Grand Canyon Railway, Hotel, & RV Park (Williams, Arizona)
April 3-8, 2017: This trip has been on our bucket list for a while and we were eager to visit. We drove from our last stop (Dead Horse Ranch State Park) and climbed to over 7,000 feet to Williams, Arizona and the weather became cold. On our first evening Don and I were sitting in the RV talking when we noticed snow coming down fast. Big Flakes! It was so exciting that we couldn’t resist running outside to take pictures and to play a little in the snow. The good news is that it melted the next morning but throughout our stay it would warm up in the daytime and freeze at night.
You are probably wondering why we didn’t RV in the Grand Canyon but instead decided to stay in Williams, Arizona. To RV in the Grand Canyon you need to make your reservations well in advance and you have to patiently wait in long lines to enter the park, neither of which do we like to do.
Don came up with another way to visit. We stayed in Williams, Arizona and took a vintage (1950’s) steam/biodiesel train the sixty-five miles each way to the Grand Canyon. This allowed us to bypass the entrance gate and to be entertained by singing cowboys, a chatty guide, and some low-down train robbers.
Prior to coming to visit the Grand Canyon I was talking to my Uncle Mitch on the phone and telling him about our plans and how we were going to stay in Williams, Arizona and take the train to the Grand Canyon. Well, small world, he told us that years ago he had taken the same train trip and his train had also been robbed. (Seems like they would catch on if the train has been robbed every day for 20+ years.)
The journey from Williams to the South Rim was on a rail line that dates back to 1901. If you are planning to visit, the railway makes it easy to plan your travel package that can include your accommodations in Williams and/or the Grand Canyon, meals, activities, and things to do. Your biggest decision to make is which one of the six restored passenger cars will you take: pullman class, coach class, first class, observation dome, luxury parlor, or luxury dome. You can’t go wrong with any of the choices and it was nice to leave the driving to someone else for a change and it was enjoyable to see the pine forests, mountains, and wide open prairies.
Coming by train we had about three hours to explore the Grand Canyon – not much time to explore a wonder of the world that was formed over the last few million years. We spent all our time on the rim trail hiking along the almost 14 miles of canyon rim. There are no walls or railings along much of the trails so it is a perfect way to enjoy the canyon scenery. However, you do have to be careful because we were told they average about 20 deaths a year from people falling over the rim. Yikes – bet they were taking selfies!
We hope you enjoy our pictures but know that pictures don’t do it justice. This is truly a spiritual place and if you have never been, then you owe it to yourself, and your family to visit.
There were alternative ways to explore the rim, and we were impressed with the railway staff who came around on the train to help people make individualized plans for what to do at the Grand Canyon that ranged from no walking at all, to doing what we did.
Back at the RV park we saw 3 more Leisure Travel Van RVs like our little VanGo, a record.
As many of you know, when we leave here we are going to a LTV (our RV manufacturer) rally in Las Vegas. I guess the closer we get to the rally, the more RVs like ours we’ll see. The rally ought to be fun and we are going in a day early (Saturday) so we can go to a Cirque de Soleil show in Vegas. We are so blessed to live this life! Retirement is wonderful!
See the campground review here.