Railroad Tours In California And Colorado

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Are you looking for a leisurely vacation that’s close to home? One of the following train trips might just be the ticket.

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Photo courtesy of Carol Watts

Cumbres and Toltec steam railroad.

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Photo courtesy of Carol Watts

Amtrak Coastal Starlight.

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San Francisco cable car.

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Photo courtesy of Carol Watts

Napa Valley Wine Train.

Consider the nine-night California Historic Train tour that is available from May through November, round trip San Francisco. The tour starts with a day of sightseeing in San Francisco, which includes a dinner at Fisherman’s Wharf, a ride on the famous cable cars, views of the city and Golden Gate Bridge from the Twin Peaks.

The next day features a ride on the historic Sierra Railroad, built in 1897, with lunch on the train. Following the ride is a coach trip to Sonora.

Day three brings a coach tour of Yosemite National Park with its waterfalls, alpine meadows, impressive rock formations and rugged wilderness.

A visit to Jamestown is scheduled for the next day to experience Railtown, a historic state park, which features turn-of-the-century railcars and locomotives. The movie “High Noon” as well as TV shows “The Virginian” and “Petticoat Junction” were filmed here. Afterward, journey by coach to Old Sacramento for a view of life during the Gold Rush of ’49. Dinner is included on the Delta King, a stationary restaurant on an authentic riverboat christened in 1927.

Day five brings a trip over the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Lake Tahoe for an included cruise on the lake on the paddle wheeler M. S. Dixie II. You can visit a local casino or have free time to shop before returning to Sacramento.

The next day you visit Woodland to board the Sacramento River Train. Be on the lookout for train robbers. A cowboy barbecue picnic by the river follows the train ride. You return to Sacramento for leisure time, and an opportunity to visit the Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento.

Day seven includes the Napa Valley Wine Train, with its restored 1915 Pullman car, and lunch and wine tasting in the beautiful Napa Valley. The day ends with a trip to Ft. Bragg, an old logging town, which is located between redwood forests and the Pacific Ocean.

The following day you enjoy a ride on the 121-year-old Skunk Train. As the train winds along the Noyo River, through redwood forests and coastal mountains, you will see why this trip is considered one of the best scenic train rides in North America. Lunch is served on board, followed by dinner in San Francisco.

This tour includes accommodations for three nights in San Francisco, three nights in Sacramento, two in Sonora, and one in Ft. Bragg. Meals included are six breakfasts, four lunches, and four dinners. Four train rides, tours of Yosemite and San Francisco as well as a Lake Tahoe cruise are also included, along with all transportation and services of a professional tour manager. Hotels include the Marriott at Fisherman’s Wharf, Best Western Sonora Oaks, Holiday Inn Capital Plaza in Sacramento, and the Crown Plaza in San Francisco. The price is $2,249 per person double occupancy throughout the May to November season.

A somewhat shorter and less expensive six-night tour is available on selected dates from June through September. You arrive for a three-night stay in San Francisco.

Day one includes an extensive tour of San Francisco with a scenic bay cruise and dinner at Fisherman’s Wharf. The next day you travel to Napa Valley for a ride on the Wine Train, including lunch on the train and a visit to a Sonoma Valley winery for tasting. Day three features a spectacular ride on Amtrak’s Coast Starlight Route from Oakland to Los Angeles, traveling along the Diablo Mountains, long stretches of Pacific Ocean shoreline and through Santa Barbara. Malibu, Beverly Hills and Hollywood are toured the following day. The next day is at leisure to explore Los Angeles on your own. Perhaps you might be interested in an optional Ronald Reagan Library tour, including Air Force One and a full-scale replica of Reagan’s Oval Office. Accommodations for three nights at the Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf and three nights at the Beverly Garden Holiday Inn in Hollywood are included, as well as two dinners, one lunch, and five breakfasts. Cost for this tour is $1,799 per person double occupancy.

Four historic train rides through the Colorado Rockies are available on a seven-night tour that starts and ends in Denver. This tour level is more energetic, and includes rides on the Durango and Silverton narrow gauge railroad, the Cumbres and Toltec narrow gauge stream railroad, the Royal Gorge Scenic Railway over the famous Hanging Bridge and the Pikes Peak Cog Railroad. Other sites of interest include the Mesa Verde National Park with its Anasazi cliff dwellings, the Colorado National Monument, the U.S. Air Force Academy, Garden of the Gods Park and a tour of Denver. Hotel accommodations in five different locations, transportation and tour guide, as well as four dinners, one lunch and seven breakfasts are included. Select dates from June through September are available at $1,679 per person, double occupancy.

Of course, any of these tours might be done independently. But figure on an additional 40 percent of the cost, since you would not have the group discounted room rates and attraction fees. We would be happy to custom tailor a tour to fit your individual desires.

Cruise Port Travel is your local, certified travel agency. Visit our Web site at www.travelpayson.com and look at our Facebook page for interesting photos. We arrange cruises, escorted tours, expedition cruises and tours, as well as independent vacations. Remember to be loyal and buy local. Funny how some of our non-customers who book on the Internet, thereby taking half the commission out of Payson and giving it all to the cruise or tour company, are the first to ask local business for a donation to their favorite charity. Makes you wonder.

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