In the late nineteenth and early part of the twentieth century, the Rio Grande heavily advertised the “Narrow Gauge Circle,” (though by 1915 parts were standard gauge). This consisted of a loop starting in Pueblo, going south to Alamosa and west to Antonito and Durango on the Denver & Rio Grande, then the Rio Grande Southern west to Dolores and north to Ridgeway, then back on the D&RG to Montrose, and east across the mountains through Gunnison and Salida back to Pueblo. Alternatively, from Durango people could take the D&RG due north to Silverton, then a stagecoach over the what eventually became the “million-dollar highway” to Ouray, then back on the train to Ridgeway.
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The Rio Grande Southern was a separate railroad but the Denver & Rio Grande had control of it for much of its life. Today, two narrow gauge portions of the Narrow Gauge Circle remain: Antonito to Chama and Durango to Silverton, both of which are incredibly beautiful. A few other portions remain in standard gauge, including Pueblo south to Cuchara Junction and Pueblo west through the Royal Gorge.