Travel back in time aboard the Grand Canyon Railway as it ferries passengers to one of the most stunning natural sites in the world, the mighty Grand Canyon. Dating back a century to the 1800s when the train came into existence as a means of hauling ore from one of the nearby mines, the owners were quick to realize its potential as a tourist attraction, and in 1901 chugged out the first passenger-filled Grand Canyon Railway train.
Decades later, the train was pulled out of service owing to falling numbers. Soon enough, though, the train service was back up and running and had been running ever since, ferrying passengers all year through to the Grand Canyon. Today, guests have the luxury of enjoying the pomp and grandeur of a bygone era at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel, located right by the train depot, in addition to the train ride to the Grand Canyon.
All Aboard the Grand Canyon Railway
Make bookings in advance for a ride on the Grand Canyon Railway Train. This popular train ride is packed on most days. During peak season, a second train is put into service. A good option is to book a vacation package covering your stay at the hotel, train rides, and meals. There are several coach classes to choose from, each with different facilities and pricing.
The Train Journey
The train ride, covering a distance of 65 miles each way, takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes to reach the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park. It departs from Williams Depot in the morning and makes its way back in the evening from the Grand Canyon Depot, giving you plenty of time to explore the area. Opting for a tour at the South Rim is a great way to cover all the main spots of the Grand Canyon.
So much to See Grand Canyon Railway.
There is a whole lot to see and experience onboard this memorable ride as the train traverses through different landscapes. While the ride starts at an elevation of 7000 feet, it will drop down and rise again as it travels through the pine forests of Ponderosa to the wide-open Prairie and the back to the Pinion pine forest before its final approach to the Grand Canyon National Park.
In addition to changing landscapes, keep a lookout for elk, mountain lions, squirrels, mule deer, and skunks. Amongst birds, California condors are common, as are bald eagles and horned owls, and ravens.
Entertainment & Train Robbers
Once you’ve had your fill of looking out of the train windows, there is plenty of onboard entertainment to make this a memorable journey. Since the train travels through cowboy country, of course, there will be cowboys on board! Be careful; you may even have to live through a train robbery. Don’t worry. It’s all part of the fun when you ride the Grand Canyon Railway.
The attendants on board the train share plenty of regional knowledge and historical facts about the train and the area with guests. A highlight of the train ride is the live music. The live musicians provide a great atmosphere aboard the train, from a guitar to a banjo, fiddle, and even a squeezebox.
Grand Canyon Railway Hotel
Staying at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel in Willaims, AZ, is quite a grand experience in itself. The hotel is adjacent to the train station and offers 2-, 3, or 4-night packages. If you want to explore more of the Grand Canyon National Park, guests have the option of choosing a stay at the Maswik Lodge, which is located inside the national park, at just a quarter of a mile from the edge of the canyon.
The Grand Canyon Railway train station is located in Williams, Arizona, along Historic Route 66. A six-hour 425-mile drive from the Los Angeles area. A three-hour, 220-mile drive from Las Vegas. Or an easy 33-mile day trip from Flagstaff, Arizona. Reserve tickets at the railway’s website. 235 N Grand Canyon Blvd, Williams, Arizona.