Updated: Feb 28, 2021
The Grand Canyon Railway is an entertaining, historic train ride to the Grand Canyon. This adventure includes western music, cowboy characters and a cowboy showdown, along with an old fashioned train robbery. Most importantly, it is on an amazing vintage train. Make your grand trip the grandest by hopping aboard a train that will take you back in time. How does the cowboy saying go? “If you climb in the saddle, be ready for the ride.”
COVID-19 Warning: There is currently no statewide mask order in Arizona. Williams is located in Coconino County, which does have a mask order for anyone inside a public space. Children ages 2 and younger are exempt from this order. Guests are required to wear masks while in interior public spaces and while on the train.
The travel industry is noticing kids are starting to have more of an influence on vacation destinations and activities. Sadly, visiting the Grand Canyon may not be at the top of your kid’s bucket list. However, a western train ride may be the perfect way to get the kids on board with this family vacation.
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
While in Phoenix, check out my blog post on the Desert Botanical Gardens Click here.
The train departs daily from Williams, Arizona. Tickets and packages must be purchased in advance.
Departure is at 9:30 am
Arrives at the Grand Canyon at 11:45 am
Three hours at the Grand Canyon
Departure time is at 3:30pm
Arrives at train station at 5:45 pm
We selected the 3 night package which included:
Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel in Williams, AZ
One Night at the Grand Canyon at Kachina Lodge
Train Ride back to Williams
Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel in Williams, AZ
Here is what to expect:
Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel
233 N. Grand Canyon Blvd in Williams, Arizona
If you stay at the hotel, your railroad tickets will be at the front desk when you check in. The Grand Canyon Hotel is designed to resembled an Old Western train depot. This is the ideal spot to stay the night before your train ride, since it is located right next door to the train station. While at the hotel, take time to enjoy the indoor swimming pool, free WI-FI and free parking. Our hotel stay was for two nights, one before and one after the train ride.
Wild West Show at the Williams Depot
Wake up early because prior to boarding, a Wild West Shootout will take place in front of the train station. It is a live interactive show which is included with your train ticket. My husband was beyond excited that he was selected to be one of the participants in the show. Sit close to the front and you may be selected. He is the tourist in the picture. I think the backpack and tennis shoes is a dead giveaway. Hehe!
If you show up early, your kids will be able to interact with the cowboys.
Ride to the Grand Canyon
2 hour 15 minute ride
The ride on the Grand Canyon Railway is an exciting way to get to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Boarding begins fifteen minutes after the Wild West Show. I suggest buying First Class tickets or higher. These tickets include breakfast, along with spacious over-sized seating. Also, the train attendant will provide beer, wine and mixed drinks if you like, all for additional charge.
This is when the fun starts for everyone with live cowboy entertainment. Cash tips are accepted.
During the train ride, a photographer will come around to take your pictures. We were beyond pleased with our pictures. It is so difficult to get a family picture of us all looking at the camera.
Kachina Lodge at the Grand Canyon
This hotel is directly on the rim of the Grand Canyon. You can spend your day hiking the trails around the Grand Canyon, then head back to your room for good night’s sleep.
Grand Canyon blog is coming soon.
Ride Back to Williams
A snack will be provided during your ride back to the depot, if you are in first class or higher.
After snack time, the train will be robbed by bandits. Remember, you are in the Wild West and these things happen.
Hide your money!
However, do not worry there is a sheriff on board.
Look out for wild life while you are on the train. We found this adorable little family of deer. We even placed bets on who could find the best Arizona wild life, while on the train. I won!
This Grand Canyon Railway is an exciting way to go back in time to see the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. It is an amazing way for the entire family to enjoy time together. No matter what time of the year you choose to visit the Grand Canyon, it will be a memorable experience.
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