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Discover the Wonders of the Grand Canyon by Train

By Amtrak Vacations Sunday, March 18, 2018 Read time: 5 minutes

Arguably one of the world’s most beloved attractions, Grand Canyon National Park never fails to dazzle visitors with its layered, rocky vistas stretching as far as the eye can see. At a jaw-dropping 277 miles long, one-mile deep and up to 18 miles wide, the Grand Canyon is justifiably one of the seven natural wonders of the world and a sight that truly defies description.

You just have to see it to believe it! Luckily, getting there by train is convenient, relaxing and incredibly scenic. Amtrak's iconic Southwest Chief runs between Chicago and Los Angeles and stops daily in Williams, Arizona, just an hour outside of the Grand Canyon. The route itself offers some of the best views of the fabled American West as you pass wheat fields and ranches, mountain ranges and deserts, and missions and pueblos.

Many consider this rail journey one of the most scenic in the country, with endless daytime views right outside your window. Once to Williams, Arizona, board the Grand Canyon Railway for a classic ride through the largest expanse of ponderosa pine forest and stunning southwest scenery. The train ends right at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, just steps away from all the vistas the Canyon is known for.

Consider the 5 following rail journeys to the Grand Canyon when planning your next vacation!

1. Rails to the Grand Canyon

Get to the Grand Canyon from Los Angeles the scenic way - onboard Amtrak's iconic Southwest Chief train. This majestic route winds east through sprawling desert and dramatic canyon passages that are only a few feet wider than the train itself, so you'll be able to sit back, relax and enjoy vistas not visible from any interstate or highway, stress-free!

On Day 2, after a relaxing overnight on the train, wake up to a spectacular sunrise as the train rolls into Williams, Arizona. That morning, your breakfast at the famous Grand Depot Café in Williams is included before you board the Grand Canyon Railway to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. A sightseeing tour of the rim is included, and you'll get a chance to see amazing views and scenic overlooks as you venture where no automobiles can go. Spend two nights at a hotel in the Canyon, and spend time strolling along the Canyon's many trails, and taking in the natural wonders and wildlife around you.

On your final day, board the Grand Canyon Railway back to Williams and in the evening, celebrate the last night of your Grand Canyon journey with an included dinner at the Grand Depot Café. After dinner, board your transfer from the hotel to the Amtrak station and hop on the train back for the relaxing and scenic ride back to Los Angeles.

CLICK HERE to learn more about this vacation!

2. Grand National Parks with Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon

Three of the nation's greatest national parks, including the incredible Grand Canyon, await you on this rail journey across America, starting and ending in Chicago! Take in the great expanse of the American West as you travel across the Great Plains and through the Rocky Mountains aboard Amtrak.

Your first stop will have you enjoying all the sites and wonders of sprawling Yellowstone National Park. Formed from the remains of an extinct super-volcano that exploded around 600,000 years ago, the park is full of alpine lakes, flowing rivers, jagged peaks, expansive forests, hot springs and geysers. Your included tour allows you to experience all of this while stopping at a number of thrilling landmarks such as the world-famous geyser Old Faithful. Keep your eyes open for the abundant wildlife that inhabit Yellowstone such as elk, bears and wolves.

This epic train journey continues on to Yosemite National Park via San Francisco, where your day-trip to the park takes in all the stony peaks, beautiful open meadows, and piney forests that make up this national treasure. From Yosemite, enjoy a night in Los Angeles, then journey on to the Grand Canyon on Amtrak's Southwest Chief. Spend two days discovering the park before your return scenic rail journey back to Chicago.

CLICK HERE to learn more about this vacation!

3. Grand Canyon Getaway

Explore all the beauty the Grand Canyon has to offer on this fabulous 4-day getaway. Your scenic expedition begins in Williams, Arizona, where you will get the opportunity to surround yourself with nature in an outdoor lover's paradise.

Then, you'll climb aboard the Grand Canyon Railway and venture where cars can't - to explore the Canyon's majestic South Rim. This short getaway allows you to discover the splendor of Grand Canyon National Park without a huge time commitment.

CLICK HERE to learn more about this vacation!

4. Route 66 by Rail

This epic journey starts in Chicago and has you riding the rails along historic Route 66 to Los Angeles! Start with a two-day tour of the 'Windy City,' visiting iconic sights such as the Magnificent Mile, Navy Pier, and many more famous Chicago destinations. Don't forget to hop-off and take a picture at the famous sign marking the start of infamous Route 66!  Then, board Amtrak's Texas Eagle to St. Louis, heading south as you journey to the great Midwest on your train ride through the “Show-Me-State.” Spend a day discovering St. Louis before boarding the Southwest Chief for a relaxing overnight journey to Albuquerque.

Enjoy two nights in Albuquerque exploring the sights and sounds of this classic Southwest city marked by its rich Spanish roots. Discover historic Old Town Albuquerque on a private walking tour and learn about the history of Route 66 through this area. From Albuquerque, it's on to the Grand Canyon for two leisurely days discovering all wonders of the Park.

Finally, continue your journey tracing Route 66 with a train journey to Los Angeles. Enjoy a guided sightseeing city tour while you're there, and see the homes of famous movie stars, tour Hollywood, and visit the most popular California beaches, including Santa Monica Beach. While you're there, make sure to take a picture at the sign marking the end of Route 66 and this incredible rail journey!

CLICK HERE to learn more about this vacation!

5. Grand Canyon Explorer

Visit the magnificent Grand Canyon and the other gorgeous Southwestern cities of Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Flagstaff on this 9-day rail journey. Immerse yourself in the rich culture and fascinating heritage of Albuquerque and spend some quality time in the colorful and historic Santa Fe.

Get up close and personal with the wondrous Grand Canyon and discover the astounding natural wonders of Flagstaff, including the stunning Red Rocks of Sedona. This Grand Canyon Explorer rail journey promises a relaxing trip full of spectacular sights!

CLICK HERE to learn more about this vacation!

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