February 13, 2011
Many people forget that the train system in Colorado is very much alive and well. I am referring specifically to the Amtrak train system which arrives daily from the west from Grand Junction or from the east from Denver. Typically the trip from Denver to Glenwood Springs takes around 6 hours. So if you are in a hurry, the train probably isn’t for you. But if you have some time to spare and rigid schedules are not a total priority, Amtrak will be a great adventure for you. Taking an Amtrak train is pretty economical as well. Prices for a one way trip from Denver to Glenwood Springs is typically starting at around $39.00 per person.
Many people ask us if we have packages that include the train ride. We don’t. We have found that it is usually more convenient and often times cheaper, to call us directly and book your room and then book your train trip online as an ala carte item. Their prices don’t fluctuate too much but booking directly guarantees a seat and guarantees a place to sleep here at Hotel Denver.
From Grand Junction to Glenwood Springs typically starts at around $18.00 for a one way trip. Estimated time of travel is just under two hours.
One of the main reasons to take the train to Glenwood Springs is of course the scenery. You get to see a part of Colorado that in many places, cannot be experienced from the highway. One of the highlights of the trip from Denver to Glenwood Springs is traveling through the Glenwood Canyon. 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, in the summertime you’ll see rafters taking advantage of this natural wild ride down the Colorado River. Fiery red mountains and spectacular rock formations are highlights of the Colorado River Valley, particularly in Ruby Canyon.
The train that takes you to and from is the historic California Zephyr. As originally created, the California Zephyr was operated by the Chicago Burlington Railroad from Chicago to Denver, Colorado. Trains ran with cars of mixed ownership; cars cycled in and out of the consists for service, repairs, and varying passenger loads with the seasons.
For the inaugural run in 1949, every female passenger on the train was given a corsage of “silver” and orange orchids that were specially flown in from Hilo, Hawaii. The women who worked as car hostesses on this train were known as “Zephyrettes.”The train traversed the route’s 2,525 mi (4,064 km) in 2½ days.
Other trains may have been more luxurious and for the well-to-do but none could compare to what the California Zephyr offered in the way of friendly service and breathtaking scenery. The train traveled through some of the most spectacular scenery in the country and it was not surprising that it continued to do well even when train travelby the 1960s and 1970s was waning with the public. The train would eventually be operated only by the Rio Grande (which was then renamed as the Rio Grande Zephyr) and after it relinquished the train to Amtrak in the 1980s it was not only retained but also returned to its original name and today the CZ remains one of the most popular long distance trains in the country.
So climb aboard, sit back and relax and enjoy the ride.