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Leadville Railroad History

How a former freight line became a stunning scenic train ride in one of Colorado's highest towns!

Historic Train Ride engine 641

The origin of the Highline

Originally owned by the Denver South Park & Pacific Railroad the "highline" was completed in 1884 and was originally a narrow gage railroad. The route was 151 miles from Denver and crossed the continental divide twice before arriving in Leadville.
The Leadville Railroad is the last remaining section of the original Denver South Park & Pacific Railroad.

Trains, Engines, scenic train

HOw we Started

In December of 1987 a local business couple, Ken and Stephanie Olsen, approached the Burlington Northern Railroad Company about purchasing the Highline as it was no longer needed to haul freight. They were able to reach a deal and purchased two GP9 Diesel electric locomotives, 8 flat cars, 4 boxcars, 5 cabooses, the roundhouse, over 14 miles of track and thousands of railroad ties, spikes and rails. They worked hard to turn all of that into the cars we ride on today and opened for business on Memorial Day weekend of 1988. The couple owns the line to this day and are now joined by their children who help with day to day operations.

Scenic Train

Where we're going!

Here on the Leadville Railroad we are always looking to expand our offerings and share our unique history with the world! We continue to build and maintain track while adding on specials for new and fun ways to enjoy the highline in beautiful historic Leadville Colorado.

Let's go back in time...


Leadville, Colorado holds a significant place in the state's history as one of the most important mining towns during the late 19th century. It became a booming silver mining center in the late 1800's, attracting fortune-seekers and earning the nickname "Cloud City" due to its high elevation (10,152'). Leadville's silver mines produced immense wealth, contributing greatly to Colorado's economy and growth during that era. The town's history is also marked by notable figures like Horace Tabor and Baby Doe, whose rags-to-riches and subsequent downfall stories are legendary. While Leadville's mining heyday has passed, its rich history and stunning landscapes continue to impress.

The Leadville Railroad offers a unique opportunity to relax and unwind while enjoying the beauty of the Colorado Rocky Mountains with friends and family. Our conductors narrates the colorful history of the area as you wind through the mountains making this an unforgettable trip for the whole family.

Leadville Railroad Scenic Train Ride


Take in the stunning views of the Upper Arkansas River Valley. View Colorado's two tallest peaks Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive. The train travels through the peaceful San Isabel National forest with towering evergreens and beautiful fluttering Aspen trees! Stunning scenery through every season!

Family and Friends on board the Leadville Railroad


There is no better place to rest and relax with your favorite people than on board the Leadville Railroad. Make sure to bring your camera, you will want to capture these memories that will last a lifetime.

Family Fun on the Railroad


Learn about Leadville, Colorado's colorful history full of historical figures and scandal. Hear how railroading impacted this part of Colorado. Our conductors each have unique stories that capture the rich history of the area.