Grand Canyon By Train

The first time Kristi and I went to the Grand Canyon was 12 years plus 1 day ago. We know this because it popped up on Kristi’s Facebook memories.

We were in Vegas for our good friends wedding and decided to rent a tiny car and make the 8 hour road trip.

We didn’t think much of it but when we arrived we really understood why they call it the Grand Canyon.

It is because no pictures can do it justice or words can describe just how massive this thing is.

Those little green dots in the middle is a full grown forest.

It is quite amazing to see with your own eyes.

We were excited to share this with our kids, even though we knew they were too young to really appreciate it on our level.

The Train

On a whim, we discovered a train that takes you to the Grand Canyon, just outside of Flagstaff – near where we were staying.

This was accidentally a good move because the average wait to get into the Grand Canyon by car is currently 1.5-2 hours.

The train ride? 2-2.5 hours but it didn’t feel that long. Plus we didn’t have to fight traffic, we had on board entertainment and history of the area on the train, restrooms for the kiddos and a snack bar.

Wild West Show

The morning kicked off with a Wild West show while they prepared the train.

You board the train and and are greeted by the person in charge of your cabin.

Ours was Amber Rose – she was fantastic. Like Disney Cruise level fantastic. She had been doing it for 17 years.

Throughout the trip, they told you the history and fun facts of different parts of the area as you pass them.

A couple of cowboys with guitars also ride along and walk through the cabin playing sing-a-longs.

On the way back, those outlaws from the show in the morning even break free from jail and stop the train to rob it.

Probably one of the most memorable experiences for the kids. They tried to get Brayden’s “Gold Tooth.”

Bandits robbing the train by horse.

We even saw some wild horses and deer on the way back out of the park.

The Canyon

As I mentioned, a photo or video of the canyon will never do it justice.

You just have to go out and check it out.

We told Harper to open her eyes and she opened her mouth.

The Train, good for many, not for all

We had a great experience with the train. But it is not for all.

The Good

The train was great if you have kids, large groups, or may be handicapped and want an easy way to see this national park.

There is a hotel at the train station and one at the canyon you can stay at, or not.

If doing a day trip, you are at the park just long enough to see it, explore the buildings, shop for gifts and eat lunch.

The Bad

If you really want to explore the park by hiking or visiting all of the information centers then a day trip won’t be enough for you.

You should either drive yourself or stay at the hotel.

For example, the best view I’ve seen is at the Geological center.

But the train drops you off more to the west where the view isn’t as “grand” (see what I did there…).

Also, sunset is an amazing time to see the canyon. But when you take the train you are gone by 3:30.

Sorry sunset.

That said, it is a great time if you are trying to create and experience. We would do it again.

Kids with their vests and National Park badges. They really like the attention they got for being JR Rangers.