There are two ways to get into the Chicago Basin – a looong hike in from Purgatory or a ride on the Durango Silverton Train.
We opted for the Durango Silverton train, and I booked tickets back in April to get us choice seats in the first-class Knight Sky car.
Apparently we’re the first dirty hikers ever to book first class tickets as the lady outside the train emphatically said ‘No!’ when I said we were headed to the car. Once I showed her our tickets she softened up, but it was a laughing moment for all of us.
The train winds along the Animas River from Durango up to Silverton, with a stop in Silverton for lunch and then returning along the same route back to Durango.
Just over halfway up the route is the Needleton Flagstop, where the train drops off hikers and their packs for the 6+ mile hike up into the Chicago Basin.
Colette is smart enough NOT to schlep a bunch of gear into the mountains and then sleep on the ground, so she continued onto Silverton for the roundtrip after the train dropped Shelby, Tom, Greg and myself off at Needleton.
The scenery along the route is pretty amazing, from steep drops down to the Animas River to the towering peaks of the San Juan mountains.
Colette was thankful for the glass ceiling of the train car as the train experienced the same torrential downpour that we hikers got on our trip up to camp.
Expect posts from the Chicago Basin 14ers and the Wilson Group 14ers coming up in a few days!
Ready to Climb
Durango & Silverton
Above the Animas
Peace and Quiet
Silverton Train Depot
Ready to Roll
And it Starts
A Quick Ride On the Train
A Quick Ride on the Durango Silverton Train
Above The Animas
Far above the Animas River
Rain Coming Down
Rain pouring down
Needleton Flagstop Rain
The Needleton Flagstop getting dumped on