Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad

Fifteen minutes after leaving the Leadville depot the debris of civilization disappears and tall white aspen trunks support a golden canopy above the Leadville, Colorado and Southern train. The Continental Divide and Colorado’s highest mountains cap the westward vista.

Train_Water Tower_Leadville “Tickets,” calls Liz as she enters each car of the standard gauge, diesel-powered train. The gregarious conductor is in her 13th year welcoming passengers to the scenic trip towards Fremont Pass. Rows of seats run the length of the cars providing unobstructed viewing. From one side riders watch the headwaters of the Arkansas River snake through the valley below; while, those on the other side scan the hillside for marmots, deer and trickling waterfalls.

A 15-minute stop at the French Gulch Water Tank allows passengers to investigate nearby French Creek, take photographs or check out the historic 47,500-gallon water tank. The crew opens the caboose for inspection and encourages climbing into the cupola.

Train_Caboose The once traditional last car of freight trains has become a rarity. The Leadville, Colorado & Southern not only uses a caboose, they allow two riders (for an additional fee) on the return trip into Leadville. Relaxed in leather armchairs high in the cupola, caboose passengers travel at tree top level with unparalleled views of the train and route ahead. This unique experience makes a great gift for rail buffs or to share with a grandchild. Reserve caboose rides when you make reservations. Also inquire about rides in the locomotive.

*Article by Nancy Yackel, first published in Buzz in the ‘burbs, a suburban Denver monthly lifestyle magazine.

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