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4345
Colorado

The Best of Colorado’s Historic Railroads

The story of Colorado is stitched together with mining seams and railroad lines. Come learn why as you ride historic trains, visit historic towns and witness grand feats of engineering.
Rating (5)
Program No. 4345RJ
Length
9 days
Starts at
3,399
Colorado

The Best of Colorado’s Historic Railroads

The story of Colorado is stitched together with mining seams and railroad lines. Come learn why as you ride historic trains, visit historic towns and witness grand feats of engineering.
Length
9 days
Starts at
3,399
Program No. 4345 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
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itinerary
Please Note:
The itinerary for this program is different on certain dates.
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Jun 24 - Jul 2, 2022
Starting at
3,399
Jul 15 - Jul 23, 2022
Starting at
3,399
Aug 5 - Aug 13, 2022
Starting at
3,399
Sep 9 - Sep 17, 2022
Starting at
3,399
Itinerary Note

This date features a special docent led visit to the historic Hotel de Paris in the town of Georgetown en lieu of the visit to the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden on the morning of Day 2.

Sep 16 - Sep 24, 2022
Starting at
3,399
Itinerary Note

This date features a special docent led visit to the historic Hotel de Paris in the town of Georgetown en lieu of the visit to the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden on the morning of Day 2.

Sep 23 - Oct 1, 2022
Starting at
3,399
Itinerary Note

This date features a special docent led visit to the historic Hotel de Paris in the town of Georgetown en lieu of the visit to the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden on the morning of Day 2.

DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Jun 24 - Jul 2, 2022
Starting at
4,149
Jul 15 - Jul 23, 2022
Starting at
4,149
Aug 5 - Aug 13, 2022
Starting at
4,149
Sep 9 - Sep 17, 2022
Starting at
4,149
Itinerary Note

This date features a special docent led visit to the historic Hotel de Paris in the town of Georgetown en lieu of the visit to the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden on the morning of Day 2.

Sep 16 - Sep 24, 2022
Starting at
4,149
Itinerary Note

This date features a special docent led visit to the historic Hotel de Paris in the town of Georgetown en lieu of the visit to the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden on the morning of Day 2.

Sep 23 - Oct 1, 2022
Starting at
4,149
Itinerary Note

This date features a special docent led visit to the historic Hotel de Paris in the town of Georgetown en lieu of the visit to the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden on the morning of Day 2.

At a Glance

From the summit of Pikes Peak to the depths of the Royal Gorge watch the Colorado landscapes paint a beautiful watercolor of greens and blues as you experience this region aboard historic trains. Deepen your understanding of the Rocky Mountains as you slow down the whizzing world around you to relive the glory days of train travel. Aboard historic railroads, wind your way through mining towns, join experts in history museums and study the impressive feats of engineering that have stood the test of time. On this train-and-coach journey, trace the parallel development of the railroads and of Colorado’s settlement, and discover what hidden gems lie in its modern cities. If learning and fun are what you’re after, you’re on the right track!
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to one-half mile on varied terrain. Climbing on/off motorcoach and railroad cars. Elevations of 5,000-14.115 feet.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Compare riding the brand new Pikes Peak Cog Railway with the historic Durango and Silverton, and Cumbres and Toltec steam powered narrow-gauge railways.
  • Experience the engineering marvel of Georgetown Loop as you cross bridges and climb the narrow canyon, and journey by 4x4 through the spectacular San Juan Mountains.
  • Ride along the Royal Gorge Route, Colorado’s oldest scenic railroad, to learn about its complicated history with the local railroad industry.

General Notes

Due to the nature of this program, listening devices are not available.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Al Dunton
For more than four decades, Al Dunton has been sharing his knowledge and passion for railroads with thousands of eager rail students and enthusiasts. He has lectured for Colorado State University (CSU) history classes, the CSU American West Lecture Series, and CSU continuing education courses. Al is the owner and managing editor of Centennial Publications, specializing in U.S. railroads, Colorado and western history. Al and his wife, Lynne, live in Fort Collins in their restored 1878 building.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Al Dunton
For more than four decades, Al Dunton has been sharing his knowledge and passion for railroads with thousands of eager rail students and enthusiasts. He has lectured for Colorado State University (CSU) history classes, the CSU American West Lecture Series, and CSU continuing education courses. Al is the owner and managing editor of Centennial Publications, specializing in U.S. railroads, Colorado and western history. Al and his wife, Lynne, live in Fort Collins in their restored 1878 building.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Georgetown Loop- A Capsule History and Guide
by State Historical Society of Colorado
A wonderful illustrated history published by the Colorado Historical Society, the owner of the Georgetown Loop Historic Mining and Railroad Park. Excellent coverage of gold and silver mining development, early Colorado railroad history, the building of the narrow gauge Colorado Central Railroad (later the Colorado & Southern) up Clear Creek, the Loop completed in 1884, and the mining towns of Georgetown and Silver Plume. Also covered is the development of the Historic Mining and Railroad Park in the 1970s and 1980s.
Tomboy Bride: A Woman's Personal Account of Life in Mining Camps of the West
by Harriet Fish Backus
Just after the San Francisco earthquake in 1906, twenty-year-old Harriett Fish took the train from Oakland to Denver to marry her fiancé George Backus. After the wedding, they journeyed by narrow gauge train to Telluride high in the San Juan Mountains. George was an assayer for the Tomboy, a silver and gold mine at timberline over 11,000 feet high. This is just over the ridge from the Yankee Boy Basin mining area we visit on our four-wheel drive trip. Author Harriett Fish Backus, describes their life in vivid detail. Over half the book covers their years at the Tomboy; also covered are their mining and milling experiences in British Columbia, Idaho, and back to Colorado. At the beginning of World War I, George pioneered the process still used today to concentrate molybdenum, a metal used to strengthen steel. This is the best book that covers everyday life in the mining camps of the West.
Rails Thru the Royal Gorge
by Doris B. Osterwald
The most spectacular scenic attraction in the West! Covered are 130 years of history about the world’s deepest gorge with a railroad, built in 1879, running through the bottom. Also includes a complete biography of Wm. Jackson Palmer, the story of the Denver and Rio Grande – Santa Fe ‘Royal Gorge War’, and the development of the new Royal Gorge Railway we ride through the bottom of the gorge. The Suspension Bridge, built in 1929, hovers 1,000 feet above the train we ride along the Arkansas River. The book includes over 200 B&W & color photos, detailed maps, charts and geological information.
All Aboard For America's Mountain
by Claude Wiatrowski
The Manitou and Pike's Peak Railway - the famous "Cog Wheel Route"! We climb to the top of 14,110 foot Pikes Peak on grades up to 25%. This is the official history and guidebook to the railway first opened in 1891. Lots of color as well as historic photos.
Ticket To Toltec: A Mile By Mile Guide for the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad
by Doris B. Osterwald
Everything you would ever want to know about the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad (C&TS). Includes the geology and geography of the area, detailed Denver and Rio Grande (D&RG) history, flora and fauna, operations and equipment, and a detailed mile-by-mile guide and maps of our route. Many historic and modern photos with a few in color. The definitive reference guide that satisfies rail fans and tourists alike.
Colorado Railroad Map
by Robert W. Richardson Library
Covers all known Colorado railroads both operating and abandoned. On the back are eight smaller historical maps. Probably the single most useful item you can have on our program. Shown are the railroads we visit. Our motor coach is also routed to follow other operating and abandoned grades where possible. NOTE: This map and all books on this list can be ordered from The Colorado Railroad Museum online: shop.coloradorailroadmuseum.org
Colorado's Colorful Characters
by Gladys R. Bueler
Outstanding illustrated narrative history of the men and women that shaped Colorado. Starting with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, interwoven are the stories of the explorers, mountain men, Native Americans, settlers, miners, railroad builders and industrialists. Included are the two major railroad builders we discuss, General William Jackson Palmer (Denver & Rio Grande) and Otto Mears (tollroads and four small narrow gauge).
Cinders and Smoke: A Mile by Mile Guide for the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
by Doris B. Osterwald
By the same author as Ticket to Toltec. Reference information about the Durango and Silverton (D&S) Narrow Gauge Railroad, another Denver and Rio Grande (D&RG) successor. Also includes brief histories of the two towns that the D&RG reached in 1881 and 1882. Highly recommended. This book is available at the Colorado Railroad Museum and at shops in Durango and Silverton. It is not available at the D&S gift shop or on the train.
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9 days
8 nights
21 meals
8 B 7 L 6 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Dinner, Presentation
Denver, CO
D
Hilton Garden Inn - DIA

Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration. After you have your room assignment, join us at the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing the up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. Orientation. 4:00 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. As a special feature of this program, we will be accompanied throughout by a Colorado history and railroad expert who will serve as our resident instructor, provide commentary en route, and lead field trips. Travel and transfers other than railroad field trips will be by comfortable motorcoach. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: In the hotel dining room, we'll enjoy a plated meal catered by the hotel with salad, entrée, and choice of soft drinks, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Our resident Colorado Railroad expert's introductory lecture this evening will begin the fascinating journey of discovery for the amazing rail adventures ahead. Our expert will accompany us throughout the entire program and provide vivid descriptions along the route. Often in the motorcoach, we'll learn the fascinating history of Colorado and the impacts railroads made on the settlement of the state. The remainder of the evening will be at leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night's rest for the day ahead. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
2
Colorado Railroad Museum / Georgetown Loop Narrow Gauge RR
Colorado Springs, CO
B,L,D
Hyatt Place Colorado Springs

Activity note: Walking about 1 mile total for the day; standing for a total of about 1 hour; gravel or paved sidewalks/paths with some stairs. Getting on/off motorcoach and train; driving approximately 80 miles total; about 1 hour in morning and 1.5 hours in afternoon, with stops. Train ride is about 12 miles; approximately 1.5 hours roundtrip.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the hot and cold breakfast buffet includes juices, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we'll board our motorcoach for a field trip to the Colorado Railroad Museum in the town of Golden, a former important mill town at the foot of the Rockies. Most participants prefer to navigate this museum independently, but our resident expert will accompany those who want more information. We’ll explore key areas of the 15-acre museum, which collects over 100 narrow and standard gauge steam and diesel locomotives, passenger cars, and cabooses. They offer a unique opportunity for experiencing visual history by showcasing the state’s important role in the railroad industry. Next, we’ll transfer to the well-preserved Victorian mining town of Georgetown, nestled in the mountains at an elevation of 8,530 feet (2,600 meters).

Lunch: At a restaurant in Georgetown, we’ll order from the menu, soft drinks and water included.

Afternoon: After taking a few minutes after lunch to walk around and view the historic downtown surrounded by the rugged mountains, we’ll then take our first historic railway field trip aboard the Georgetown Loop Narrow Gauge Railroad. An impressive engineering feat, this railroad connecting the towns of Georgetown and Silver Plume became a popular attraction in Colorado after it was completed in 1884. Though only 2 miles apart as the crow flies, the railroad is twice that length as it navigates the narrow canyon of Clear Creek up steep grades totaling a 600-foot gain in elevation with switchback turns. Of the four bridges crossed along the wending journey, one is the Devil’s Gate High Bridge at 95 feet high over the gorge. Following our train ride, we'll continue our journey to Colorado Springs via motorcoach.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we'll enjoy a plated meal with salad and an entrée, plus a choice of soft drinks, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Pikes Peak/ Garden of the Gods/ Glen Eyrie/ Broadmoor Hotel
Colorado Springs, CO
B,L,D
Hyatt Place Colorado Springs

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach and train; driving approximately 10 miles throughout the day; about 1 hour total, with stops. Walking up to 1/2 mile during field trips; standing up to 1 hour throughout the day; steps in museum, hotel, and castle. Elevation on summit of Pikes Peak 14,115 feet.

Breakfast: In the hotel, the hot and cold breakfast buffet includes juices, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We’ll board our motorcoach and travel with viewing stops through the Garden of the Gods, so named by a surveyor in 1859 who said it was a fit place for the Gods to assemble. Now a registered National Natural Landmark, there are dramatic views of towering 300' sandstone rock formations in the foreground and Pikes Peak in the background. We then head to Manitou Springs for a field trip riding the Cog Railway to 14,115 feet Pikes Peak Summit, where Katharine Lee Bates was inspired to write her famous poem, “America the Beautiful.” Newly re-opened and refurbished in 2021, the Pikes Peak Cog railroad uses a “cog wheel” gear meshing into a special rack rail mounted between the outer rails, which allow climbing much steeper grades than a standard adhesion railroad. The first passenger train made it to the summit on June 30, 1891. A lively narration from the conductor will inform participants about the scenery and history. We re-board our motorcoach for the short trip across the city to the world-famous Broadmoor Hotel.

Lunch: At the popular Golden Bee English restaurant on the Broadmoor Grounds, we’ll enjoy a plated lunch with lemonade, iced tea, coffee, water included.

Afternoon: Businessman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Spencer Penrose built the Broadmoor in 1918 with the goal of making it the finest hotel in the U.S. It was certainly grand for its day: designed by the same architects who created the Ritz-Carlton and Biltmore hotels; with thousands of surrounding acres landscaped by Frederick Law Olmstead of NY Central Park fame; and filled with artwork from Europe and the Far East. Many visitors came for the clean mountain air, thought to provide relief from tuberculosis and other maladies, and stayed for the exceptional hospitality. The Broadmoor is now a member of Historic Hotels of America of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. We’ll enjoy a stroll around this historic structure and beautiful grounds. Our next stop is the Glen Eyrie estate, popularly known as the Castle. It began as the estate of Civil War veteran General William Jackson Palmer, founder of several railroads and the city of Colorado Springs. The name refers to the eagle's nest that overlooks the canyon. The original frame house was enlarged and remodeled in 1881 to resemble a Tudor-style castle. With a local guide and our resident expert, we’ll explore the beautiful castle and grounds. We return to our hotel.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we'll enjoy a plated meal with salad and an entrée, plus a choice of soft drinks, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
4
Royal Gorge Railroad; Dinosaur Experience; San Luis Valley
Alamosa, CO
B,L,D
Comfort Inn Alamosa

Activity note: Walking about 1 mile throughout the day; standing for approximately 1 hour total; gravel or paved sidewalks/paths with some stairs. Getting on/off motorcoach and train; driving approximately 140 miles total; about 1 hour in morning and 2 hours in afternoon, with stops. Morning train ride is about 30 miles, approximately 2 hours; Elevations up to 7,543 feet.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Boarding our motorcoach, we depart for the 40 or so minute drive to Canon City. Our resident expert will brief us along the way about the history and sights to come. Then we climb aboard one of Colorado's most scenic trains for a 24-mile journey through the spectacular Royal Gorge. The Royal Gorge Route Railroad was established in 1879, making it Colorado’s oldest scenic railroad as well as one of the most exhilarating rides. Learn about its dramatic, complex, sometimes violent history as we traverse tracks that follow the Arkansas River amid 1,000-foot granite cliffs. A unique feature is the suspension bridge devised to transit the narrowest point in the gorge. Following our train journey we re-board our motorcoach and travel a short distance to our lunch stop.

Lunch: We’ll enjoy boxed lunches with sandwiches, fruit, chips, dessert, and bottled water.

Afternoon: Our lunch stop is at the Canon City Dinosaur Experience. Following lunch, we will have time to explore the 10,000 square feet museum featuring dinosaurs that once lived in the area. Dinosaurs continue to be discovered locally, and the interesting stories of their discovery are also featured in the museum. Following our visit and lunch, we re-board our motorcoach to Alamosa our destination for the night. Alamosa is located in the historic San Luis Valley. At altitudes above 7,000 feet the San Luis Valley is technically a high desert, but the surface is underlain by shallow aquifers that in places form lakes, marshlands, and warm springs. The valley is surrounded by spectacular mountain ranges that will punctuate the drive. We also travel “Los Caminos Antiguos”, a network of ancient trails that live on as modern paved highways, following the footsteps of Apaches and Utes, Spanish missionaries, and Western explorers such as Zebulon Pike and Kit Carson, settlers, Buffalo Soldiers, miners, and railroaders.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we'll enjoy a plated meal with salad and an entrée, plus a choice of soft drinks, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
5
Cumbres & Toltec Narrow Gauge Railroad, To Durango
Durango, CO
B,L
Best Western Plus Rio Grande Inn

Activity note: Walking about 1/2 mile throughout the day; standing for 1 hour total; gravel or paved sidewalks/paths with some stairs. Getting on/off motorcoach and train; driving approximately 140 miles total; about 1/2 hour in the morning and 2.5 hours in the afternoon, with stops. Train ride is approximately 40 miles; about 5 hours with lunch stop of 1 hour. Elevations up to 10,015 feet.

Breakfast: In the hotel, the breakfast buffet includes hot and cold items, juices, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We depart from Alamosa via motorcoach for a scenic drive along the San Luis Valley and Cumbres Pass to the town of Chama, NM, where we board the Cumbres and Toltec Historic Narrow-Gauge Railroad. Step back in time as the steam engines starts their winding journeys to the top of Cumbres Pass. The line was constructed in 1880 as an extension of the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad, but its gauge of only 3 feet between the rails — rather than what would soon become the standard of just under 5 feet — made it an anachronism almost from the start. Nevertheless, it operated off and on until the 1960s, and was on the verge of being completely abandoned and dismantled until a group of enthusiastic railroad enthusiasts persuaded the states of Colorado and New Mexico to purchase the most scenic stretch of the line. Congress authorized an interstate agency to operate it in 1974, while a non-profit organization preserves these assets for the public as a living history museum that interprets railroad history and heritage. The Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad’s equipment and structures, and the vast landscape of the Colorado and New Mexico border, exist today as they were generations ago. During our ride, participants will have assigned seats but may wander to the open observation car, and snack bar where food and drink items are available for purchase. Our resident expert will accompany the group and strategically locate himself in an announced location for narration and to answer questions.

Lunch: Arriving at Osier Station, the extensive lunch buffet offers multiple tasty entrées — all made from scratch in the Osier kitchen — plus a large salad bar, dessert bar, and choice of beverage.

Afternoon: We’ll re-board our train and continue our journey to Cumbres Pass. Our train ride ends at the top of Cumbres Pass (10,015' elevation) where we disembark and transfer by our motorcoach to Durango, arriving late afternoon.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like in Durango. The hotel is in walking distance of the colorful Victorian downtown with numerous restaurants and shops. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
6
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge RR, Million Dollar Highway
Ouray, CO
B,L,D
Ouray Chalet Inn

Activity note: Walking about 1/2 mile throughout the day; standing for approximately 1 hour total; gravel or paved sidewalks/paths with some stairs. Getting on/off motorcoach and train; driving approximately 60 miles total; about 1.5 hours in the afternoon, with stops. Train ride is approximately 50 miles; about 3 hours. Elevations up to 9,305 feet.

Breakfast: In the hotel, the breakfast buffet includes hot and cold items, juices, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Back aboard the motorcoach after checkout, we’ll make the short transfer to the train station. Prior to boarding the train, and some may enjoy a self-led visit to the roundhouse museum while others may enjoy the book and gift shop in the historic train depot. The Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad has been in continuous operation since 1882, taking passengers and mine ores from Durango at an altitude 6,512 feet to Silverton at 9,305 feet. In addition to a federally designated National Historic Landmark status, the American Society of Civil Engineers recognized it as an historic civil engineering landmark. National Geographic Traveler has also been named one of the Top Ten North American Train Trips. We will have the same kind of experience as passengers of old, boarding at the original 1882 depot and riding the line pulled by a vintage steam locomotive. The leisurely pace of about 18 miles an hour provides wonderful opportunities to appreciate the spectacular scenery experienced by Native Americans, settlers, cowboys, and miners. Participants will have ticketed assigned seats. The conductor will give narration along the route and our resident expert will circulate for commentary and to answer questions. We’ll get off the train upon arrival in Silverton and walk the short distance to our lunch venue.

Lunch: At a popular restaurant in the historic Grand Imperial Hotel in Silverton, we’ll have a buffet lunch with lemonade, iced tea, coffee, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After enjoying some time strolling downtown Silverton’s Historic District, we’ll board our motorcoach and drive along the most spectacular highway journey of our program, the “Million Dollar Highway” (U.S. Route 550) to Ouray. Built in the 1930s, the 25-mile stretch follows the old miners’ trail through the magnificent San Juan Mountains, some of the most rugged and scenic of all Colorado's mountain ranges. The highway cuts through steep cliffs in several places with hairpin turns that might give you a few butterflies, but the reward in awesome views makes it well worthwhile. Late melting snows encourage Summer wildflowers, while stands of Aspen trees turn golden in the Fall. We check into our hotel in late afternoon.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll have plated meal with salad, a choice of entrée, and choice of soft drinks, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
7
Yankee Boy Basin Field Trip, Ridgway Railroad Museum
Ouray, CO
B,L
Ouray Chalet Inn

Activity note: Walking about 1 mile throughout the day; standing for approximately 1 hour total; gravel or paved sidewalks/paths with some stairs. Getting on/ off motorcoach and 4-wheel-drive vehicles; driving approximately 30 miles total; about 1 hour in afternoon, with stops. 4WD ride is approximately 20 miles; about 3 hours. Elevations up to 12,526 feet.

Breakfast: We’ll walk to a local restaurant and order plated meals from a select menu, with juice, coffee, tea, water included.

Morning: Ouray is sometimes called the Switzerland of America for its alpine landscape surrounded by mountains. Among the many natural wonders is Uncompahgre National Forest covering more than 950,000 acres and Yankee Boy Basin within the forest. We will board specially converted 4-wheel-drive vehicles and take a safe and exciting journey to the beautiful alpine meadows at 12,526 feet. Driving up and along Canyon Creek, we’ll travel under dramatic cliffs, past the lower Camp Bird Mine, through the ghost town of Sneffels, past the Revenue, Atlas and Ruby Trust mines, and up to the beautiful Twin Falls surrounded by rugged mountain peaks. Arriving at the Basin, in summer we will be surrounded by fabulous wildflowers including the Colorado state flower, the Blue Columbine. In autumn, the magnificent fall colors of golden aspen and red shrubs await. Camp Bird Mine, which we passed en route, is one of the most famous and highly productive old gold mines in the San Juan Mountains. It was discovered in 1896 by Irish immigrant Thomas F. Walsh, who became one of the richest men in America and — highly unusual for his time — a progressive advocate for laborers. As a result, Camp Bird Mine did not experience the violent strikes that many western mines of the era underwent. We’ll then hop board our motorcoach for a short ride to the town of Ridgway.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll have plated lunches including salad, choice of entrée, and choice of soft drinks, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll ride our motorcoach or walk the short distance to the Ridgway Railroad Museum, dedicated to preserving Colorado railroad history with a focus on restoration, education, and research. Our resident expert will lead our walk through the facility. Those who wish to may choose to explore the collection independently. The site includes railroad equipment, artifacts, plus exhibits and displays of railroad rolling stock. Most famous is the museum's "Galloping Goose" rail-motorcar — a unique combination of locomotives and cars designed and built by adapting gasoline powered autos and trucks into small rail vehicles. Returning to Ouray, the remainder of the afternoon will be free to enjoy on your own. Our resident expert will give recommendations about local historic sites and museums.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Evening: At leisure. Ouray, named for the most famous chief of the Ute people, has much to offer for a small mining town. About two-thirds of the original Victorian structures are still occupied and have been restored. You might like to visit the Ouray County Museum housed in the original St. Joseph Miners’ Hospital or take a dip in the famous, sulfur-free Hot Springs Pool (open until 10:00 p.m.). Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
8
Ute History Museum, Redstone, Return to Denver
Denver, CO
B,L,D
Hilton Garden Inn - DIA

Activity note: Walking about 1/2 mile throughout the day; standing for approximately 1 hour total; gravel or paved sidewalks/paths with some stairs. Getting on/off motorcoach; driving approximately 300 miles total; about 1.5 hours in the morning and 3 hours in afternoon, with stops. Elevations up to 11,158 feet.

Breakfast: We’ll walk to a local restaurant and order plated meals from a select menu, with juice, coffee, tea, water included.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we’ll board the motorcoach for a drive to Montrose and the Ute Indian Museum. While here, we’ll gain a deeper understanding of the native peoples of Colorado through commentary provided by docents about the history and the living culture of Colorado's longest continuous residents. As expressed by the museum, “exhibitions focus on the Ute peoples' history of adaptation and persistence, and unfold around a central theme of geography, highlighting significant locations in Ute history and Ute cultural survival, political self-determination, economic opportunity and the celebration of the Bear Dance.” We’ll then continue our journey via motorcoach and make a stop at the summit of McClure Pass at an elevation 8,755 feet before continuing to the town of Redstone. The tiny town of Redstone was created by John Cleveland Osgood, one of the 19th century’s richest “robber barons.” Completed in 1902, it was intended to be a utopian community for workers connected to Osgood’s coal mining enterprise.

Lunch: At the historic Redstone Inn, we’ll have a plated lunch featuring a choice of entrée, salad, and choice of lemonade or iced tea, water included.

Afternoon: The final leg of our journey back to Denver via motorcoach travels by way of Glenwood Canyon, a scenic byway with a uniquely engineered section of Interstate 70. We’ll pass the ski resorts of Beaver Creek, Vail, Copper Mountain, and Loveland along the route, as well as drive through the Eisenhower Tunnel. With a maximum elevation of 11,158 feet above sea level, it is one of the highest vehicular tunnels in the world. The tunnel is the longest mountain tunnel and highest point on the Interstate Highway system. Completed in 1979, it was one of the last major pieces of the Interstate Highway system to be completed. We will arrive in the late afternoon at our hotel and check in.

Dinner: In the hotel dining room, we’ll enjoy a buffet meal catered by the hotel with beverage table service including a salad and entrée, plus soft drinks, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. Share some of your favorite experiences from the program with new Road Scholar friends as we reflect on our journey.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

DAY
9
Program Concludes
Denver, CO
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 10:00 a.m.

Breakfast: In the hotel, the hot and cold breakfast buffet includes egg dishes prepared to order, juices, coffee, tea, water. This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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