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(13,411 posts)
Wed Sep 6, 2023, 03:40 PM Sep 2023

Fantasizing about the Southwest again... It's tme for another trip through the Mesas!

Last year at the end of August, I did something I'd never done. Set out on a LONE roadtrip across four states and saw the Grand Canyon. It was life changing. I'd never been anywhere outside of CA and to see the different landscape and everything was so amazing.

As this fall beging to creep in, I am once again longing for a romp in the desert.

My son is moving back to Durango, CO and I am hoping to use it as an excuse to go visit and play some more in places I missed last time. I was thinking of taking the train from Sacramento to Albuquerque, then driving up to Durango...then either to Denver or Salt Lake and taking the train back into Reno.

I hate flying, so it's really not an option. My mom had always talked about here early years on trains, and so I don't have to drive the entire way I figured it was a good compromise.
Since Mom's Bday is Oct 2, I figured it would be a nice way to wish her a happy bday in heaven as well.

Anyone have any recent experience with the Train out west?
I've already got a list of places to look for but any cool reccs are always appreciated.
Pretty sure I'm not gonna drive through Santa Fe, just north up to Durango...then If I go over to Denver I was gonna try and see Pike's Peak...

8 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
Highlight: NoneDon't highlight anything 5 newestHighlight 5 most recent replies
Fantasizing about the Southwest again... It's tme for another trip through the Mesas! (Original Post) FirstLight Sep 2023 OP
ABQ to Durango MomInTheCrowd Sep 2023 #1
I agree, Chaco Canyon is worth the visit. patphil Sep 2023 #5
if you have a couple of days in Durango, ride the Durango-Silverton train yellowdogintexas Sep 2023 #6
I have taken the Southwest Chief PoindexterOglethorpe Sep 2023 #2
good advice! FirstLight Sep 2023 #3
I sort of glossed over you want to toodle around NM. PoindexterOglethorpe Sep 2023 #4
Not what you are asking, but I have taken the train from Durango to Silverton Major Nikon Sep 2023 #7
sounds awesome... FirstLight Sep 2023 #8


(272 posts)
1. ABQ to Durango
Wed Sep 6, 2023, 03:51 PM
Sep 2023

I don’t know the train, but the ABQ to Durango drive is outstanding. Try to see Chaco Canyon or the Bisti / De-Na-Zin Wilderness Area ….


(22,308 posts)
6. if you have a couple of days in Durango, ride the Durango-Silverton train
Wed Sep 6, 2023, 09:47 PM
Sep 2023

you can do a round trip in the same day, or go up to Silverton, spend the night there and return to Durango next day. It's a lovely trip.

Another steam train is the Cumbres and Toltec which runs between Chama NM and Antonito CO. It is a fantastic trip.


(25,950 posts)
2. I have taken the Southwest Chief
Wed Sep 6, 2023, 04:04 PM
Sep 2023

both from Albuquerque to Los Angeles, as well as from Lamy NM (just north of ABQ) to Kansas City.

I really like it. My advice is absolutely book a sleeper car. Yes, it costs more than coach, but includes meals. Also one free "adult" beverage with dinner. Of course you can purchase other such beverages, if you want.

The advantage of the train is, of course, so much more space, even in coach, and being able to walk around, visit the observation deck.

I most recently took the Southwest Chief last month, Lamy to KC, and will make the same trip at the end of next month.

During the height of the Pandemic, coach passengers weren't allowed to go into the dining car at all, and at first (I took the train during this time) if you weren't actually travelling together, you didn't sit together. They're back to putting two or three people at one table during meals. I just checked with Amtrak, and here's the cost of meals for the coach passengers:
$20 for breakfast
$25 for 2-course lunch
$45 for a 3-course dinner

You might want to consider getting off in Gallup, as that's a whole lot closer to Durango that is ABQ.

Or even take the California Zephyr from Sacramento to Denver.

Hope you have a wonderful trip!


(13,411 posts)
3. good advice!
Wed Sep 6, 2023, 04:13 PM
Sep 2023

Yea, when I am closer to booking I plan to call the number and get them to help customize the trip.

Mostly just wanna get "back" there to NM, then toodle around and then have the train get me home easy. Got a limited window, so I am hoping to squeeze it all in

If not, I guess I'll have to go again next year!


(25,950 posts)
4. I sort of glossed over you want to toodle around NM.
Wed Sep 6, 2023, 05:09 PM
Sep 2023

I actually want to take what I'm calling a land cruise sometime next year.

That would be the SW Chief to Chicago, a couple of days there, the Empire Builder to Seattle, a couple more days there, then more or less straight home on the Coast Starlight and then the SW Chief back to NM. There will be an overnight in Los Angeles, but I won't do any additional days there.

I would suggest you go ahead and take a look at Amtrak's website, as it has lots and lots of information on it, including menus.

Major Nikon

(36,831 posts)
7. Not what you are asking, but I have taken the train from Durango to Silverton
Thu Sep 7, 2023, 08:21 AM
Sep 2023

The first week in October is the perfect time as the Aspens are changing color. As the train moves through different elevations you get to see the changes in color of the Aspens. It's an incredible experience. It's also a great time to take the drive around the 4 corners area for the same reason.

If you do ride that train, don't do it in an open car if they are using the coal fired engine or you'll be covered in soot. Better to get one of the covered cars closer to the end for the same reason.


(13,411 posts)
8. sounds awesome...
Thu Sep 7, 2023, 12:59 PM
Sep 2023

yeah, i'm thnking Amtrak, not a small gague coal train!

Looking forward to seeing it...I live in the Sierras bbut the Rockies are no comparison!

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