Rocky Mountaineer’s Journey:
Rockies to Red Rocks Rolls Into the U.S.
As John Muir famously said, “The mountains are calling and I must go.” Texans love the mountains and we will travel far and wide to gaze upon them. Maybe you’ve flown or road tripped for this purpose, but have you sat back and gazed upon them from the comfort of a luxury train? Not many have as The Rocky Mountaineer just came to the U.S. (from Canada) in 2021.
If this is how you roll, sign up to enjoy the Silverleaf package that runs from Denver, Colorado, to Moab, Utah, to include a shuttle bus to Salt Lake City. Rocky Mountaineer has five partner hotels in Denver, one of which is The Maven. You’ll arrive the day before your train journey begins and stay overnight in Denver. All aboard early in the morning to enjoy a fantastic breakfast onboard and an eight-hour train journey headed to Glenwood Springs, Colorado.
On Day One, you’ll get your choice of three breakfast dishes, after you enjoy a local pastry with hot coffee. You’ll savor not only the food but the beautiful Colorado scenery as you pass by, disconnecting to reconnect because there is no Wi-Fi on board. Later, you’ll enjoy a three-course lunch with your choice of local beer and wines. That’s our idea of a Rocky Mountain High!
Highlights from Day 1:
>Pass by the famous Coors Brewery in Golden, Colorado.
>Learn about David Moffat who built the railroad, the wealthiest man in Colorado who was a millionaire by the age of 18 due to his real estate career. The Moffat Tunnel, now owned by Denver Water, is 6.2 miles long which takes 15 minutes to pass through in which time you will pass under the Continental Divide.
>Pass by the Anderly family, caretakers of a Colorado valley, who wave to each train that goes by from outside their home.
The route runs April through October, and if you time it right, you’ll see the beautiful yellow aspen trees with the red rocks as a backdrop.
You’ll end the day’s journey in Glenwood Springs, where you will enjoy the small, walkable town where the train platform is right across the bridge from the partner hotels. The highlight is enjoying the famous hot springs pool which stays open until 9 p.m., a perfect soak after a full day on the rails. This is the world’s largest hot springs pool with a steady temperature of 93° in the football-field size part and a smaller pool heated up to 104°.
Highlights from Day 2:
>Rise bright and early for a 7 a.m. departure out of Glenwood Springs. You’ll enjoy coffee with a local pastry from Sweet Coloradough Bakery in Glenwood Springs, the “Dream Weaver” cinnamon roll. A sweet way to ride!
>Pass through the gorgeous Ruby Canyon on your way to Moab. The only way to see it is on the train or rafting. Bask in the gorgeous tiered red sandstone mountain structures. Right along the train track, you will see the original telegraph poles from the 1800s with colorful glass insulators.
>70% of Utah is public land which means Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land which is typically barren open land, and heaps of parks. Utah features five national parks!
>You’ll arrive in Moab Utah, known as a playground for adventure/ adrenaline seekers. Wander through Dead Horse Point State Park, spectacular and unforgiving land that overlooks Canyonlands State Park.
>Stay overnight at the Hoodoo Moab and visit the famous Arches National Park the next morning.
Interesting facts about the Rocky Mountaineer:
>The original rail cart was built in 1955.
>The train has a capacity for 300 guests with 54 seats in a Silverleaf coach.
>Choose the Rail package or a Classic package, depending on what suits your traveling needs.
>The U.S. route runs April through October, so plan ahead for 2023!
>No need to pack dinner clothes for each day of the journey. It’s perfectly acceptable to go to dinner each night in the casual and comfortable outfit that you wore during the day on the train.
>It’s definitely wise to have the Rocky Mountaineer schedule your hotels for each leg of the journey: Denver, Glenwood Springs, Moab and Salt Lake City.
>Once you arrive in Moab, make sure you are scheduled with Utah Luxury Tours, who partners with Rocky Mountaineer. You can choose from a variety of offerings to include visits to the many state and national parks (Dead Horse Point, Canyonlands and Arches to name a few) and learn about the history of the area and many little-known factoids.
Read more about the Canadian route of Rocky Mountaineer in this past issue. And watch our latest segment on San Antonio Living where we talk about suggestions for the best fall travel locations, to include Rocky Mountaineer.
Cover Photo Courtesy Rocky Mountaineer
Marika Flatt, Outstanding Austin Communicator 2021, is the Travel Editor of Texas Lifestyle Magazine. She began her travel writing career in 2002 with Austin Woman Magazine and now writes their “Texas Traveler” section. She can be seen as a contributor on TV shows across Texas, offering travel tips and spent five years as the voice of the “Weekend Trip Tip” on NPR’s Texas Standard.