Several of Colorado’s railroads live on from their frontier births. Where many once connected commerce, now they stir nostalgic imaginations on scenic tours. That’s especially the case in the fall, when aspen-washed hillsides turn gold. Here’s a look at options to consider come September, when displays are brightest:

THE BROADMOOR MANITOU AND PIKES PEAK COG RAILWAY

(adult fares $60, cograilway.com)

If you haven’t taken a ride on the new-and-improved cars to the new-and-improved visitor center at 14,115 feet, fall is a marvelous time to do it. The old growth aspen swaths across the mountain’s broad shoulders are a sight to behold.

CRIPPLE CREEK & VICTOR NARROW GAUGE RAILROAD

(adult fares $17, cripplecreekrailroad.com)

Celebrating one of Colorado’s storied gold bases, the locomotive departs a vintage depot and explores history scattered across the Pikes Peak foothills. Enjoy narration about Echo Valley along the winding way, as well as views of the distant Sangre de Cristos.

LEADVILLE, COLORADO & SOUTHERN RAILROAD

(adult fares $50, leadville-train.com)

The train takes off from the famous mining epicenter and rises 1,000 feet to more colorful realms of wildflower meadows and aspen groves. While zigzagging toward the Continental Divide, you’ll hear tales of Leadville’s heyday.

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GEORGETOWN LOOP RAILROAD

(adult fares $32, georgetownlooprr.com)

The route is iconic for the bridges standing hundreds of feet above the valley floor — engineering marvels when built and still thrilling to traverse a century later. While relatively short, the steam engine grants stunning grandeur in a steep, narrow canyon.

CUMBRES & TOLTEC SCENIC RAILROAD

(adult fares $150, cumbrestoltec.com)

This line is a proud throwback, a coal-fired steamer churning on as it has since the 1880s. It travels more than 60 miles from Antonito to Chama, N.M., through underappreciated terrain on Colorado’s southern edge, through vibrant forests and then over a stunning mountain pass above 10,000 feet.

DURANGO & SILVERTON NARROW GAUGE RAILROAD

(adult fares $100, durangotrain.com)

Enjoy a remarkable journey through the heart of the San Juans, arguably Colorado’s most spectacular countryside. Ambitious backpackers know the lift as necessary to reach treasured trailheads while sightseers are plenty satisfied staying on board all the way to Silverton, with bold scenery of its own.