New Rocky Mountaineer trip brings luxe rail closer to home

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Jeri Clausing
Jeri Clausing

With many travelers eager to escape but still leery about wandering too far during the pandemic, Rocky Mountaineer this summer is launching a close-to-home option for those looking to check a luxury scenic train trip off their bucket list.

The new Rockies to the Red Rocks rail journey between Denver and Moab, Utah, with an overnight in Glenwood Springs, Colo., is the Canadian company's first U.S. itinerary.

Company officials say it was one that had been in the planning stages before the pandemic, one they had hoped to roll out last year for the company's 30th anniversary.

As the pandemic shutdown dragged on, and with the prospects for Canada opening still uncertain, spokeswoman Nicole Ford said Rocky Mountaineer decided to go ahead and get it launched this summer so they could at least offer one travel option for travelers from the U.S., which is their largest source market.

Like its well-known trips through Canada's scenic Rocky Mountains, the new Rockies to Red Rocks itineraries offer opportunities to view and learn about some of North America's most breathtaking -- and contrasting -- mountain landscapes. The itineraries include two days on the train, traveling between Colorado's Rocky Mountains and the dramatic red rock landscapes of southern Utah.

The trip will run Aug. 15 through mid-November, a month longer than the company's trains through the Canadian Rockies usually run.

Ford said they were able to extend the season because the days are longer in the western U.S. She said the company doesn't like to run trips where guests arrive at their destinations after dark, because a key feature of the trips are the views from the train's glass-domed coaches.

Rocky Mountaineer will run only its Silver Leaf service trains on the U.S. route but is including premium packages with overnights in Denver and Moab that include luxury hotels such as the Crawford boutique hotel in Denver's Union Station; the nearby Oxford, in the heart of downtown Denver; and the HooDoo Moab, a Curio Collection hotel with views of Arches National Park.

Accommodations are less luxurious during an overnight in Glenwood Springs, simply because the small town has fewer options. But options include the historical Hotel Colorado, which is just a few steps from the city's famed Hot Springs.

In addition to the train trip and packages with overnights in Denver and Moab, Rocky Mountaineer also offers longer packages that include the train trip along with coach excursions from Las Vegas and Salt Lake City.

CORRECTED: This story was updated on April 29 to report that Rocky Mountaineer will onlybe offering Silver Leaf service on the new U.S. route. An earlier version said it would be offering both Gold Leaf and Silver Leaf service.

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