See the Beauty of Arizona on a Train
Arizona Train Day Trips Feature Famous Canyons, Pine Trees and Historic Towns
Taking one of the train day trips in Arizona is a wonderful way to see the back country of some of the most beautiful parts of the state of Arizona. My family and I have taken these trips as a great way to take a short vacation from the heat of the Phoenix valley. We also try to fit one of the three best train day trips when friends and family are visiting from out of town. This year alone we took my aunt from Idaho on the Verde Valley Railroad so she could experience the beauty of the Verde Valley and Sedona's red rocks. Then my sister took our parents on the Grand Canyon Railway for Father's Day weekend. The Grand Canyon is so lovely in the summertime.
Taking train trips has been in my family's blood for many years. As far back as I can remember, taking the train on a vacation was a special treat. I have taken Amtrak trains to see both coasts (different vacations and trips); both on fun day trips and on longer overnight trips. Our favorite train trip as a family was our trip from Los Angeles to New Orleans and back. But, all of those trips are to be saved for another travel story.
Planning a train day trip is pretty easy and just takes a little preparing a head of time such as deciding which train trip to take, picking the date for your day trip, making the reservations, deciding on buying a package deal or not and making a list of things to take with you. If you have a dog with you when visiting Arizona, there are several very good kennels in the area to board your pet with until you get back. Lastly, plan on having a great time and meeting lots of wonderful people on the train too.
Photos featured were all taken by LilMonkey's Family
A nice travel guide with great photos, tips on places to visit, where to stay and eat are important when planning a day trip or even a vacation to see the beautiful State of Arizona.
Grand Canyon Railway Adventure
Taking a day trip on the Grand Canyon Railway is a wonderful way to experience this national wonder. I recommend making reservations through the Grand Canyon Railway website. It is easy to do; in a few minutes you train day trip is booked. This is a summary of our trip:
The scenery on the trip is fantastic. The service is wonderful. Depending on the class you choose determines comfort and snacks. We chose the Luxury class because it had access to outside. The service and snacks were wonderful. They provide a morning snack of fruit and bread, coffee and water on the way up. Alcoholic drinks cost extra.
On the trip back, there were more snacks and lemonade. There is entertainment: a singer with an instrument, banjo, guitar, accordion. There is a "hold up" where train robbers chase the train and board it to rob you, all in fun of course. The service on our train was great, they not only serve you, but are entertaining and watch for wild life and sights to point out, and provide history of the train. The time on the train went fast.
If traveling with anyone who might need extra assistance or has trouble walking such as elderly parents like mine, make sure to book the correct car for handicapped access! Those cars are listed on the main train page. We unfortunately did not pick the correct car since our car was not easy for mom and dad to get in and out of. The steps were steep and they had trouble with them. The "outside area" was small, very crowded and not much to see, unless you like looking behind the train. The seats in luxury were very comfy. I would recommend reviewing the car choices if you need extra assistance.
There are several ways to go the rest of the way to the rim of the Grand Canyon. We selected The Coach as recommended by the Grand Canyon Railroad. The Coach picks you up right next to the train. We ended up with a very nice tour guide who gave everyone lots of information on Williams and the Grand Canyon. You don't have to decide which views to go to, they take you to the "best" views. The coach was very comfortable and had good air conditioning.
The tour guides will follow the group around and give history and information about the area you are looking at. Plus, you can choose to wander around on your own. The Coach costs extra on top of the train fare. We chose the sightseeing package with lunch. The lunch was at a cafeteria at Maswik Lodge. Since we only had a very short time to stand in line, eat and make the ever important potty break, I would also recommend looking at eating on your own at one of the other eating areas since the cafeteria line was long due to many buses stopping for lunch also.
There are free shuttle buses provided by the National Parks Service that pick up right next to the train depot. You must know what you want to see or where you want to go, but at least you make your choices and plan your time. They looked like nice buses, but were crowded during the peak season. No matter what you do to get there, the views of the Grand Canyon are worth any mode of transportation!
Once you arrive at the Grand Canyon rim area, there are several walking trips and historic buildings to check out. There is so much to see and explore that I recommend considering taking the train up on one day, stay overnight in the lodge and return on the train the next day. Time goes so fast that you wish you had more time to see it all. Plus the sunsets and sunrise over the canyon are a photographers delight.
Find Williams, Arizona
When Planning your Grand Canyon Railway Adventure
- Grand Canyon Railway
This is the official site to book your adventure on the Grand Canyon Railway. There are lots of different packages available. In the winter, the Polar Express is a must with families with children. Also check out the links to the Railway Hotel, Rail
- Williams Arizona
The Gateway to the Grand Canyon, Williams had everything for your adventure. Route 66 runs through town, cabins in the countryside, information on locat history and more can be found on this website. A great tool when planning your Grand Canyon Rail
- Grand Canyon National Park
Free shuttles, facts about the canyon, upcoming special events, more trip details, area maps and more are found at the National Parks Service site on the Grand Canyon.
- Arizona Classy Cabins
We stayed in the Moose Manor cabin, but they also have a much bigger cabin, too. The owners of this cabin were wonderful to work with. The cabin is in a nice neighborhood with lots of pine trees It is near Williams, Arizona which is a fun place to
A nice travel guide with great photos, tips on places to visit, where to stay and eat are important when planning a day trip or even a vacation to see the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.
Grand Canyon Train Trip - Family Photo GalleryClick thumbnail to view full-size
Don't Forget to Take:
Comfortable Walking Shoes
Map of Area
Prepaid Tickets or Reservation
Money for Soveniors
A day pack is an important item to take on a day trip like this. I take one every time we go on a sight-seeing trip whether in a car or on a train. It is light weight but large enough to carry all your items for the day.
Verde Canyon Railroad Adventure
The Verde Canyon Railroad is billed as the "longest running nature show" in Arizona. Beginning at Clarkdale and turning around at Perkinsville, this Verde Canyon Railroad trip will take you through the beautiful landscape of the Verde Valley in Arizona. Verde means green in Spanish so that should give you a hint on what you will see.
We thoroughly enjoy this train day trip and take visitors on this train whenever we can. Our latest trip was with my father's aunt who was visiting from Coeur'd'Alene, Idaho. She lives amongst beauty and still found the Verde Valley just as gorgous as her northern home country. Arizona is has so much beauty within its borders. So much so, there is a magazine with its name.
This train is an open air car vehicle which really gives you a great view of the nature and landscape. We took this trip just this spring so the floral fauna was in full bloom and we even spotted an eagle in the distance. I am so disappointed to say on this last trip, we forgot the camera in the car glovebox until we were already boarding. Such disappointment, but also another reason to take this day trip again.
After the train ride, we enjoyed a wonderful meal and entertainment at the Blazin Ranch. It was a great way to end the day.
Find Clarkdale, Arizona
When Planning your Verde Canyon Train Trip
- Verde Canyon Railroad
Book your train day trip right here and see the beautiful sights of Verde Valley and Sedona, Arizona.
- Town of Clarkdale
A great place to start in planning your train trip. They have lots of local information on where to eat, lodging and kennels.
- Blazin M Ranch
A true western experience with great food, entertainment and fun.
- Camp Verde
Established in 1865, rich in history, Camp Verde is a nice stop on your adventure.
- Sedona Arizona
No trip to Verde Canyon is complete without a visit to Sedona. A photographer's heaven, the red rocks are just glowing in the sunlight.
- Verde Valley Wine Trail
If you can, add this wine tasting visit to the train day trip. Wineries thrive at this elevation in Arizona.
Copper Spike Train in Globe Arizona
Save the Train!
This Copper Spike Train was taking tourists and locals on day exursions through the historic town of Globe, Arizona and its rich copper mining area. At least until recently when the Eastern Arizona Railroad was sold. There is a facebook page set up to help save the train. Check it out for more details. It's always sad when another historic train stops running. We have taken the grandkids on this short day trip since it was an inexpensive way to ride the train. Plus the area of Globe, Arizona is quaint, historic and cooler than the valley.
This train is lots of fun for the family complete with its "shoot out" in the street and conductors in period uniforms. It has a dining car and observation car and more. The kids always get a kick out of hearing the click clack of the wheels on the rails. A treat for kids of all ages, especially those who love trains like me. I hope the Copper Spike Railroad runs again.
Photo courtesy of Globe Miami Commons