Grand Canyon Railway#9 in Best Things To Do in Grand Canyon
Built in the late 1800s, this historic railroad was originally used to transport ore from the Anita mines, which sit just north of Williams, Arizona. The railway began traveling to the Grand Canyon in 1901, making the park accessible to the public. But with the rise in automobile use, the trains lost business, and the Grand Canyon Depot saw its last passenger train in 1968. The Grand Canyon Railway underwent extensive restoration and was reopened in 1989.
Today, this historic train carries passengers between Williams and the South Rim's Grand Canyon Depot. Along the way, passengers will see a variety of landscapes from the Ponderosa and Pinion pine forests to expansive prairies and of course, canyons. Most recent passengers say the scenery was stunning and that their train guides were entertaining and informative, regaling them with stories about the history of the train and the region.
Trains depart from Williams at 9:30 a.m. every day and arrive at Grand Canyon Village around 11:45 a.m. Return trips leave the village at 3:30 p.m. and arrive back in Williams around 5:45 p.m. During peak visitor periods, such as the summer season, a second train departure is added to the schedule. There are six different classes to choose from: Pullman, Coach, First Class, Observation Dome, Luxury Dome and Luxury Parlor. Tickets for adults range from $67 to $219 depending on which class you ride. The depot contains a gift shop and a Wild West-themed show. For more information, check out the Grand Canyon Railway website.
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#1 Grand Canyon Village
Grand Canyon Village is the most popular entryway into the park and, as such, often suffers from heavy crowds during the peak seasons in spring, summer and fall. But there's a reason the area is so appealing. It's home to Yavapai Point, one of the best places to view the canyon. If you don't like camping but want to stay within the park, you should consider looking for lodging here.
If you're staying elsewhere, anticipate spending at least half a day visiting the village's sights. Stop by the rustic Grand Canyon Railway Depot, which welcomes Grand Canyon Railway passengers to the village. Here, you'll learn about how the expansion of the railroad had an impact on Grand Canyon tourism. For authentic Native American souvenirs, head to the Hopi House, an adobe-style building representing a traditional Hopi crafts studio. Meanwhile, art aficionados should stop by the Kolb and Lookout studios for works of art inspired by the Grand Canyon.
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