Skip to content

How to use the Denver Airport Train: From airport to downtown in 37 minutes for just $10.50

Oct. 29, 2022
6 min read
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

At many major airports, getting to and from the city center can be a bit of a soul-sucking slog that can take more time and money than you wish.

Long waits or walks for cabs or ride shares and expensive drives to/from the city center can quickly take the wind out of your sails when all you want to do is start (or end) your vacation.

However, after my first time on the Denver Airport Train, I'm a touch obsessed with how easy and affordable it was to travel the 23 miles from the Denver International Airport (DEN) to downtown Denver. In fact, it was so easy it pushes Denver (and the mountain-bound Ski Train from Denver, more on that shortly) even higher on my visit-again-soon list.

In case you've never ridden the Denver Airport Train and are curious how it might make your next trip to the area easier, here's how it works.

Related: TPG's guide to Denver International Airport

SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

How to find the Denver Airport Train

To take the train from the airport in Denver, all you really have to do is follow the signs.

The signs will read "Trains to City" or "Transit Center," so just follow those as you head to the main part of the airport that's home to the baggage carousels and ground transportation, and then head toward the Westin airport hotel area.

Once you're there, instead of going into the Westin, you'll head down the escalator to the Transit Center.

SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

At the ground level, you'll see a ticket machine and the train platform — those are good signs that you're in the right place.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

While there are some discounts available to seniors, children, military and similar, full-fare tickets are $10.50 and available for sale either at the machine or even in an app if that's your preference.

Related: Best credit cards for trains

SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

Related: Denver airport conspiracy theories

How long does the Denver Airport Train take

Normally, the train runs every 15 minutes from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. and every 30 minutes outside those hours (other than a few hours in the very middle of the night when it stops running). During my October ride, it was running every 30 minutes all day long due to some ongoing repairs, but that's not the normal situation.

Once the ride began, the speed reached 79 miles per hour, so it only took 37 minutes with the six included stops before we arrived at Denver's Union Station, which was the seventh and final stop on the A Line.

SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

Related: Where to eat and drink at the Denver airport

What it was like on the train

During my 5:30 p.m. ride, the train was clean. There were a number of riders on board, but it certainly wasn't crowded. In other words, we didn't have to share the two-by-two seats with anyone if we didn't want to.

The seats were padded and there were luggage racks both over the seats and near the train exit doors.

SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

What to do once you get to Union Station

From Denver's Union Station, you'll have a lot of transportation options that vary from walking to your nearby hotel or attractions like Coors Field, using the free 16th Street MallRide hybrid shuttle buses, getting a cab or using a ride-hailing service, connecting to Light Rail, taking Amtrak's California Zephyr or even heading to Winter Park on the Ski Train.

SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

It can be tricky, cumbersome and slow to drive yourself to the mountains from Denver, depending on the day and the weather — not to mention the reality that rental cars can be quite expensive.

With that in mind, one of the reasons I was so excited at the simplicity of the Denver Airport Train was that it made the prospect of riding the Ski Train that departs from Union Station seasonally on weekends that much more appealing.

We could fly into Denver on a Friday, take the train to Union Station that night, stay downtown nearby at a hotel like The Crawford in Union Station or the nearby Rally Hotel overlooking Coors Field, and then take the Ski Train from Union Station on Saturday morning right to Winter Park without ever needing to rent a car.

Related: Guide to Denver airport lounges

SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

After skiing Saturday and Sunday, you could hop the Ski Train back to Union Station in the afternoon, get the Airport Rail back to the airport and fly home all without dealing with traffic, driving or car rentals.

Or, do what TPG's Benji Stawski did last year and take the ski train to Winter Park just for the day and simply keep your hotel in Denver.

BENJI STAWSKI/THE POINTS GUY

Also, if you find yourself with a little time to kill inside Denver's Union Station, that's not the worst outcome, either. It's a pretty lovely space with some places to eat and drink while you wait.

SUMMER HULL/THE POINTS GUY

Bottom line

I travel a lot and find the process of getting to and from the city to the airport to be a real chore in some areas. I'm thrilled when I come across a city that has it figured out, and Denver absolutely falls into that category.

Featured image by GARY CONNER/GETTY IMAGES
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site

Rewards

3 - 4X points
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

Intro offer

60,000 bonus points
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

$250

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees