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Festive holiday train rides across Colorado

Take in the magic of the season with a winter train ride!
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
Santa on vintage delivery train is travelling in Christmas mountain landscape

COLORADO, USA — Between holiday markets, festive walking tours, and cheerful pop-up bars, there’s no shortage of ways to celebrate the holiday season in Colorado.

For those feeling a little less traditional, why not opt for a holiday train ride? A winter train trip is a relaxing way to take in the snow-covered trees alongside stunning views of the Rocky Mountains.

Lucky for us, Colorado is home to several seasonal train rides that are sure to get you into the spirit of the season. All aboard!

Georgetown Loop Railroad

Located less than an hour from downtown Denver, the Georgetown Loop Railroad has two Santa trains for the little kid in everyone.

On Santa's North Pole Adventure you can ride the Georgetown Loop Train with Santa. Free cookies and hot cocoa will be available at the depot and every child 12 and under will receive a bell from Santa.

Santa's Lighted Forest winds through a beautiful light show synchronized to music in the forest above the town. Santa won't be on the train but he'll be available to meet at the depot afterward.

The seasonal trains last about an hour and run almost every day until Jan. 5. Tickets range from $29–$50 for adults and $20–$36 for children.

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

For a truly unique holiday experience to remember, check out the Polar Express Train Ride, operated by the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. 

Families will hear the Polar Express story and enjoy hot chocolate and treats as they ride to the North Pole where they get to see Santa and his elves hard at work. 

On the ride back to Durango, Santa visits each car and delivers a special gift to each child as everyone sings carols. There are even live reindeer. And the best part – you get to wear your pajamas. This one costs $22 - $78/ticket depending on class level and peak times

Royal Gorge Route Railroad

The Santa Express Train in Cañon City is described as a winter wonderland where children of all ages are encouraged to wear cozy pajamas and relax with family and friends.

As the Santa Express Train travels to the North Pole, sing along to a mix of new and old Christmas music playing while enjoying entrees available on every Santa Express class of service.

When the Santa Express Train reaches the North Pole, Santa and his special elves board the train to pass out a special holiday bell to each ticketed child as he makes his way through the train. Tickets range from $39-$79. 

For a more sophisticated feel, opt for the 2-hour Holiday Lunch Train. This option includes food, beverages, and views of the area's unique scenery during the wintertime. Tickets range from $44 to $79. 

Fun fact: The first passenger train to travel through Colorado’s famous Royal Gorge debuted 140 years ago this year. 

Colorado Railroad Museum 

The Colorado Railroad Museum is continuing its tradition of The Polar Express Train Ride for 2019. This popular train experience in Golden is great for kids and sells out quickly each year. Tickets for 2020 are expected to go on sale in August.

RELATED: The best Colorado mountain town holiday festivals in 2019

Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad 

This train ride in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico celebrates the season of giving by helping to raise food and toy donations. 

For just $10, passengers can hop aboard the hour-long Santa Train to enjoy candy canes and hot chocolate. All passengers riding with Mr. and Mrs. Santa are asked to provide a non-perishable food item for the Food Bank charity drive or a new boxed, unwrapped toy for the Toys for Tots program.

These train rides will only be offered Dec. 7, Dec. 8, Dec. 14 and Dec. 15. 

Union Station

So technically this one isn’t a holiday-themed train ride, but stop by Union Station this time of year and it’ll sure feel like Christmas. Choose your own train ride destination from downtown Denver, just be sure to BYOC (bring your own cocoa!)

Starting Jan. 10, Amtrak’s Winter Park Express roundtrips between Denver (from Union Station) and Winter Park Resort will be available on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through March 29, 2020.

And if you’re more of a spectator, there’s a massive model train display in Granby that’s sure to put you in the Christmas spirit. You can learn more about that in the video below. 

RELATED: Holiday Guide: Everything you need to know about celebrating the holidays in Colorado

RELATED: Outdoor ice rinks across Colorado this winter

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