A number of people have written me since I wrote the post about the Feather River Canyon detour of Amtrak’s California Zephyr last year, asking me to let them know when I hear about the next such detour.
I’m sorry not to be able yet to report a repeat of that detour but Amtrak announced today that the California Zephyr (trains 5 and 6) between Denver and Salt Lake City will detour via southern Wyoming on numerous occasions in July, August, and September.
While I’ve never traveled this route, it is widely considered to not be as dramatically scenic as the normal route of the train along the Colorado River via the cities of Grand Junction and Glenwood Springs, Colo.
However some may enjoy this chance to see what was a portion of the route of Amtrak’s Pioneer (Portland-Denver) and also the route of Amtrak’s California Zephyr in the days before the Denver & Rio Grande Western opted to give up its passenger service to Amtrak.
The train will not make any scheduled stops between Denver and Salt Lake City.
If you are interested in riding on the detour, or if you are concerned that a previously planned trip to enjoy the regular route will be affected, here is the schedule as reported to travel agents by Amtrak.
Eastbound (train 6) leaving Emeryville/Sacramento/Reno/etc on:
30 June – 8 July
31 July – 8 August
31 August – 8 September
The same dates apply westbound (train 5) leaving Chicago. If you are westbound boarding in Denver then add one day to the dates above. (Example: instead of train 5 between 15-23 July it would be between 16-24 July.)
Note that if you have already booked and paid for travel on the California Zephyr expecting to experience the train’s normal route, but discover that your train is detouring, you should call Amtrak right away. Explain that you wanted to experience the regular California Zephyr journey through Colorado. I can’t promise you anything but my hunch is that you stand a good chance of being reaccommodated without additional charge on a non-detour date or eligible for a refund.