Begin your immersion in the golden age of train travel at Golden's Colorado Railroad Museum (coloradorailroadmuseum.org). The 15-acre rail yard is home to more than 100 narrow and standard gauge steam and diesel locomotives, passenger cars and cabooses.
A jaunt up Interstate 70 will deposit you onto the Georgetown Loop Railroad (georgetownlooprr.com). The gorgeous stretch of three-foot narrow gauge track between Silver Plume and Georgetown was finished in 1884 and considered a marvel of its time.
Chug into Leadville for the Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad's journey (leadville-train.com) to the Continental Divide along two old lines: the Denver, South Park and Pacific, and the Colorado and Southern. Starting May 27, absorb the scenery of the Arkansas River Valley while listening to narratives about the colorful past.
Down in the southwestern part of the state resides the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and Museum (durangotrain.com), a line that was constructed to haul silver and gold ore from the San Juan Mountains. Nowadays, folks hop aboard the coal-fired, steam-powered train for views that are beyond compare. National Geographic Traveler called it the No. 1 North American train trip. Hiking enthusiasts will want to hop off at the Needleton stop to access Chicago Basin, where a glut of wildflowers, mountain goats and 14,000-foot peaks awaits.
Rio Grande Scenic Railroad (coloradotrain.com) in Alamosa carries train lovers on select days over La Veta Pass on tracks that were completed in 1878. The ride becomes a party come summer during the weekend concert series Mountain Rails Live and other special events, including Rails and Ales in June.
Cañon City is another train mecca with its Royal Gorge Route Railroad (royalgorgeroute.com), a journey through the Rockies on a train specializing in first-class dining and service. The family-owned company runs its train with 17 cars, six classes of service, four bars and five kitchens on a standard gauge train.
Wind up your time-traveling odyssey on the Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad (cripplecreekrailroad.com). Beginning May 28, the 45-minute, 4-mile trip on a century-old steam locomotive treks past historic mines and a deserted mining camp.