(2-Bedroom Cabins and lounge)

Grand Canyon Railway

Photo Credit: Grand Canyon NPS

The wonder of the railroad

In the final days of summer, September 17th, 1901, the Grand Canyon Railway carried its first passengers to the entrance of the South Rim.

Few everyday-people would have ventured to the Grand Canyon in the 1800’s. Its rough terrain in the then-territory of Northern Arizona was only traversed by explorers and adventurers.

But change was in the air, and the American people were beginning to travel west by railcar. The road road between Chicago and Los Angeles had a stop in Williams, Arizona (though there was little by way of tourist enticement at the time). The only northbound rail line from Williams was to the Anita Mines 45-miles north and it transported ore (a naturally occurring mineral containing metals like copper, silver, and gold), rather than passengers.

The mayor, Bucky O’Neill, saw a business opportunity to use the mine to welcome tourism to the area. He sought investments from bigger railroad companies from the east to help expand the railway further north into the Grand Canyon. Though he’d perish in the Spanish-American War prior to its completion, the railway did eventually become what he’d dreamt of.

history alive and well

Visitors are still welcome to ride the historic 64-mile railway from Williams, AZ to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Just like its earliest days of construction, there are restaurants, hotels, and landscapes of natural beauty at the end of the journey to make the experience enjoyable for all.

Learn more about booking your train ticket here!

The Grand Canyon railway map:

Trip map created with Wanderlog, the best trip planner app on iOS and Android