CRIPPLE CREEK — In our exclusive new series Adventures with Alan, we'll travel across Southern Colorado week-by-week to show you thrills and chills, hidden gems and well-known spots.
This week, our adventure takes us to the mountains of Teller County to go leaf peeping aboard a steam powered locomotive.
With its authentic bells and whistles, the Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad has been entertaining guests since 1967.
The star attraction of this family run business is an engine that dates back nearly 100 years.
"The engine we're using today is built in 1927 by H.K. Porter Company in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania," said Jim Birmingham.
Birmingham is the general manager and owner. He tells us that his father John purchased the engine back in 1963.
A few years later, the Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad was born.
Before each trip, as much as 100 to 125 pounds of coal needs to be loaded onto the train. That's the fuel that keeps it moving!
"You always got to keep it burning just right or else your steam pressure starts to drop and then your train doesn't go anywhere," said Birmingham.
The smell of burning coal fills the air as we depart the station.
What follows is a scenic four mile, 45 minute trip from Cripple Creek to Echo Valley, and back.
Onboard the train, you'll learn about the gold mines that once dominated the region.
If you take a ride early in the fall like we did, the leaves like to show off with pops of color around every corner.
Birmingham tells us that fall is one of his favorite times to ride.
"This time of the year, it's really good up Poverty Gulch, the first place that we pass as we leave town off to the left," said Birmingham.
We pass several groves of aspens, and spot all sorts of colors along the way.
"This year I've seen a lot more oranges here and there, oranges and red," said Birmingham.
Pulling back into town, our conductor tells us about Cripple Creek and how the town was discovered.
The town rose to prominence around 1890 when Bob Womack struck gold in the area.
At one point, Cripple Creek was known as the "World's Greatest Gold Camp." It was also one of the most populated towns in the state.
Due to colder weather this time of the year, train rides on the Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad are not offered.
But, they'll be back for more great historical tours starting Memorial Day weekend, 2022.
Put it on your calendars now, because this is an adventure that you won't want to miss.
For more information, you can visit their website - https://cripplecreekrailroad.com/.