We know that Colorado gets really into Christmas. But did you know that our state is home to many Christmas trains including the famous Polar Express replicated from the movie? With Santa meet-and-greets, light shows, Christmas trees and more, our railroad companies do a spectacular job of making the holiday season truly magical. So this year, make sure you take a ride before tickets sell out. I mean, how many people can say they’ve actually traveled to the North Pole?

READ: The Most Christmas-y Places To Eat and Drink in Denver

The Polar Express

Polar Express. Photo provided by Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.

Train: Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
When: November 17, 2017 – January 2, 2018
Cost: $32-$55 for adult coach. Ticket prices depend on travel day.
Trip: Durango, Colorado to Cascade Canyon (“North Pole”)
Duration: 1 hour round trip
For more info: Visit durangotrain.com or call 1-888-872-4607.

Holiday festivities: Returning for its 13th consecutive year, the Polar Express is back in southwestern Colorado. Based off the best-selling children’s book and Academy Award®-winning animated film, the Polar Express is the real deal and American Heritage Railways would know—since they own the rights from Warner Bros. for replicating the movie. Leaving from the station in downtown Durango, this train journey nails every detail from the beloved Christmas story—passengers get to meet Billy, drink hot chocolate and eat cookies, see a Tom Hanks look-alike, receive a silver bell and you betcha—travel to the North Pole aboard the Polar Express.

According to Allen Harper, the Co-Owner, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the rail company, 1.2 million people will board the Polar Express in North America at 45 railroads in the United States, Canada and the UK. Colorado’s lucky Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is one of them.

Passengers on the Polar Express in Colorado will journey to Cascade Canyon, an area along the traditional rail route, that’s replicated to resemble the North Pole with thousands of Christmas lights synchronized the movie music, sets replicated from the movie, Santa Claus and more.

The best part? Just like in the Polar Express, travelers to the North Pole get to wear their pajamas and the train company encourages people to get comfy. If you forget, you can even buy some at the gift shop in Durango before you depart. Both young passengers and adults are overcome with Christmas spirit on the Polar Express, so make sure you check it out.

“One trip on the Polar Express and you’ll know what Christmas really means,” Harper said.

Christmas Tree Train

Train: Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
When: December 9 and 10, 2017
Cost: $65 for standard adult reservation plus $8 tree permit
Trip: Durango, Colorado to Cascade Canyon (“North Pole”)
Duration: 5 hours round trip
For more info: Visit durangotrain.com or call 1-888-872-4607.

Holiday festivities: Make sure you have a beautiful Christmas tree, but don’t scrounge around a tree lot this year, go cut down your own. Colorado is home to some truly beautiful species of conifers, so the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad decided to turn one of its trains into the Christmas Tree Train for a weekend during December. This special voyage allows passengers to journey into Cascade Canyon in the San Juan Mountains and cut down small white fir trees and bring them home on the train. And it’s not bad for the environment either. By removing a tree, you are actually preventing wildfire danger along the railroad. Trees cut down can be up to 20’ tall.  Once in the canyon you can also enjoy a hot beverage and warm up by the fireplace near the gorgeous Animas River.

Santa Express

Santa Express. Photo provided by Royal Gorge Route Railroad.

Train: Royal Gorge Route Railroad
When: November 16 – December 24, 2017 and December 26 – 30, 2017
Cost: $40-$49 for adult coach. Ticket prices depend on travel day.
Trip: Cañon City, Colorado to Parkdale, Colorado 
Duration:
 1.5 hours
For more info: 
Visit royalgorgeroute.com or call 719-276-4000.

Holiday festivities: Ride through the Royal Gorge in your PJs this holiday season on the Santa Express Train. Travelers will get to meet Santa himself when they arrive at the North Pole, which is decorated with thousands of lights. He even walks through every train car to bring each child a gift. Along the way, passengers will get complimentary hot cocoa and cookies, and can listen to holiday stories and sing Christmas carols with the elves. You can also order drinks from the bar including holiday cocktails, microbrews and wine, and order locally sourced lunch or dinner. The Santa Express really is magical, plus the journey through the gorge is stunning all covered in snow.

Santa Train

Santa Train. Photo provided by Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad.

Train: Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad
When: From Antonito on December 9 and 10, 2017. From Chama on December 16 and 17, 2017.
Cost: $5 per adult. Free for children 12 and under. 
Trip: Antonito, Colorado to the Ferguson Trestle or Chama, New Mexico to the Lobato Trestle 
Duration: 1 hour round trip for each
For more info: Visit cumbrestoltec.com or call 1-888-286-2737.

Holiday festivities: Starting its journey in 1992, the Santa Train ride on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad most recently became a charity benefit train in 2014, so that more children can enjoy the gifts that Santa brings and have food this winter. According to John Bush, the President of the railroad, “A donation of either a non-perishable food item or a new-boxed toy per person is requested. All food and toy donations are distributed to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation from Antonito and the Antonito Food Bank to recipients in the local area.”

Passengers will experience the winter wonderland of southern Colorado or northern New Mexico, meet Santa and Mrs. Claus as they ride the train and take pictures with them, and enjoy hot cocoa, candy canes and other holiday treats. Give back to your community this year aboard the Santa Train. It will definitely get you in the Christmas spirit. And tickets are only $5.

Santa’s North Pole Adventure

Santa’s North Pole Adventure. Photo provided by Georgetown Loop Railroad.

Train: Georgetown Loop Railroad
When: November 18 – December 31, 2017
Cost: $28.95  for adult coach.
Trip: Georgetown, Colorado to Silver Plume, Colorado
Duration: 1 hour round trip
For more info: Visit georgetownlooprr.com or call 1-888-456-6777.

Holiday festivities: Historic Georgetown, Colorado is continually ranked as one of the best Christmas towns in the state, and we’re not surprised that its Georgetown Loop Railroad gets all decked up for the holiday season. Santa’s North Pole Adventure is a merry adventure with Santa Claus, hot cocoa and cookies, and passengers 12 and under will receive a special gift from Santa himself.

Santa’s Lighted Forest

Santa’s Lighted Forest. Photo provided by Georgetown Loop Railroad.

Train: Georgetown Loop Railroad
When: November 18 – December 31, 2017
Cost: $29.95  for adult coach.
Trip: Georgetown, Colorado to Silver Plume, Colorado
Duration: 1 hour round trip
For more info: Visit georgetownlooprr.com or call 1-888-456-6777.

Holiday festivities: Explore the snow-covered mountains in all their glory and ride the Georgetown Loop Railroad in the evening for another magical experience. Making a stop at Santa’s Lighted Forest, this train ride offers a breathtaking illumination of thousands of lights in the woods that cover the trees and Christmas village where Santa himself is waiting to visit you at the North Pole. There is even a beautiful light show set to synchronized Christmas songs and free cookies and cocoa.

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