Grand Canyon Railway Opinions????

Old Jul 25th, 2008, 02:40 PM
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Grand Canyon Railway Opinions????

My family is considering going on the Grand Canyon Railway fom Williams to the Grand Canyon, however, I have been reading mixed reviews. Is it a worthwhile trip for a family with a 7 year old? Thanks!
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Old Jul 25th, 2008, 03:03 PM
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Our tour bus was going along the railways. I love trains, but thought at that time, it would be boring.

The train goes TO the canyon, not along it, through a monotonous flat area. You have to get off the train, walk a few yards, through the hotel lobby to the edge of the Canyon.

And this is where the beauty hits you, and all your efforts become worthwhile. Yes, by any means see the Canyon. How to get there? Any way that's easier for you.
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Old Jul 25th, 2008, 03:08 PM
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Is it a worthwhile trip for a family with a 7 year old?

I live in Arizona and the Train is generally considered the second biggest tourist rip-off in the entire state, behind only the Skywalk. Here are some reasons for that assessment:

1) Too expensive, compared to driving. The drive up and back from Williams is about 120 miles so even with another 40 miles of driving while up there and $5/gallon gas (not yet but heading that way) you'll pay $40 in gas if your chariot gets just 20 mpg. The train costs several times that even for the cheap, uncomfortable seats.

2) Takes too long, I think 5 hours of riding compared to 2 hours of driving. A very boring ride, you never actually see the canyon from the train, just a plateau.

3) You are at the canyon at the wrong time of day (unless you are overnighting). Most arrive around mid-day and return early afternoon, which is the worst possible time to actually view the canyon. The best times are sunrise and sunset.

4) There was another good reason but I forgot it ... sorry.

I suggest you drive.

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Old Jul 25th, 2008, 05:09 PM
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4) The crowds at Grand Canyon come and go with the train. Before the train arrives and after it leaves it's remarkably peaceful. You can't get near a snack bar or restaurant at lunch, but can walk right in at dinner time.

When the train crowd is there the area near the rim is more like a crowded beach boardwalk than a beautiful national park.

5) The condors apparently like to soar in the morning and later in the afternoon - you'll have more chances to see these beautiful (maybe in the eyes of the beholder) birds if you're there at various hrs of the day.
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Old Jul 25th, 2008, 07:55 PM
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In years of living in AZ--and keep in mind that everyone who lives in AZ ends up taking out of towners to the GC--I never heard anything good about the Railway. It was always surprisingly unanimous that it's a waste of time and money.
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Old Jul 28th, 2008, 06:47 AM
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Interesting timing. Nat Geo channel had a special yesterday afternoon on trains in and around national parks. The GC train was one of the ones they showed.

I'm a BIG train buff, but noticed they didn't show much scenery and the en mass exodus from the train to the canyon defintely appeared to increase the crowds. A 7 yr old would probably love it, but the piece I saw yesterday would not lead me to doubt any of the comments made above.
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Old Jul 28th, 2008, 08:25 AM
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The Verde Canyon Railway out of Clarkdale (near Jerome) offers far more scenery and fun, IMHO.
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