The weekend kicks off Thursday and Friday, with guided hikes along the route of Otto Mears’ Silverton Railroad, from Red Mountain Pass to the Albany town site below Ironton. Thursday’s route will go from the top of the pass to the Guston town site, and the route on Friday will continue from Guston to the Corkscrew turntable, and on to the railbed’s terminus north of Ironton. According to trip leader Don Paulson, the downhill hikes will require some bushwhacking, which means participants should wear long pants, bring lunch and weather gear, and be in good shape. Meet at the Corkscrew Gulch 4WD trailhead, 7.8 miles south of Ouray on US 550, by 9 a.m.. For more info., call 970/325-0931.
On Saturday, the Railroad Museum, which is located at the corner of Highway 550 and Highway 62, will host an open house from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., including free rides on the Galloping Goose 4 on the half hour. Saturday will also feature an open house at Don Paulson’s extensive model-train layout between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m., and a Narrow Gauge Symposium at Ridgway Town Hall Community Room from 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. At 7 p.m., there will be an in-depth presentation on the Ouray Branch of the Denver and Rio Grande railroad, which ran from 1887 through 1953.
The weekend ends on Sunday with guided tours of the routes of the Rio Grande Southern railroad, and the Ouray Branch of the Denver and Rio Grande. These tours will be in car caravans, with talks by Museum staff at selected viewpoints. The RGS trip will leave the museum at 9:30 a.m. and return by 4 p.m., and the Ouray trip will leave at 10 a.m. and return around noon. Tours are limited to a maximum of eight cars, so pre-registration is encouraged. For more information about Ouray County Railroad Days, call 970/626-4239 or 970/626-4373.