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See the Beauty of Arizona on a Train

Updated on January 8, 2016
Nanciajohnson profile image

I enjoy painting fantasy art, going to art shows, creating delicious dishes, being with my grandkids, taking walks, and reading good books.

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

Day Trips from Phoenix, Tucson & Flagstaff, 11th: Getaway Ideas for the Local Traveler (Day Trips Series)
Day Trips from Phoenix, Tucson & Flagstaff, 11th: Getaway Ideas for the Local Traveler (Day Trips Series)

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 Railroad
Grand Canyon Railroad

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

Williams, Arizona

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Grand Canyon Guide: Your Complete Guide to the Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon Guide: Your Complete Guide to the Grand Canyon

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 Gallery

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Mom's Rock (mom liked it)Passenger CarAll AboardOh, Oh a Train Robbery in ProgressMom and Dad Enjoying the Beauty
Mom's Rock (mom liked it)
Mom's Rock (mom liked it)
Passenger Car
Passenger Car
All Aboard
All Aboard
Oh, Oh a Train Robbery in Progress
Oh, Oh a Train Robbery in Progress
Mom and Dad Enjoying the Beauty
Mom and Dad Enjoying the Beauty

Don't Forget to Take:

Day Pack

Water Bottle


Small Camera

Comfortable Walking Shoes

Map of Area

Prepaid Tickets or Reservation

Money for Soveniors

Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Day Pack (20-Liter)
Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Day Pack (20-Liter)

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.

Family Train Trip
Family Train Trip

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

Clarkdale, Arizona

get directions

Copper Spike Train
Copper Spike Train

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

Find Globe, Arizona

Globe, Arizona

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Have you Taken a Train Day Trip? - If so, tell us about it!

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    • Nanciajohnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Johnson 

      6 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      @JoshK47: Thank you for the blessing, I really appreciate it. A train trip to see the fall colors is amazing.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      This looks like a beautiful way to spend the day - great use of the new theme, as well! Blessed by a SquidAngel!

    • Nanciajohnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Johnson 

      6 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      @ofdifferentsorts: I too agree, taking the train takes you into the canyons and valleys where highways cannot go sometimes. Thank you for stopping by and liking my lens.

    • ofdifferentsorts profile image

      Paul Franciskato 

      6 years ago from Junction City, Kansas

      I took a ride on one of the trains of the Abilene & Smoky Valley Railroad that runs from Abilene, KS to Enterprise, KS last year. It is a short trip but a fun way to see the Kansas landscape outside of a car.

    • Nanciajohnson profile imageAUTHOR

      Nancy Johnson 

      6 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      @Kailua-KonaGirl: Thank you so much for the blessings. Are you taking your granddaughter on the Polar Express? I am taking my grandsons this Christmas time. Years ago we took the train from LA Calif to New Orleans. A very fun train trip.

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 

      6 years ago from New York

      Yes I have, in fact I am taking my granddaughter on a two-day trip by train next week. I have taken many trains to many destinations over the last 10 years, but have yet to take this one. I will be in Arizona this Christmas and am going to take this one before I head off to New Orleans. Great info and lens. *Squid Angel Blessed* and added to "My Squid Angel Blessings for 2012" in the "Travel & Places » United States" neighborhood.

    • rallo-smith profile image


      6 years ago

      Haven't been on a train in years. I love traveling by train just never think about it.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 

      6 years ago from New Zealand

      Nice lens. No I haven't taken a train day trip. We do not have many passenger trains in New Zealand. where I live in Taranaki there are none. So it would be great if I could. Thanks for sharing.

    • intermarks profile image


      6 years ago

      A train trip should be nice since we can enjoy and relax in the train while looking at the scenery.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 

      6 years ago

      Yes! numerous times

      Great lens

    • Teapixie LM profile image

      Tea Pixie 

      6 years ago

      I have never, but your article has me thinking very seriously about it. I will be in Canyon de Chelly this summer and you have a great idea here. Nice work!


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