The Grand Canyon Railway.
Historic Route To The Grand Canyon.
Once praised by the naturalist John Muir for its environmental friendliness and ridden by several U.S. Presidents on their campaign trails, the Grand Canyon Railway is a rail tour of the gorgeous countryside leading up to the grandest canyon of them all. Begun in 1901, the train is, today, a delightful step back into the past and the days of the Wild West. The sixty mile trip begins in Williams, Arizona and heads north to the Grand Canyon South Rim; the journey is filled with majestic scenery and on-board entertainment sure to please all travelers.
Journey To The South Rim.
Travelers set off from the Williams Depot and head northward through a mesmerizing landscape. Travelers may want to get there ahead of schedule in order to visit the railway’s museum before boarding. Once underway, memorable views of the Kaibab National Forest demonstrate the scenery’s untouched beauty. Groves of ponderosa pine and Douglas fir open up to stretches of mesquite and manzanita. Travelers may even be fortunate enough to spot a Peregrine falcon range above a field of sunflowers. From the train windows, travelers have been known to spot many of the area’s wildlife like antelope, mule deer, and coyotes.
Of course, all the scenery rushes by as you enjoy all the comforts of rail travel. The two-and-half-hour journey to the Grand Canyon Railway Station is filled with wonderful accommodations. Refurbished train cars have been restored to their 1920s grandeur and air conditioning has been added. Depending on the type of trip purchased, there is also access to fully stocked bar as well as other refreshments. Comfortable seating and the great views make for a pleasant journey through an ancient landscape.
The trip ends at Grand Canyon Railway Station where travelers may walk or take a shuttle to the canyon. The guides aboard the train will have offered lots of colorful history about the area and will have plenty of information to offer about the Grand Canyon. Travelers will want to look forward to the return journey when a mock train robbery will be acted for added entertainment.
The Grand Canyon Railway offered its first trip in 1901 and led eager sightseers to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon through 1968 when it was shut down due to the increasing popularity of the car. However, the railway was revived in 1989 when new owners Max and Thelma Biegert decided to reinstate this historic journey with their own brand of flair and western charm. Under their care, the railway brought roughly 230,000 travelers to the canyon each year. Its success led the entrepreneurs to expand the train’s entertainment capacity as well as to install a full-service restaurant and hotels. The Biegert’s sold their operation in 2006 to the Xanterra Company who promises to continue the railway’s current operations, but they also promise to add an amusement park in Williams.
The Takeoff Point.
The Williams Depot is located at 233 N. Grand Canyon Boulevard in Williams, Arizona. Williams can be reached by I-40. It is thirty miles west of Flagstaff and roughly 230 miles from Las Vegas.
Where To Stay.
There are plenty of accommodation choices including hotels in Williams and Flagstaff hotels about 30 miles west of Williams.
Grand Canyon Railway Website
Page photos courtesy of The Grand Canyon Railway.