I’ve driven this route many times between Moab and Denver, I’ve seen this landscape before. But this time I’m going at a train’s pace. At this luxury train’s pace it feels like you are soaking up the landscape like a sponge. I realize there is something different and quite beautiful about going 35 mph through the Colorado Rockies; no road rage, no construction, no worries. The Rocky Mountaineer Colorado train is a new way to travel through a familiar landscape for me; and it’s just as exciting as seeing it for the first time.

I stare out the giant life-size train window. It feels exposed but powerful rolling past the big mountains. Or maybe that was the unlimited cocktails speaking to me. Regardless, the big windows made the landscape feel more vast than a car window – apparently size matters. It’s a time to slow down and really appreciate this landscape I take for granted while in my car.

rocky mountaineer train

Rocky Mountaineer’s new train route between Denver and the red rocks of Moab (not to be confused with Denver’s Red Rocks!) kicked off on August 15th 2021 bringing luxury train travel to the United States. It’s a pretty cool new offering in Colorado tourism and I got to be among the first to try it out.

Luxury Train Travel from Moab to Denver
Route Map and Highlights
What it’s Like to Experience a Glass Domed Train Through Colorado
What to do at Each Stop on Colorado’s Rocky Mountaineer
Things to do in Moab
Things to do in Glenwood Springs
Things to do in Denver
Extend the Rocky Mountaineer Experience to Page, Zion National Park, and Las Vegas
Tips for Riding the Rocky Mountaineer Train
Who is This Trip For

Luxury Train Travel From Moab to Denver

Popcorn clouds floated in the blue sky as we pulled out of Moab in the afternoon. I was traveling from Moab to Denver with an overnight in Glenwood Springs. The train started rolling around 2PM leaving the burnt red rock formations behind as we entered the dry, flat dessert.

luxury train travel to Denver

This route probably isn’t necessarily for people like me who live in Denver and can drive between the two places. It’s really more for people who are visiting the West and probably including these 2 days of train travel as part of a bigger itinerary maybe around the Utah parks, Las Vegas, or Salt Lake City.

And while we are at it, let’s just address the elephant in the room – you can do 60% of this route on Amtrak – but it’s a totally different experience. It runs on the same track as Amtrak for most of the way, as well as the same track as freight trains. Amtrak will not take you into Moab though.

What Makes it Luxury

luxury train colorado moab

This is a luxury experience including high end meals with multiple courses, unlimited drinks (including alcoholic drinks), comfortable and roomy seats, commentary about the history and geography of where you are traveling through, and all of this on train cars specifically designed for seeing the most possible. It also includes 3 hotel stays at top of the line hotels in Denver, Glenwood Springs, and Moab and luggage transfer. Amtrak doesn’t do any of this and that’s why the experiences are different, and the pricing is different.

See what it’s like to travel from Moab to Denver on the Rocky Mountaineer

Rocky Mountaineer Colorado experience video
Watch my experience on the new train

Rocky Mountaineer Colorado Route Map and Highlights

It’s not easy to get through the Rocky Mountains at altitudes reaching to 14,000 feet, and that’s what makes this experience pretty special. It might look pretty straight forward on this 2D map, but it was certainly not easy. That’s probably why the interstate is often within view of the train tracks – there are only so many ways you can get through the mountains.

Rocky Mountaineer Colorado map

I honestly barely noticed the interstate though, I was more enthralled with the canyon walls, and the other sights along the way. Here were some of my favorite highlights of the trip.

The Colorado River

If you are fascinated with the Colorado River (like me!), then this is a great way to see it’s origins. You follow the mighty river most of the journey. It winds around like a snake carving out canyons, and helping farmers irrigate their crops.

Colorado River

It felt as if the Colorado River was flirting with us throughout the journey. If I listened closely, I could hear it say
“How you doin’?”
“Do you come here often?”

Then it might disappear for a bit, but shortly it would be back, offering to buy you another drink and another pick up line.
“You must be exhausted running in my mind all day long.”

Yes the Colorado River will be running in your mind, and your view, all day too.

Glenwood Canyon

This 12.5 mile canyon stretches from near Dotsero to just east of Glenwood Springs. Its walls climb as high as 1,300 feet above the Colorado River; the largest canyon on the Upper Colorado. The canyon was the historical route of the railroads and roads through the Rockies. This is why you’ll find the railroad tracks nestled up against the flirty Colorado River, nestled up against the interstate; this narrow canyon squeezes in all three!

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