January 8, 2019

Switzerland Trail of America to Estes Park

In its 1916 heyday, the Switzerland Trail of America was part of an integrated, multi-modal trip from Denver to Estes Park.

Passengers rode from Denver to Boulder along a standard-gauge track system, in a narrow-gauge car resting on a third rail inside the 3'6" span of the standard gauge.

Boulder, Colorado was at the center.
In Boulder the locomotive pulling them was switched out with one of the Denver Boulder & Western narrow gauge units. Moving slowly through the spectacular switchbacks of the northern branch to Ward, they enjoyed the wildflowers and the inviting vistas of the continental divide.

At the end of the railroad line, they were met by Stanley Steamer automobiles, carried in high fashion the remaining 35+ miles of unfinished gravel road to Estes Park.

Round trip was $9.60. In 2018 dollars? $234.51.
It certainly wasn't a trip for everyone, but for those adventurous few who could afford it, it must have been the journey of a lifetime.

Colorado was making its introduction to the world stage. Rocky Mountain National Park had been declared a national treasure in 1915.

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