Expedition San Juan Mountains September 2021-Part 6-Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge RR and Exploring towns of Durango & Silverton

As day 3 comes to close we arrive in Durango. We checked into the hotel, its a quick walk to the downtown area. The city has a “old western town” feel. The D&SNGRR this evening is moving engine’s around for night maintenance and organization. It’s fun to watch these operations. We have a nice dinner and walk Main Ave ad explore the shops.

The D&SNGRR is an open museum and you walk around the shops and yard. Its a fun evening looking and photographing these sleeping giants.

The Morning of September 8, we pack up our stuff, load up the jeeps and walk back to Main Ave to get some breakfast and explore the D&SNGRR museum. They have a great rail road and mining museum. History of how the railroad worked and help grow the economy of the area.

After visiting the museum, we get ready to board the train. There are number of trains going out for the day. There are 2 schedules for the trains, full day and 1/2 day trains. The full day trains leave Durango and go all the way to Silverton, they have a short layover in Silverton while the trains are repositioned and then return to Durango. We are on a 1/2 day train. The train heads North into the mountains to Cascade, there is a rail road “Y”, where they can turn around the train.

The first 1hour or two of the ride we work our way out of Durango and through the valley. Not much to see other than the mountains in the distance and US-500 that we parallel North.

Once we get into the mountains the ride become far more scenic. We are following the Animas River North. There is a large bridge that we cross, the engine is able to release steam, here with out warning the side of the tracks. Makes for a great picture.

The track follow the river and hug the side of Beth mountains. Snaking around the mountains we get some great shots of the train. I am not a poet but I can not put into words how to describe the scenery.

When we get into Cascade, the train crew gets a brief rest brake, wheel we can explore the local area. There is a limited food on the train, and primitive facility here. But this gives us time to get some photography and nature and around the train in the alpine back drop.

The train leave Cascade back to Durango. There is a hydroelectric plant on the railroad. On the way North we dropped off a few personal and on the way back we picked them up. The train can make a few “Flag Stops” along the route, dropping off hikers, these employees and there is a hotel/cabin that drops off guests.

When we get back into Durango, we get into the Jeeps and start the drive back to Ouray. We stop in Silverton for a quick stop to see the town and explore the rail road station and shops.

Just before we get back into Ouray, we stop at the Irarado Mine. There is a large structure just off US-550, while makes a great backdrop for pictures.

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