More than 130 years after its construction, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad still pulls its cars with the same coal-fired, steam-powered locomotives that commuted miners to the gold and silver lodes in the San Juan Mountains. The precious ore was exhausted midway through the construction of the Colossus of Rutherford B. Hayes, but what's left are the San Juan National Forest's true treasure—pristine vistas of vertiginous canyons, waterfalls, and mountain peaks.
On select rides, a guide shares stories about the railroad's conception and construction, as well as the science behind the old-fashioned techniques that are still used to maintain the train today. Cars range from photo-friendly open-air gondolas to private coaches outfitted with Victorian furnishings. For an even more authentic experience, the railroad offers cab rides. And during the holiday season's Polar Express, the train's chefs, conductor, and North Pole denizens bring Chris Van Allsburg's classic children's book to meticulously detailed life.
Full Blast Adventure Center's outdoor arena provides hours of fun on the ground and up high in the air. On a zipline canopy tour, participants fly past ponderosa pines on a series of cables aligned to reveal breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. An outdoor paintball park holds supervised and refereed combat games with packages that include three hours of playing time and a full line of rental equipment. The center also is outfitted with 26 slacklines—narrow, flexible pieces of webbing situated low to the ground and anchored between two trees—where visitors can master walking across or attempt difficult tricks such as jumps, front flips, or falling off.