Colorado Santa Claus Trains

Polar Express arrives at the station Durango
The Polar Express arrives at the station in Durango, Colorado. (Photo courtesy of, photo by Yvonne Lashmett)

There’s something about the holidays that makes me (and a lot of you) think about trains. I don’t know exactly why trains seem so Christmassy, perhaps it is because they are a blast from the past. A vintage mode of travel that makes us dream about the days of yore. Whatever the reason, the tourism railroads here in Colorado take full advantage of our nostalgic love of trains during the holiday season and Santa Claus trains are popular. Here’s a list of Colorado Santa Trains that will be running this season, from the New Mexico border to Georgetown.

Georgetown Loop Railroad

This train’s close proximity to the Front Range area makes it an ideal destination for a quick Saturday afternoon trip. Santa’s North Pole Adventure is a special ride for children that includes a one hour round trip ride with Santa and Mrs. Claus along with complimentary hot chocolate, cookies, candy canes, and jingle bell ornament.

The Holiday Lights Train is a one hour round trip ride where Santa will either engineer the train or ride along with guests. He will meet with the kids and his helpers will entertain the guests. In addition to the cookies, hot chocolate and ornaments, soup and light snacks are available for purchase as well as a full bar menu.

See the train’s website for the schedule of the Georgetown Loop holiday train rides.

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad

This train runs through one of my favorite areas of Colorado. For fans of the “Polar Express” this railroads Polar Express holiday train will be the ride of a lifetime. The ride was inspired by the award winning book that eventually became the movie starring Tom Hanks.

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad attempts to capture all the magic that occurs within the page of the book and the scenes of the movie. This is a dream trip for children of all ages and starts as the train leaves the depot with concessionairs serving hot chocolate and cookies. Once all have been served the “Polar Express” story is read over the PA System. The story finishes just as the train pulls inot the North Pole, the lights dim and the children, encouraged to dress in pjs, will be asked to watch for Santa.

He shows up of course and moves through the train cars leading carols and listening to wishes. This will be an experience no child will ever forget. The Polar Express train leaves the station in downtown Durango through January 4, 2014.

Pikes Peak Cog Railway

Santa Train Pikes Peak Cog Railway - Courtesy of Nicole Powell Photography
Santa Train Pikes Peak Cog Railway

The Pikes Peak Cog Railway Santa Train runs November through December 24, 2013. It’s a two-hour roundtrip train ride on the highest cog railway in the world and goes half way up Pikes Peak. Santa, Mrs. Claus and their elves will be along for the ride. There’s even an hour stop so that children may visit with the Clauses.

Located just 20 minutes outside of Colorado Springs, visitors can make a weekend out of the event by staying in the area. Manitou Springs has many different types of accommodations available, including a handful of unique bed and breakfasts.

The Royal Gorge Route Railroad

The Santa Express Train runs November 3 through January 4, 2014, and is one of the most popular trains for children during the holidays. You can find many write-ups about this Christmas train ride on mommy blogs all over the web.

Hot chocolate is served and holidays stories are read by Santa’s elves. Children are encouraged to wear comfy pajamas while aboard, and the Royal Gorge Route Railroad will be dressed up for the occasion. Parents will be happy to know that this railroad has received numerous awards and accolades, especially for their culinary team.

The train departs from Canon City, Colorado, and with so much to do in the Royal Gorge area, this event is a great excuse to plan a weekend trip to the region.

Santa Claus at Colorado Railroad MuseumColorado Railroad Museum

The Colorado Railroad Museum is a HeidiTown favorite, and during the holidays this is a wonderful place to take the family. The Santa Claus Special is an opportunity for children to personally hand their letter to Santa to Santa himself.

Railroad post offices used to crisscross Colorado, delivering the mail to everywhere and this holiday, the museum’s Santa Claus Special will be delivering letters to Santa. On December 7, 14, 15 and 21, 2013, the train departs every 30 minutes starting at 10 a.m. Children can enjoy riding the train and then can enjoy hot chocolate. It’s just $5 for children to participate in the Santa Claus Special.

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad

This historic railroad doesn’t have a Santa Claus train because it doesn’t often run in the winter. Their season is usually done in October, but they are participating in The Great Locomotive Swap this Saturday, December 7, 2013.

Cumbres & Toltec was built in 1880 as part of the San Juan Extension of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad, with tracks running from Denver through the ore-rich Rocky Mountains to Silverton, Colorado and Santa Fe, New Mexico. It is touted as America’s most authentic steam-operated railroad and was awarded the National Historic Landmark Designation earlier this year.

Go here to participate in this weekend’s Great Locomotive Swap. Your train trip includes lunch.


  1. Oh man my son loves Trains. WE havent done any of the trips during the holidays. Thanks for the info!


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