A New Way to Experience the Landscapes of the West – Train Travel

All Aboard! I felt the acquainted jolt of ahead momentum because the prepare slowly began to roll. A whistle blew, and the prepare ever so slowed began to rock forwards and backwards creaking on the tracks because the metal-on-metal friction started. I regarded out my massive window fascinated about my upcoming journey and took within the final squinting have a look at the purple rocks of Moab and Arches Nationwide Park as we pulled away and began our journey in direction of Denver. 

The Rocky Mountaineer prepare service between Denver and Moab is the latest technique to get via the scenic Rocky Mountains. Positive – there are sooner methods, however that is undoubtedly essentially the most scenic technique to make the journey, and doubtless the should snug!

As somebody who began my profession working at a railroad, I like trains and have usually wished that America had extra prepare routes via our attractive panorama. You will discover scenic quick strains that solely take an hour or two, however this new Denver to the Pink Rocks route promised an actual journey, with two equally thrilling locations at both finish.  

The 2-day Rocky Mountaineer journey guarantees limitless foods and drinks, commentary on the area, consolation, and larger-than-life panoramic home windows. There’s an in a single day keep in Glenwood Springs so that you’ll all the time have daylight to benefit from the views – an expensive alternative solely afforded to Rocky Mountaineer passengers. 

As a part of an extended journey – it might function the proper ending or starting to an extended journey within the West. 

I arrived in Moab for a number of days previous to my prepare ticket so I might benefit from the parks and take in the environment of this distinctive a part of the nation. Whether or not you might be beginning in Moab like me, or arriving in Moab – you’ll wish to plan some further time round this charming city.  After all, the 2 nationwide parks are the draw to this area, but it surely additionally has many different adventures for all pursuits.  And don‘t overlook the scrumptious eating places, and procuring. 

Arches Nationwide Park

The principle spotlight of Arches is driving the 18-mile scenic park highway to see among the 2,000 arches within the park.  You is perhaps questioning what makes one thing an arch:  

  1. You may have to have the ability to see via it.
  2. It must be a minimum of 3 toes in top or width
  3. It’s a steady slab of rock with no operating water going via it (that is known as a bridge!)

Delicate Arch is by far essentially the most well-known, however why? It’s not solely used because the image of Moab and sometimes the state of Utah, but it surely’s the one free-standing arch on the planet. 

I didn’t do the hike to Delicate Arch on account of time constraints and as a substitute considered it from a distance. I like to get off the crushed path at any time when I can so I selected to self-drive to some lesser-known arches. You’ll want a 4WD rental to go on the dust roads round Arches Nationwide Park, but it surely’s undoubtedly price it as a result of a 4WD automobile will take you away from the crowds and into extra distant areas of the park. 

1.4 million individuals go to Arches Nationwide Park annually and just one% of them enterprise onto the again roads of the park. It was these again roads the place I had one of the best views of Balancing Rock and was in a position to get pleasure from some quick hikes to hidden arches like Whales Eye Arch.

A New Way to Experience the Landscapes of the West – Train Travel

Canyonlands Nationwide Park

I additionally suggest taking a 4WD automotive into Canyonlands Nationwide Park as a result of Potash Street and driving Shafer Path had been a spotlight for me to expertise this rugged panorama. It’s there the place you’ll first are available contact with the Colorado River because it snakes round carving tall canyon partitions. Be sure to cease on the Thelma and Louis cliff to see over the sting in case you dare. And solely drive the Shafer Path if you’re snug with slim mountain roads, hairpin turns, and no guard rails!

Horseback Using

In the event you would fairly let another person do the main, go to the purple rock panorama by horseback. I took a sundown tour at Pink Cliffs Lodge simply 20 minutes outdoors of Moab alongside the Colorado River. The ranch has some nice driving horses, light, but you weren’t on full autopilot. The paths wound again across the valley between two massive buttes and supplied numerous twists, turns, ups and downs and even a stream. 

This family-owned lodge supplies the proper mixture of rustic luxurious to enrich your prepare journey. My personal patio had an unimaginable view of the river and the cliffs.  Truthfully, there was no poor view on the whole property! The swimming pool, rooms, cabins, and even the stables had unimaginable views. I like to recommend making the night much more memorable with dinner on the deck whereas the solar goes down throwing shadows throughout the fin rocks within the distance. It was type of like watching puffy clouds and utilizing your creativeness yelling out shapes you see.  

A New Way to Experience the Landscapes of the West – Train Travel

Strolling Most important Avenue

The Rocky Mountaineer doesn’t depart Moab till 2 PM, so that is the proper morning to have a sluggish breakfast at Love Muffin Café, and stroll across the outlets.  My favourite cease was at Moab Made, a retailer filled with inventive merchandise from native artists. From artwork to jewellery to pottery, you’ll discover distinctive presents right here you gained’t discover in some other retailer.  Every native artist mainly sells on consignment, all superbly curated by Moab Made. There’s additionally loads of Native American artwork shops, gear shops, clothes, and cafés alongside Most important Avenue. 

I ended within the quirky Moab Meals Truck Park seeking a fast lite chunk for lunch and a few shade. Fortunately, that they had each. It was good to walk round all morning since I knew my afternoon can be spent sitting on the prepare. I additionally made positive to not overindulge within the many meals decisions as a result of I knew there can be a lot to eat on our journey.

What to Count on on the Rocky Mountaineer Luxurious Practice


That is the great thing about this journey – the views. I watched because the Pink Rocks of Moab gave technique to the desert, then to the luxurious farmland of Colorado’s western slope, we climbed up into the mountains, via canyons, subsequent to cliff partitions, via ski cities, beneath the continental divide, after which drop into the flat prairie past Denver. 

Due to the best way the vehicles are designed, there is no such thing as a unhealthy seat on the prepare! The home windows virtually go from ground to ceiling, providing you with an expansive view to get pleasure from. I additionally seen once we left Glenwood Springs that they cleaned the home windows in a single day which was an ideal contact.   

A New Way to Experience the Landscapes of the West – Train Travel

Seating and Automobiles

You may have one major assigned seat the place you eat and may drink.  There isn’t a eating automotive, you might be served at your seat, much like an airplane.  The leather-based seats are snug and could be adjusted ahead or backward. There’s an influence plug in every seat so you’ll be able to maintain your telephone charged for taking loads of images and movies. There’s additionally ample leg house to place your carry-on bag and have loads of room to maneuver round.  

There’s a lounge automotive out there to solely Silverleaf Plus passengers.  The lounge automotive has plush seats, small tables and a bartender at your disposal at any time. It’s good to have the ability to have a bit of change of inside surroundings every so often!

A New Way to Experience the Landscapes of the West – Train Travel

Meals and Drink

This is likely one of the issues Rocky Mountaineer excels at.  Not solely do they serve a number of programs, however additionally they have a menu that features native producers from the area you might be touring via.  This can be a beautiful contact supporting these small companies alongside the route. 

There isn’t a eating automotive or kitchen, so the meals is ready in every automotive, and is much like first-class airplane meals and repair. I totally loved the Epic Brewing “Escape to Colorado” pale ale braised quick ribs, with roasted San Luis Valley roasted potatoes and a glass of Malbec. Count on linen napkins, a charcuterie platter, bottomless wine, a well-rounded major dish and dessert from the Aspen bakery. 

Cocktails are additionally out there for the whole journey.  Bloody Mary with my breakfast? Sure, thanks!

A New Way to Experience the Landscapes of the West – Train Travel


One other signal of luxurious was the sleek transfers of bags every day.  Once we pulled as much as the century-old prepare station in Glenwood Springs, I might see my lodge for the night time proper outdoors my window throughout from the prepare station.  It doesn’t get a lot simpler than that.  Nevertheless, it did get even simpler – they handed out our room keys on the prepare and we didn’t even must undergo the method of checking in.  

Once I opened the door to my room at historic Lodge Denver, my checked bag was already inside ready for me. And within the morning once I left, I simply left that greater bag in my room and so they took care of getting it on the prepare.  This allowed me to have extra time exploring the city within the morning.  

If you wish to get a visible concept of the journey, watch the day by day tales I created on Instagram.

1Moffat Tunnel

This 6-mile tunnel beneath the Continental Divide is a type of nice engineering feats.  Who knew that darkness may very well be so cool?  It actually does really feel like an entire completely different world while you emerge into the sunshine once more!

2Gore Canyon

One among my favourite issues in regards to the journey via Colorado was once we went via the areas the place it was unattainable to construct roads.  This meant I used to be in a position to see elements of Colorado, like Gore Canyon, that solely individuals taking the prepare might see.  

I by no means knew that such a deep rapid-filled canyon existed alongside the Colorado River till our prepare tracks squeezed into the slim canyon proper subsequent to the river with towering partitions on each side of us. 

It was additionally shocking to me to be taught there have been rapids designated as Class V+! These well-known Gore Canyon rapids run for 9 miles and are meant just for specialists. 

3Glenwood Canyon and I70

The 16 mile Glenwood Canyon is one other engineering feat of mass proportions.  This canyon one way or the other has match railroad tracks, the Colorado River, and a four-lane interstate via a slim canyon. It’s so slim that the interstate lanes are stacked on high of one another which is stacked over the river!  The steep canyon partitions are additionally the signal of frequent mud slides, so be ready to go sluggish via this part, which is the precise manner you wish to expertise Glenwood Canyon – slowly.

4Glenwood Springs

The city was made well-known by their therapeutic sizzling springs.  Created in 1885 with the purpose of changing into a world-class wellness resort, the Glenwood Hot Spring Pools are a central a part of the city.  When you have time, a soak within the mineral wealthy sizzling spring swimming pools is simply what you want after a protracted day on the prepare ingesting, consuming, and stress-free!

5Grand Mesa and Palisades

That is the bread basket of Colorado, and it’s nice to see all of the inexperienced fields from the prepare.  As well as, that is the place you additionally get an ideal have a look at the Grand Mesa, the most important flat topped mountain on the planet. Grand Mesa boasts greater than 300 stream-fed alpine lakes at elevations over 11,000 toes. It drops off abruptly into Palisade and instantly the farming takes over.  

6Colorado River

For almost all of the journey, you’ll comply with the mighty Colorado River.  I beloved seeing the varied sides of the river – some highly effective and a few light.  Fishermen and rafters waved to us as we handed by reminding me that this panorama is vital for thus many teams. I’ve all the time felt just like the Colorado River was such an vital a part of Colorado; and from the prepare home windows you would see the various methods it was utilized by Coloradans.

Denver to Las Vegas an Epic Western US Journey

Despite the fact that I solely skilled a number of days of the Rockies to the Pink Rocks with Rocky Mountaineer journey provided by Enchanting Travels I used to be in a position to get an ideal really feel for his or her service stage. In reality, my Enchanting Travels Journey Coordinator contacted me a number of instances throughout my journey to make sure that every little thing was okay, and to verify final minute modifications I made to my itinerary. It’s not usually which you could make final minute modifications as you might be boarding the airplane, however I texted my coordinator as I obtained on the airplane and by the point I disembarked the airplane I already had a message again confirming the change. Now that’s service. 

My 5 Prime Ideas for Using the Rocky Mountaineer Denver to the Pink Rocks

  • Convey a swimsuit and take a dip within the Glenwood Scorching Springs – the most important sizzling spring pool on the planet.  Touring westward, you arrive in Glenwood Springs round 5 or 6pm and have time for a dinner and soak.  
  • Convey layers for the prepare.  Generally it was actually chilly, and typically it was sizzling because of the massive home windows. It’s finest to have a sweater/fleece in your carry-on bag to layer up when the AC is on.
  • Take photos the place you’ll be able to keep away from the window glare.  The very best pictures might be from the open-air vestibule that you’re allowed to occupy in between vehicles. It’s loud, however the photos might be price it!
  • Convey your endurance – you aren’t in a rush.  The common velocity of the prepare is 35 mph. As well as, it has to cease often for different freight trains or staff on the tracks. Simply sit again, loosen up, and order one other cocktail.
  • There isn’t a WiFi – and also you gained’t miss it in any respect!  There are such a lot of different issues to get pleasure from and views to oooh and aaahhh about.

I felt fortunate to be one of many first individuals to do that epic prepare route.  Despite the fact that I had pushed from Denver to Moab many instances, this was completely different. It was an opportunity to decelerate and actually admire the distinctive panorama. I felt it sink into my imaginative and prescient like by no means earlier than because of these massive home windows and our nice tempo of journey.  Sluggish journey permits us to soak up our environment and actually admire them.  

The Rocky Mountaineer isn’t about getting from Denver to Moab, it’s a few journey via the Colorado Rockies and its ever-changing landscapes. 

View the total itinerary right here.

Ranking 5/5

A New Way to Experience the Landscapes of the West – Train Travel

Sherry OttSherry Ott is a long-term traveler, blogger, and photographer with one purpose in thoughts – to make you would like you had been someplace else.  She has been writing about her journey way of life and around the world adventures on Ottsworld.com and her social media channels since 2006. In her 11 years of residing nomadically she’s circled the globe a number of instances, visiting all 7 continents. She lived in Vietnam, hiked the Annapurna Circuit along with her father, completed the ten,000 mile Mongol Rally, walked the Camino de Santiago, kayaked in Antarctica, herded reindeer within the Arctic, and drove an auto-rickshaw throughout India. She continues to hunt out epic adventures to intriguing locations to encourage individuals to beat their fears and reap the advantages of journey.

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