As much of the world remained closed last summer and many flights were still grounded, travel junkies and those craving a safe, socially distanced change of scenery took to America’s highways for a good old-fashioned road trip. And just as many of us renewed our love for the open road last summer, there’s a growing affection for another form of nostalgic travel in the summer of 2021: the classic train journey.
Europeans are no strangers to the romance of the railways, but for many of us in the U.S. the idea of hopping aboard a train to travel is something we rarely experience, let alone think of when it comes to planning a vacation. But last November, Rocky Mountaineer—a Vancouver-based travel company known for luxury train journeys through Western Canada and the American Southwest—announced plans to operate a new scenic route between Moab and Denver beginning in 2021.
Aptly named “Rockies to the Red Rocks,” the route encompasses a two-day, daytime journey in a spacious, glass-domed train with an overnight stay in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Extended routes include seven days of travel, with additional stops in Las Vegas, Bryce Canyon, and Lake Powell. The preview season for the Moab to Denver route starts August 15 and runs until November 19. Rocky Mountaineer recently announced plans to add additional rail cars to increase guest capacity, as well as 16 new departure dates.
“Over the past 30 years, Rocky Mountaineer has become renowned for our world-class train travel experiences, and now we are opening our newest train experience in the region where train travel history began,” said Peter Armstrong, founder of Rocky Mountaineer, noting that the new route was sure to delight passengers thanks to the region’s magnificent scenery, national parks, and vast opportunities for exploration.
The onboard experience includes comfortable, reclining seats in glass-domed coaches with panoramic views—all the better to take in the sights of Ruby Canyon, the Colorado River, and the Continental Divide—plus locally inspired cuisine, gourmet snacks, and complimentary beverages served at your seat. Menu items include omelettes, berry parfaits, salads, grilled salmon, and braised short ribs. Enhanced options, available for an additional fee, include access to a spacious lounge car, additional meal options, and premium alcohol.
There are no cramped sleeper cars on this rail journey—travel takes place during the day, and guests lodge at a hotel in the evening. If you travel on the eastbound itinerary from Moab to Denver, your journey ends with an overnight stay at the stylish Crawford Hotel located in Denver’s iconic Union Station. Extend your stay and spend a few days exploring downtown Denver before hopping a quick flight back to Salt Lake City.