Monday, November 21, 2011

Taking the Train

This week we're living vicariously through our cousins who are traveling from Denver to San Francisco by train to celebrate Thanksgiving and my aunt's 70th birthday. From

One of the most popular western trains, the California Zephyr traverses much of the West's spectacular scenery. Departing from Denver, you'll snake upward on the Front Range of the Rockies and cross the Great Divide. As you go by train, try to imagine how this daunting landscape must have looked to the first settlers who came by horse or on foot.
To go through this exceptionally rugged terrain, the train takes numerous switch-backs as it gains altitude. Traveling through the first of 29 tunnels, it's easy to see the huge obstacles that early railroad companies had to surmount. In the Roosevelt National Forest, the train crests the Continental Divide at the famed, six-mile-long Moffat Tunnel. When it opened in 1928, the tunnel reduced the time it took to cross the Continental Divide from hours to minutes. In the midst of the tunnel, you will reach a high point of more than 9,000 feet above sea level.
As the train runs into the deep Gore and Glenwood Canyons, sheer rock walls towering above the Colorado River envelope the train as it glides through. As the train skirts the river, you'll see rafters taking advantage of this natural wild ride. Fiery red mountains and spectacular rock formations are highlights of the Colorado River Valley, particularly in Ruby Canyon.
Exiting the valley, you'll spot Grand Mesa, the world's largest flat-topped mountain. Then you'll head across the Utah desert to Salt Lake City. From there, the colorful Nevada desert will lead you towards the High Sierras and California's famed Donner Pass.
Finally, this journey that has taken you to the heights of exhilaration ends with yet one more visual masterpiece — the city by the bay, San Francisco.
One of the cool things about the trip, beside the scenic route, is that it's part of the Park Service's Trails & Rails program through the US Forest Service Intermountain Region (from Denver to Grand Junction):
The Trails & Rails programs are as diverse as the volunteer rangers presenting the programs. On any given route you may hear the stories of the area or have an opportunity to closely examine artifacts that relate to the route. On some programs you may find musical offerings, or rangers dressed in living history costumes or historical attire.
 It'll take 33 hours (8am first day until 4pm second day). I can't wait to hear how it goes and how they like it!


  1. Oh WOW! Such a great trip! Tony and I took the same train on our honeymoon. We started in Chicago...stopped in Flagstaff...went to the Grand Canyon.....into San Diego...up the coast via Amtrak's Coast Stalight to San Francisco...stayeds a few days there....then in to Denver on the California Zephyr...then back to Chicago. It was a great trip. Meet lots of interesting people, saw some of our great country. We want to take the boys on a trip somewhere....someday.

  2. Thomas and I have been dreaming of a train trip ever since his classmate went with her family from Jacksonville to Washington DC on the train last June! We even talked about taking the train to Cleveland, but it's complicated - Jax - DC and then DC - Cle arriving at 2am!

    I love that you and Tony traveled all over on the train together, that is awesome. Someday someday!!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...