AAA Editor Notes
The Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad & Museum is at 479 Main Ave. Narrow gauge trains, powered by vintage coal-fired steam locomotives, run through the mountains of the San Juan National Forest following the Animas River to Silverton; the scenery is ruggedly beautiful. The line has been in continuous operation since 1881. Standard-class seating is available in an enclosed coach or open-air car; premium-class cars dating to the 1880s are available on every train.
Least crowded times for the approximately 9-hour round-trip to Silverton are May to early June, late August and in October. The 45-mile trip takes 3 1/2 hours each way and allows 2 1/2 hours in the mining town of Silverton for lunch and shopping. As an upgrade, a bus is available for one direction of the round trip between Durango and Silverton, reducing the trip to 5 1/2 hours; phone for dates and times. A 5-hour, 52-mile round-trip to Cascade Canyon is offered. Other themed train rides, such as the Polar Express, are scheduled throughout the year; call for information. The museum is in a roundhouse in the Durango yard.
Note: The coal-fired engines emit cinders and soot. Dark clothing and sunglasses are recommended. Passengers should be in their seat 30 minutes prior to departure or the seats will be sold to waiting passengers.
Guided tours are available. Food is available.