Day 1 – On arrival in Williams, AZ you transfer to the nearby Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. This modern hotel is located in the center of town, along historic Highway 66, and conveniently beside the Grand Canyon Railway Train Depot.
Day 2 – An exciting day begins with a big breakfast buffet at the Depot Cafe across from the hotel and train station.
After breakfast if you hear a ruckus in the streets, you might want to investigate. You’re a long way from Chicago and this is the Wild West. It may be coincidental, but every morning at 9:00 it seems there are ornery cowboys and gunfights in the street (might be something in the breakfast), and they keep Marshall Will B. Justice busy maintaining law and order.
Once the 9:00 Wild West Show is over, you board the train for a 9:30am departure. You have First Class Seats with plenty of leg room that recline and offer a great view through picture windows. You will see strolling musicians, enjoy free coffee, juice, fruit and pastries in your air-conditioned streamliner railcar. This vintage rail journey takes 2 hours, offers kaleidoscopic views of the San Francisco Peaks while rolling through wild flower filled valleys, dense pine forests, high desert plains and canyons.
Arriving in Grand Canyon National Park you are greeted with the sight of one of three log-cabin-style train stations left in America. From the station your luggage is moved to your hotel and you’ll find a tour bus waiting for an afternoon sightseeing tour. In a few minutes you will be walking along the pine-forested ledges of your first Grand Canyon viewpoint. Here you’ll send a few minutes just trying to process the sight in front of you as your guide points out a few of the distant features, and geological details. Then you will learn about the trees, shrubs, wildflowers, and wildlife of the Canyon.
At the end of this tour you check-in at the Maswik Lodge. It is a modern facility spread over several acres of Ponderosa Pine forest, and is located just 1/4 mile from the canyon rim and the Grand Canyon Village. Dinner is on own tonight and you will have time for souvenir shopping as well as a chance to photograph the sunset.
Day 3 – Enjoy a free morning in Grand Canyon Park. The afternoon train to Williams departs at 3:30pm. You will have time to arrange individual sightseeing tours and enjoy the day. The 65 mile ride back to Williams will be just as pleasant as your ride to the Canyon as pass through 6,000 foot high forest and mountain desert. Attendants will offer refreshments and snacks, and there is a full bar onboard.
Upon your return you will spend two more nights at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel in Williams. Dinner this evening will be a voucher for the Grand Depot Cafe, or if you wish we can turn your group loose for dinner on own in Williams. Here Route 66 “America’s Main Street,” runs through the heart of town and you will find many unique shops and restaurants lining the street.
Day 4 – A hot breakfast buffet is included again this morning and will be followed by another Wild West Shootout. Morning sightseeing begins at the new Bearizona Wildlife Park. You’ll see animals the way they should be seen, in a natural environment and from the comfort and safety of your own vehicle. In this Drive-Thru Park a tour guide will narrate and talk to you about the wide variety of wildlife and their conservation efforts. You will see bison, big horn sheep, wolves, red fox and otter, badgers and burros, a variety of bears. Plus a separate display on high country raptors.
This afternoon you motor south to Sedona for an exciting ride on the open-air Pink Jeep Tours. Climbing 2000 feet above the town to the very top of the Mogollon Rim you find a magnificent view. This tour is off-road fun with fantastic photo opportunities as you drive past majestic red rock formations, through pine forest and desert, to the mountain top and back.
After the Jeep Tour you visit the Blazin M Ranch for a Chuckwagon Dinner and Cowboy Music. In Cottonwood, AZ the ranch features Western Boutique Shopping, a Museum and Saloon, as well as the air-conditioned barn with it’s chuckwagon buffet and the after dinner music of the Blazin M Cowboys.
Day 5 – A hot breakfast buffet is included again this morning. Starting east toward Albuquerque, you visit Petrified Forest National Park. This is one of the world’s largest and most vibrantly colored assemblies of petrified wood, historic structures and archeological sites. Here, 200-million-year-old fossils tell the tale of the earth – and its Prehistoric inhabitants. Setting in the picturesque scenery of Arizona’s Painted Desert, this is a surprising, fascinating landscape.
This evening you check into a first class Albuquerque hotel for a Two Night Stay. Dinner on own this evening as your group has time to explore Old Town, a historic district in Albuquerque, New Mexico, dating back to the founding of the city by the Spanish in 1706. Here you can find restaurants serving delightful chile dishes which evolved from a combination of Indian and Spanish recipes, as well as diners with the All-American hamburger and bistro’s filled with Continental cuisine.
Day 6 – This morning you drive an hour north with the unspoiled beauty of 7,000-foot tall Rocky Mountain vistas as your companion. On arrival in the historic Santa Fe you will marvel at the contrast of ancient native culture mixed with modern arts. The Spanish Colonial Charm of this ancient pueblo has been enchanting travelers for over 400 years and today it is your turn to enjoy.
You will tour the Palace of the Governors. Originally constructed in the early 17th century as Spain’s seat of government in the American Southwest, the Palace chronicles the history of Santa Fe. An adobe structure, it is now the State’s history museum and sits opposite the Santa Fe Plaza.
You will also visit the Loretto Chapel a former Roman Catholic Church that is now used as a museum and wedding chapel. It is known for its unusual helix-shaped spiral staircase (the “Miraculous Stair”), that may have been created by carpenter “Frenchy” Rochas, however the Sisters of Loretto credit its construction to St. Joseph. Regardless the story is as fascinating as the stairway is unique.
After this day of Santa Fe Sightseeing and Shopping you will enjoy dinner at a nice, local flavor restaurant near the Plaza before returning to Albuquerque.
Day 7 – This morning you must load luggage onto the bus as you prepare for the afternoon Amtrak Departure.
Once you have left your hotel you will visit the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. The Center is owned and operated by the 19 Indian Pueblos of New Mexico and is dedicated to the preservation and perpetuation of the Pueblo Indian Culture, History and Art. The center features daily dances, art markets, exhibitions, live entertainment, museums, native food and more! Then you depart for home.