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Grand Canyon visit

Isle of Skye
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Grand Canyon visit

We want to plan a visit to the Grand Canyon coming from San Francisco by train. Am I right in thinking I should book travel to Williams and book two nights somewhere? Then we could book to visit the Canyon on the GCRR ( which I rather fancy ) and book onward travel on Amtrak to Chicago?

I'd value any help and advice.

Sedona, AZ
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for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
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1. Re: Grand Canyon visit

The Amtrak stop at Williams is not the same station as the GCRR. Make certain that you are traveling to Williams on I-40 and not the Williams that is down near Mesa and PHX.

Better to take Amtrak to Flagstaff and rent a car to go t the GCNP.

Isle of Skye
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2. Re: Grand Canyon visit

Hmm, no don't want to drive. I thought there was a special service , GCRR that went to the South Rim.

The train from San Francisco gets into Williams Junction at 03.40 . Is it possible to get breakfast somewhere and then get the GCRR train to the Canyon and back on the same day? Or does one stay at the Canyon and come back the next day?

Does any one know where one can get decent booking information ? The Amtrak site isn't brilliant and I have no idea where to get info on the GCRR..

ETA Silly me ! Just found the GCR site!

Edited: 6:57 pm, January 07, 2012
Santa Fe, New Mexico
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for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
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3. Re: Grand Canyon visit

Best to book AMTRAK on their website. I think they have a shuttle from the station into town to the hotels. We had one of the small sleeping rooms and loved having a place to at least rest, plus fun dining option.

4. Re: Grand Canyon visit

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tucson az
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5. Re: Grand Canyon visit

There is no train from San Francisco to Williams arriving at 3:40 AM, so not sure what you are looking at. You could be looking at a combination of bus and train, which Amtrak operates. The Amtrak site is the only place you can find booking info for Amtrak. You can also call them, and they are very helpful

Starting with Amtrak, you would need to take the Coast Starlight train (see Schedules at http://www.amtrak.com) from SF area (actually San Jose, Oakland or Emoryville; Amtrak does not go to SF itself) to LA and change to the Southwest Chief train. Each has one train a day in each direction. As SF-LA Coast Starlight arrives at 9 PM, and LA-Williams Southwest Chief leaves LA at 6 PM, you would need to stay one night in LA. The Southwest Chief arrives at Williams Junction at 4:50 AM, and they have a shuttle to the GCRR Hotel where the GCRR is also located.

Yes, you can make arrangements with GCRR (see http://www.thetrain.com) for transportation to/from the park, and 1 or more nights lodging in the park. Given your arrival time, you can linger and have breakfast at the GCRR Restaurant, and then take a train into the park.

The packages GCRR offers include nights at their GCRR hotel, which you may not need or want for your GCNP visit. They only have 1-night packages in GCNP. They are the same company that operates the lodges in the park. They may be able to work out a package of train + 1-2 nights in the park + no night at GCRR. You have no need to stay in Williams at the beginning or end of your visit, which is 2 hours by GCRR to GCNP. Otherwise, you can book the train and your lodging separately if necessary.

If you intend to return back by the same route, the schedules "mesh" better so no overnight would be required again in LA. (Leave Williams at 10:30 PM, arrive LA at 8:15 AM, leave LA at 12:15 PM, arrive SF area ~11 PM depending on station).

I am not a travel agent, and do not work in the travel industry, but I am very familiar with Amtrak. Feel free to contact me directly if this is not clear. (Just click on my name to go to my TA page, and then look for "send message" in left column.)

(Truly from the Isle of Sky, the northernmost island of the Hebrides?)

Edited: 8:16 pm, January 07, 2012
tucson az
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6. Re: Grand Canyon visit

If I may make another, maybe better suggestion, fly from SF to LA to avoid the overnight stay in LA. Downtown LA is not very exciting place to stay. Then catch the Southwest Chief to Williams.

If you are returning.to SF, the train ride up the California coast is very scenic for part of the way.

7. Re: Grand Canyon visit

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