, keep the holiday spirits high by visiting one of Colorado’s best small Christmas towns. These quaint mountain villages go the extra mile to bring joy and festivities to all their visitors. And if you’re passing by or call the front range home, there’s a slew of holiday events near Denver to attend.

Author: Edward Adams