Take a historic train ride.
“The train can’t go straight up the mountain because it’s too steep, so the tracks run in a corkscrew pattern,” said the guide. Three young boys who had obviously been raised on Thomas the Train stories gave him their full attention. I watched their dad’s expression knowing that he scored some points.
Looking at the train passengers, I thought about how it's rare that an activity appeals to so many different kinds of people. History buffs love the backstory of the mining towns and seeing the steam engine. Gearheads are interested in the retrofitted “narrow gauge” train cars that make it possible to maneuver around horseshoe curves. Those of us who have a little age in our muscles enjoy watching the mountain scenery that would otherwise only be accessible after a strenuous hike. And what kid doesn’t love trains?
The train ride takes one to three hours round-trip, depending on which tour you selected. It travels over four bridges, including the massive Devil’s Gate High Bridge. We spent our time in the open-top coach car enjoying the nice day and the view of Clear Creek Valley. For a few dollars more, you can sit at a table in the first-class enclosed parlor cars. Beverage and snacks are available there, and during the chillier months of the year, it is nice to be inside.
Our excursion included a Lebanon silver mine tour at the midpoint of the trip (not for children under 5). Donning hard hats and coats, we explored the old mine tunnels on foot. Our tour guide was a student at the nearby Colorado School of Mines and we enjoyed quizzing her about the mines. She passed our test, giving us a good understanding of what a Colorado miner’s life was like a hundred years ago.
After the mine tour, we returned to Georgetown on the train. Next time we might do a Dine and Ride trip— the Beer & Brat Train sounds intriguing.
For more information:
Devil's Gate Depot - 646 Loop Dr, Georgetown, CO 80444
Silver Plume - 825 Railroad Ave, Sillver Plume, CO 80476
Story by Gloria Wadzinski