The D&SNGRR travels 45.4 miles each way along the Animas River from Durango to Silverton during our summer season May through October. On our winter trips late November through early May, the train travels 26 miles each way to the wye at Cascade Station. The last point of highway access between Durango and Silverton is the Rockwood Station. Between Rockwood and Silverton it is a designated wilderness area and there is no motorized access.
Along the Route
The route to Silverton aboard the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is an unforgettable journey along the spectacular Animas River. The Animas River is one of the last free-flowing rivers in the entire western United States. The route along the Animas, which begins high in the San Juan Mountains and ends in a confluence with the San Juan River in New Mexico, boasts some of Colorado's most striking canyon scenery. Throughout the season, the river will rise from around 400 c.f.s (cubic feet per second) in April, to over 6,000 c.f.s at peak snowmelt runoff in June, and will mellow out again in September.
The train will cross the river five times on its journey to Silverton, offering spectacular views from both sides of the train. We will pass fertile farmlands, old stagecoach roads, the breathtaking "Highline", the remote Tacoma Power Plant, old mining camps, and be in the shadow of peaks reaching over 14,000 feet, often with year-round snow!
Be sure to watch for a glimpse of the wildlife that, although often elusive to train travelers, abounds in the area. Deer, elk, black bear, Bighorn Sheep, mountain lions and moose are sometimes sighted as well as eagles, hawks, osprey, geese, squirrels, marmots and fox.
Important Travel Tips
The Durango area boasts nearly 300 days of sunshine each year. However, it’s always good to be prepared for rain or snow any time of year! Except for severe weather conditions, the D&SNG runs trains as scheduled.
If you're driving in Colorado, you can find current road conditions by visiting the CO Department of Transportation's Web site at COTrip.org
For recorded phone information call: 303-639-1111 or instate toll free 877-315-7623.
What to wear:
With the high elevation and brilliant sunshine, we recommend you have a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen handy. When traveling on the D&SNGRR, we suggest you wear layers of clothing. The train climbs nearly 3,000 feet to Silverton and the high mountain air will be on average about 10 degrees cooler than in Durango.
Durango's elevation is 6,512 feet above sea level and Silverton sits comfortably at 9,305 feet elevation. Guests are encouraged to get plenty of rest and drink lots of water. Whenever possible, try to acclimate to the altitude by arriving a day early. If you have any health concerns, check with your physician for advice.
Secluded in a mountain valley at an elevation of 9,318 feet, Silverton came into existence because of the rich treasures that the surrounding mountains hold. Though there are no longer any operating mines, the mining legacy pervades every aspect of the town, as a visit will show. It is a legacy that glitters in Silverton's elaborate Victorian-era architecture, reflecting the millions of dollars drawn from the earth during the mining boom of the late 1800's to early 1900's.
Downtown Silverton along Greene & Blair Streets boasts of a bold past and is designated as a National Historic District. Be sure to stop by the Silverton Museum, Jail and Mining Heritage Center and uncover many artifacts of San Juan County's past. Still craving more? Visit the Mayflower Mill, Old Hundred Gold Mine Tour, be deputized by the Silverton Gunfighters, or take a listen to the Silverton Brass Band; all offered May to October.
Heading out of town towards the 4-wheel drive Alpine Loop will take you on an excursion connecting Silverton, Lake City and Ouray through ghost towns and old mining claims. Animas Forks, one of the best preserved ghost towns in the state of Colorado, is only 12 miles from Silverton. The fun doesn't have to stop here, with easy access to hiking and mountain biking trails in the Uncompahgre and Weminuche Wilderness areas you have access to an abundance of alpine lakes, waterfalls, and fields of wildflowers.
When the snow flies, Silverton turns into a winter wonderland boasting of great snowmobiling, snow shoeing, groomed tracks for cross country and skate skiing, groomed and lift-accessed backcountry skiing, and amazing landscapes!
Try out our inexpensive in-town ski area at Kendall Mountain with a double chairlift accessing three beginner trails and one intermediate trail. On top of skiing, you may enjoy sledding, tubing and ice-skating at Kendall Mountain. Throughout the year this space is available to rent for your special occasion!
For a more information on our year-round recreation log on to www.silvertoncolorado.com or call 1-800-752-4494.