Best Places to Ride the Polar Express in Colorado

The Polar Express is a classic holiday story about believing in the magic of Christmas. Our family watches the movie almost every holiday season. A couple of winter’s ago we made the trek down to Durango to ride the Durango Silverton Polar Express and experience the holiday magic in person. Riding the Polar Express anywhere in snowy Colorado is a special experience.

While we rode the Durango Silverton Railroad, there are a couple of other railroads in Colorado that offer a similar experience. No matter which line you chose, riding the Polar Express in Colorado should certainly be a magical experience for the entire family.

It is always best to book tickets early if you want a spot for one of Colorado’s Polar Express rides.

Colorado has a couple of magical Polar Express oprions for your family.

Your Family Can Experience the Magic of the Polar Express in Colorado

Getting to the North Pole from Colorado may be easier than you expect. At least if you and your family can get lost in your imaginations and are able to book one of the trains specializing in helping you live out the story of the Polar Express.

Insider Tip: Book early as seats do sell out early for these magical train rides.

As you prepare to board your Polar Express train, characters and scenes unfold before your eyes. You will catch some of the story as you board. Then upon arrival at the “North Pole,” you will want to watch for Santa, his elves and the Christmas spirit all around. You  may even get to delight in the inspiring story as it takes place right outside your window.

Upon the return from the North Pole, Santa may board your train car to present each passenger with a small gift. Perhaps your train ride will even include steaming hot cocoa and Christmas carols.

Generally the experience of all of the Polar Express train tides is very similar. The differences will reside in the decor, the views, the quality of the trains and the actors. But ultimately your decision of which to choose may be based on which is closest to your home or a place you want to visit.

Aboard the Polar Express at the Durango Silverton Railroad.
The magic of the Polar Express as seen through the eyes of children.

Durango Sliverton Railroad Polar Express

THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride is back to its full glory and it will begin mid-November and run through early January 2024. Tickets are on sale now, as of October 2023.

This magical round trip journey to the North Pole aboard the historic Durango and Silverton Railroad on The Polar Express was fun for our entire family. We wore our PJs, listened to the story, drank hot chocolate, sang Christmas Carols, and visited with Santa! The actors were excellent and the Christmas cheer abounded.

The Durango Silverton Polar Express runs a fairly large number of Polar Express trains. Thus it will have a fair amount of availability. But you will still want to book quickly for your choice of time and date slot. It will sell out. The earlier time slots seem to go the quickest.

Ticket prices range from $29 to $93. Rides begin Friday, November 17, 2023 and run until January 1, 2024.

Santa greeting passengers on the Durango Silverton Polar Express.

Colorado Railroad Museum Polar Express

Tickets for The Polar Express Train Ride at the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden, Colorado go on sale to the General Public on October 3, 2023. Museum Members have the week prior to purchase tickets in advance exclusively.

Our family has not had the opportunity to experience the Colorado Railroad’s magical Polar Express journey. Every year it sells out immediately. The Colorado Railroad Museum runs its Polar Express for fewer days than the Durango Silverton Railroad. That combined with the location next to the major metropolis of Denver makes it very difficult to book.

Ticket prices start at $80 and go up to $475 for a table for four in First Class,

Other Colorado Holiday Train Experiences

The Durango Silverton Railroad also run a Christmas Tree Train where passengers get to take the train through a winter wonderland to choose and cut down their own Christmas tree.

Royal Gorge Route Railroad in Cañon City

While we haven’t ridden the Royal Gorge Santa Express train, riding the train any time of the year is a really cool way to see this area of the state. This train takes you through the Royal Gorge with 1000+ foot cliffs on either side, rafters running the river right beside the train and the sight of the Royal Gorge Bridge 1000 feet above.

During the holiday season the Royal Gorge Route Railroad in Cañon City runs a Santa Express train to the North Pole. At the North Pole, Santa and his special Elves board the train to pass out a special holiday bell to each ticketed child as he makes his way through the train.

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad

The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad used to run a Santa Train out of Antonito, Colorado. That doesn’t seem to be happening this year.

Georgetown Loop Railroad

The Georgetown Loop Railroad runs a Santa’s North Pole Adventure and a Santa’s Lighted Forrest out of Georgetown, Colorado.

What better way to celebrate the holiday season than with a magical winter train ride? Perhaps it will snow and lights will twinkle out the train windows as you enjoy holiday songs and hot cocoa. There certainly is a magic in sharing this experience with children who believe!

If you can’t make it to Colorado for a magical Polar Express train ride, there are plenty of other opportunities to see Colorado’s scenic landscapes via train other times of the year.

Riding the Polar Express in Colorado is a magical experience for the entire family. Here's where to find the Polar Express, Santa Trains and what to know about the experiences. #Colorado #PolarExpressRiding the Polar Express in Colorado is a magical experience for the entire family. Here's where to find the Polar Express, Santa Trains and what to know about the experiences. #Colorado #PolarExpress
Riding the Polar Express in Colorado is a magical experience for the entire family. Here's where to find the Polar Express, Santa Trains and what to know about the experiences. #Colorado #PolarExpress
Best Places to Ride the Polar Express in Colorado

Liana Moore

Liana Moore is a third-culture kid with a hangover from those days that is a severe case of wanderlust. She is more comfortable driving the cliffs of Amalfi, Italy or the dirt roads of Costa Rica or attempting to decipher the street signs of Osaka, Japan than navigating the theme parks of Disney World. But she loves it all. She doesn't believe a vacation is complete without an adventure. Her husband and kids know well that "adventure" often is code for mishap or challenge and it usually results in a good story. They seek outdoor experiences whether in the mountains, on a beach or in the jungle of a tropical country. Her favorite vacation is... all the ones she hasn't yet taken, as well as those she plans on taking again. And, that list is so, so long. But she continues to extensively explore her home state of Colorado, spends lots of time wandering Texas, California, New Mexico, Costa Rica, Mexico, Norway and has even explored Kazakhstan.

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