They named this place COLORado for a reason. D&RGW Locomotive #489 takes a cut of stockers and gons past a beautiful grove of aspens, just east of the Highway 17 crossing at Coxo, Colorado. The train is now just less than 2 rail miles and about 250 vertical feet from Cumbres Pass, although it is less than a mile from the pass as the crow flies. At peak fall color, the section of track between Coxo and Cumbres is nothing short of spectacular, with large groves of aspens all lit up in the yellowest yellow you can imagine. The location not only provides candy for the eyes, but for the ears as well. With the train snaking its way around the contours of the hills approaching Windy Point on a steady 4% grade, the stack-talk is loud and relentless. In just about 10 minutes, this train will be pulling into Cumbres Station.
The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad and the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad are all that remains of the legendary Denver & Rio Grande Western narrow gauge system. Here you'll find some of my favorites from these two beautiful railways.