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Colorado Narrow Gauge Circle Tour
Part 1: Introduction

My photo essay on the Colorado Narrow Gauge Circle is based on two trips, the first in 1994, the second in 2004. Both were post-convention trips sponsored by the Denver Garden Railway Society. The 1994 trip was the better of the two – the weather cooperated, the tour was more leisurely, the guide knew the route intimately, and got us to places that we never saw on the 2004 tour.

The late Richard Schaffer, who also guided the European Narrow Gauge Circle Tour that I took in 1995, provided excellent commentary on the railways, routes, sites, and sights along the 1994 tour. There was little of this on the 2004 tour – our guide got us there on time to board the trains, but that was it.

The only Colorado tourist train I missed was the Cripple Creek and Victor Railroad behind Pike’s Peak. It is a 2 foot gauge steam line reminiscent of the Gilpin Gold Tram. It is a 4 mile, 45 minute round trip on former Midland Terminal (standard gauge) right of way – not much of a ride but the engines are unique.  http://www.cripplecreekrailroad.com/

You can follow the tour in order or choose your own route on the links below.

Part One: Introduction (This Page)
Part Two: Colorado Railroad Museum

Part Three: Caņon City – Royal Gorge
Part Four: Alamosa – Chama
Part Five: Chama – Antonito
Part Six: Durango – Silverton
Part Seven: Durango – Dolores – Lizard Head – Telluride – Ridgway
Part Eight: Cimarron – Black Canyon – Gunnison
Part Nine: Leadville – Climax
Part Ten: Breckenridge – South Park City – Fairplay
Part Eleven - 1994: Silver Plume – Georgetown Loop
Part Eleven - 2004: Silver Plume – Georgetown Loop
Part Twelve: Manitou Springs – Pike’s Peak – Garden of the Gods

Continue to Part Two

NARROW GAUGE CIRCLE LOCATION MAP

The narrow gauge circle of Colorado and New Mexico is really worth the time, whether as part of a guided tour or on your own. The roads are excellent, as is the accomaodation, food, local attractioons, mountain scenery, and (usually) the weather. Side trips  to the colonial architecture in El Paso, Albuquerque, and Taos, plus the amazing cave dwellings of Mesa Verde provice a deeper understanding of history that predates the steam locomotives and mining operations that are part of the standard railway fan trip described here.

General Interest Websites
http://www.narrowgauge.org/
http://www.drgw.org/
http://www.ghostdepot.com/