The Grand Canyon Railway is a staple to the Grand Canyon National Park. A brief history lesson shows that the railway has been around since 1901 and began as an enterprise to bring ore out of the Anita mines. Buckey O’Neill was instrumental in promoting the importance having the railway system to not only help with the mining process, but also to open up tourism to that region of Arizona. He boasted about the natural beauty of the canyons to the Santa Fe Pacific Railroad Company to gain financial support to develop and run the railway. Between the years 1901 and 1968, the railway sparked an interest in Americans to ride the rails and visit what Teddy Roosevelt said, “Every American should see.”
Fast forward to the present, the train not only travels to the South Rim, but also back in time. Your journey begins with at the historic Grand Canyon Railway Hotel, dubbed the Gateway to the Grand Canyon—a haven for overnight guests awaiting their trip to the Canyon. Just like a scene from an old Western black and white film, you can make your escape to the train after a rendition of a Wild West shootout. Then chug along the winding tracks until you reach your Grand Canyon South Rim destination.
At the South Rim, you’ll find plenty of Grand Canyon National Park lodging options as well as activities and tours. Make sure to book well in advance for best choices of accommodations and tour packages. Popular tours include smooth water and white river rafting, helicopter tours, and Grand Canyon National Park hiking to cover the vast amount of trails throughout the Canyon.
There are a few packages you can select for your train ride experience. Choose from the Railway Express, Railway Getaway, Railway Getaway Plus, or the Canyon Limited Plus, which all offer at least one night stay at a hotel and a meal option. During the winter months a magical thing occurs, the Polar Express appears to take route and deliver Santa Claus to the North Pole with several excited children in tow. Along the way, there will be several photo ops with Santa and time to fill up on chocolate chips and hot cocoa. Prices for the railway tickets, including the Polar Express vary from $40 – $370, but it’s advised to check current pricing on the Grand Canyon Railway website before you go.
The railway, classic and distinctive continues to offers so much excitement and entertainment for the entire family. It’s no wonder why the successful venture has stood the test of time. It’s not hard to see why the Grand Canyon Railway is still a worthy attraction to the Grand Canyon.