The Grand Canyon (Part Ten)

The grand finale of our 2011 Northern Arizona visit! Paul and the Long Suffering Wife took a bus tour (about three miles) to the west from the Grand Canyon Village with stops at Hopi PointMohave Point, and Trail View Point, took a walk along the rim in the Grand Canyon Village, saw a fantastic sunset before dinner with mule deer visitors after, then a second bus tour (almost twenty-five miles) to the east from the village, stopping at Yaki Point, Moran Point, Lipan Point, and finally, at the Desert View Watchtower.

When we went we took a travel package that included:

  • a night in Williams, Arizona at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel
  • morning train ride from Williams to the Grand Canyon
  • an overnight stay at a lodge in the Grand Canyon Village
  • afternoon train ride back to Williams from the Grand Canyon
  • a final night in Williams at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel

I have rarely bought travel packages in the past (I prefer to wander where and when I want) but this was a great combination. If you can swing the time, I highly recommend it!

Having said that, there are also numerous other lodging choices in Williams. You can also just get tickets for the train, and it’s possible to do a one-day round trip with a couple of hours at the South Rim. There are also “Polar Express” train trips in the winter that don’t go all the way to the Canyon, but stop at a “Santa’s Village” site along the way.

IMG_0893 smallAfter getting off the late morning tour bus on our second day at the Grand Canyon, we picked up our luggage from the lodge and hustled off to the Grand Canyon railroad station.

IMG_0268 smallI’ve always been more of a plane-guy than a train-guy (duh!) but I’ve got to admit, a nice train ride can be a lot of fun. This picture was taken as the train pulled back into the Williams station.

IMG_0286 smallUp near the canyon you’re at about 7,200′ elevation. Here the predominant foliage consists of pine trees.

IMG_0281 smallDown closer to Williams, at about 6,800′ and fifty miles away from the canyon, it’s a bit more dry, open, and flat.

IMG_8395 smallThe views from the train are great in general, but if you book your tickets far enough in advance there’s an option for a limited number of observation car seats. Obviously, that’s what we got and it was worth it!

IMG_0278 smallIt’s a long train, and you’ll twist and turn your way up to the South Rim.

IMG_0279 smallJust ahead of the engine, on the right side of the tracks ahead, is “Santa’s Village”.

IMG_0282 smallOn the way north from Williams to the South Rim, there are musicians strolling through the car. Some of what we were treated to was some excellent bluegrass pickin’ and grinnin’. Other selections were singalongs of songs you probably learned in second or third grade. (“Oh, Susanna”, “This Land Is Our Land”, and so on.)

IMG_8651 smallOn the way back south, there are hombres and train robbers. They catch up with the last car, climb aboard, and proceed to “harass” everyone on the train. I hate it when that happens!

IMG_0906 smallThe main lobby of the Grand Canyon Railroad Hotel.

So there you have it! Granted, I take spectacular pictures (*pause for choking and coughing to die down*), but no pictures can do justice to the Grand Canyon. If you’ve got a “bucket list” or a “life list”, make sure that a visit here is high on it!

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