The trip from the Colorado side of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad starts in Antonito, which was a "company town" founded in 1880 by the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. From there to whichever destination you choose — be it Osier, Cumbres Pass or all the way to Chama, N.M. — this fascinating journey just gets more beautiful and more steeped in history. Recently designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service, the railroad is a unique venture owned jointly by Colorado and New Mexico, and has lots of "ests" to recommend it: It's the highest and longest steam-powered narrow-gauge railroad in the country, which for rail fans means the best-est photo opps for those classic "comin'-around- the-bend" shots. Depending on your trip, lunch or dinner can be included, and drinks are served in the swanky, adults-only Parlor. You can definitely take the kids, though, who can be tasked with trying to spot the abundant wildlife along the way (they ride free through Sept. 14 on select trips Monday-Saturday). There's also an open-air car, which means more access to views of the mesas, tunnels, rock faces and rivers. Tickets start at $59 adult, $29 child;, 888-286-2737

Kyle Wagner: 303-954-1599, or