For the tourist looking for a historical, luxurious, and entirely one-of-a-kind way to experience the Grand Canyon, consider a ride on the Grand Canyon Railway! The first passengers arrived at the Grand Canyon by train in September of 1901—almost a decade before the Canyon officially became a National Park. Today, the Grand Canyon Railway not only preserves this historic route, but also operates historic locomotives from railroad services across the country that have been reconditioned and modernized—not only to improve passenger comfort, but also to mazimize energy efficiency and minimize the Railway’s environmental impact. A ride on the Grand Canyon Railway is perfect for families, couples, or groups. You can enjoy an unforgettable train ride capped off by a night (or several) at the luxe Grand Canyon Hotel, or start off your overnight Grand Canyon excursion with a bang via this unique means of transport! The train leaves from Williams, AZ; you can either ride to the Canyon and back in style, or spend some time in this breathtaking national park before booking your return.
Today, the Grand Canyon Railway offers six classes of service, which means that you can choose the experience that’s right for you. Pullman Class offers the opportunity to ride in original yet conveniently refurbished 1920s passenger cars (*note: spring and summer availability only) with openable observation windows. Coach Class passengers ride in refurbished streamliner-era cars with bench seats and climate control. First Class cars offer comfortable reclining seats, plenty of legroom, air-conditioning, and complimentary snacks, pastries, coffee, and more. Observation Dome Class offers all the comfort of First Class accommodation within a completely glass-enclosed car for unbeatable panoramic view of the changing landscape surrounding the Canyon. Luxury Parlor cars offer First Class amenities plus a private bar, champagne toast, and open-air platforms at the rear for a truly special experience. Finally, Luxury Dome passengers get to combine unmatched Observation Dome views with Luxury Parlor opulence and service.
In addition to their standard trips from Williams Depot to the Grand Canyon Depot (at the Canyon’s South Rim)—traveling through endless expanses of high desert, spectacular ponderosa pine forests, and more—the Railway offers special annual activities such as a magical nighttime Christmas Polar Express journey for families or a chance to ride 90-year-old historic steam locomotives reimagined and redesigned to run on waste vegetable fuel, significantly reducing the enormous impact of regular steam-powered trains. Finally, choose from numerous add-ons with the Grand Canyon Railway’s partner companies, including jeep tours, river tours, mule rides, and more!
Grand Canyon Railway Features and Amenities (in most tours):
- 5-hour (round-trip) excursion with amazing views of the Grand Canyon’s surrounding scenery—from changing landscapes and vegetation to wildlife such as elk, mountain lions, and even bald eagles!
- Helpful, friendly, and attentive staff dedicated to providing the best service across all cars and all classes
- Several Coach and First Class cabins are completely ADA-compliant!
- Your journey includes such highlights as a Wild West shootout, wandering Western singers providing live entertainment aboard the train, and more
- Coffee, pastries, fruit, juices, sodas, snacks, alcoholic beverages, and more are available—either complimentary or for purchase, depending on chosen class
- The Grand Canyon Railway operates every day, year-round (with the exception of December 25)!
Notes and Things to Improve:
- Please note that the Grand Canyon Railway doesn’t actually travel through the Grand Canyon; instead, if offers a truly special means of getting there and back. Each train voyage allows passengers time to spend in the Canyon, however—and if that’s not enough, you can add additional Canyon adventure packages
- During peak periods (and in case of unusually high numbers of bookings), the Grand Canyon Railway will run two separate departures per day: Observation Dome, Luxury Dome, and Luxury Parlor Classes will leave Williams at 9:30am and return from the Canyon at 3:30pm, while Pullman and Coach Classes will leave Williams at 10am and return at 4pm: however, all passengers will have the same amount of time to spend in the Canyon!
- If you need to cancel your trip for any reason, be sure to do so at least 72 hours before departure in order to receive a full refund
- Please note that the Grand Canyon Railway is often fully booked: in order to ensure that you don’t lose your seat, please pick up your tickets at least 30 minutes before departure
Sample of Popular Grand Canyon Railway Packages
In addition to a breathtaking round-trip voyage to the Grand Canyon, enjoy a coach tour along the South Rim, stopping at several incredible viewpoints. Spend two luxurious nights at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel, including two breakfasts and dinners at the hotel restaurant! (*note: cost is for Coach Class, though you can save 25% off an upgrade to First Class with this package)
Canyon Discovery Plus:
Everything included in the Canyon Discovery package, plus an additional 24 hours inside the Grand Canyon National Park! Stay overnight at the Railway-owned Maswik Lodge for a luxurious getaway in the midst of Ponderosa Pine forests, only a quarter mile from the Canyon’s South Rim.
Kiersten Armstrong says
Yes I am from NJ and my daughter and I are visiting Phoenix for a week in November. She is 28. I was wondering if you could send me information and help us plan this trip. She loves the idea of the train and wants to hike the canyon. Also we would like to see an Indian reservation. Coming the east we know nothing of this area. Any suggestions would e appreciated.
Our address is 1404 Franklin Blvd., Linwood,NJ 08221
Hi Kiersten, The train leaves from Williams and you will stay for about half a day at the South Rim village. If you want to hike the canyon, the train depot is very close to the Bright Angel trailhead. It’s best to time your walk down keeping in mind it takes about twice as long to walk back up. It will likely be a bit cool in November but remember to bring some water with you. If you are planning on just staying for one or two nights, then there are plenty of choices in Williams. If you are staying longer, then I would suggest also staying closer to the rim, either in Tusayan or the Grand Canyon Village. You really won’t see any indian reservations at either place.