Denver, Colorado To Moab, Utah Daylight Train Travel
Bookended by two fabulous cities, Denver and Moab, The Rocky Mountaineer Rockies To The Red Rocks two-day, luxury train trip is a wonderful way to watch the stunning river and mountain views float by your window. No driving, no navigating, copious amounts of delicious food and beverages delivered just when you want them, and comfy seats perfectly crafted for you to sit back and relax.
My journey began in Denver, but you can also take the return trip beginning in Moab. Either way, be sure to schedule some extra time in each of these exciting midwest cities.
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Where To Eat, Stay, And Play In Denver
Denver has a hip, young attitude — you can almost feel the sidewalks buzzing as you walk around this vibrant city.
More than anything, Denver is an outdoor lover’s paradise where you can hike, ski, and any number of adventure-filled activities to gobble up your free time. Filled with a cornucopia of regional and eclectic cuisine, the restaurant scene is a foodie paradise.
We eat out in Denver frequently. My daughter lived there for five years. We visit often to see her — and to ski. My new favorite dining establishment, Osteria Marco in the heart of Larimer Square. You must sample the perfectly fried calamari with Calabrian chile aioli — an anomaly in the Midwest. Engaging dishes like Luca’s wild mushroom fusilli with roasted oyster and cremini mushrooms, and a creamy Parmesan sauce is a heavenly experience.
For this trip I stayed at The Maven Hotel, a cool modern space planted in the funky and urban Dairy Block of LoDo (Lower Downtown). Connected to the lobby is a gathering of restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and other outlets. You never have to leave the building. But you should. Walking distance to Coors Field, Union Station, an extensive list of restaurants, pubs, and shops there is tons to keep you happily busy.
Day 1 – Denver to Glenwood Springs
My solo adventure on the Rocky Mountaineer on the Rockies To The Red Rocks was a purely self indulgent adventure. I engaged with other travelers, of course, but I was free to be in my own private head space for two full days. It was important to relished the time to myself, caught up in simply absorbing the beautiful and barren landscape, and leaning into some introspective reflection.
I had a coveted window seat at the back of the SilverLeaf Plus Service car. Within the very first hour we learned a new term – Kodak speed. It is when the train slows down to a crawl allowing passengers to get the perfect photographic shot.
I am a foodie, through and through, and meals were delivered with a nod to luxury train travel dining of bygone years. Fresh baked scones warm from the oven delivered to tide you over until breakfast service — yum. Beautifully plated luncheons like braised short ribs with a green chili demi-glaze, service with your beverage, or libation, of choice.
Crossing the Continental Divide is one of the highlights that will zip past you as the train runs down the tracks.
Where To Eat, Stay, And Play In Glenwood Springs
We had an overnight stay at the Glenwood Hot Springs Resort, which was a short walk from the rail station — it felt great to get out and move. Of course, first up was a dip in the resort’s mineral-charged hot springs pool. It was just over 100 degrees, like being in a hot tub with dozens of your closest friends. Actually the pool is massive, 405 feet long x 100 feet wide, so there is plenty of personal space for everyone.
The resort town of Glenwood Springs has a charming downtown and wide selection of restaurants. The locals enjoy a dining out culture that adds to the quality of the selections. Dinner at the Pullman, where they showcase seasonal products grown locally. I sumptuously dined on the tempura tocal mushrooms with smoked shallots and a hazelnut romesco sauce — it was divine.
Day 2 – Glenwood Springs To Moab
As we boarded the train, anxious for another day of gorgeous scenery and crossing from Colorado into Utah. Red rock buttes and mesas lined the train tracks. Leftover telegraph poles with glass ‘jar’ covered wires lean and teeter along the rail beds like drunken sentinels.
One of the more lighthearted Colorado traditions is the “Colorado Salute.” It is a longstanding tradition of mooning passing trains. Several Colorado River campers shook bright shiny cheeks as our train passed by, bringing passengers to their feet and hoots of happy incredulity.
The sometimes straight, and often not train tracks along the trip to and beyond the Utah Colorado border.
Where To Eat, Stay, And Play In Moab
Moab, the outdoor adventurer’s paradise. Adrenaline junkies will love the excellent adventures that abound in beautiful Moab. I have floated down the Colorado River on a fun expedition. I have also ridden to Hell’s Revenge in a massive refurbished military transport vehicle. You can book any number of Moab adventures on Viator. The state and national parks are gorgeous also. Two must stops are Dead Horse Point State Park and Arches National Park
Downtown Moab is filled with food trucks. Some of them, like the iconic Quesadilla Mobilla have permanent homes. If you are hungry and love great southwest flavors, this is the spot to have a fabulous al fresco meal.
A Video Postcard Of Rocky Mountaineer Rockies To The Red Rocks Adventure
Other Rocky Mountaineer Train Travels
The Rocky Mountaineer also traverses the Canadian Rockies. The First Passage To The West adventure runs between Vancouver and Banff with an overnight stay in Kamloops. The Journey Through The Clouds takes you between Vancouver and Jasper with an overnight stay in Kamloops. The Rainforest To Gold Rush adventure runs between Vancouver and Jasper with overnight stays in Whistler and Quesnel.
There is a train crossing the Canadian Rockies to suit your travel desires. I have been fortunate enough to have visited Vancouver, a beautiful city; Jasper’s amazing glaciers; and explored Banff’s natural gifts; and Whistlers stunning mountain views. I think I need to ride a train that stops in Kamloops to round out my western Canada exploration.
Time To Hit The Rails
The Rocky Mountaineer train trip, Rockies To The Red Rocks winds along the Colorado River, through small towns, and stunning mountain visitas. It is a magical two day trip whether you bookend it from Moab to Denver or Denver to Moab.
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Don’t you just hate it when your phone battery is in the dreaded red zone? I always carry Fuel Rods with me. They give me a battery boost, they are rechargeable, and they work with iphones and androids.
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If you know me, you know I love a glass of wine (or two). My favorite mail order wine company is Naked Wines. I order a case every month or so – no judgment please. I love that they work with small independent winemakers and I get to choose what wine I want and when I want it delivered.
Don’t forget to download my free packing list! It’s the perfect jumping off point to get your adventure started.