Great Parks of the Southwest featuring the Grand Canyon
Discover the scenic southwest on this rail tour to 6 national parks: the Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Escalante, Capitol Reef and Arches
Discover the scenic southwestern U.S. on this 11-day tour through Canyon Country. Your tour begins in Chicago where you'll board the legendary Southwest Chief for your journey to Flagstaff. From there travel by motorcoach to Williams, where you will board the vintage Grand Canyon Railway for the trip to Grand Canyon National Park for a 2-night stay at the South Rim of the Canyon.
But that's just the beginning! Your travels continue by coach to Lake Powell for a narrated boat cruise to Antelope Canyon; Kanab, known as ‘Little Hollywood” due to the great number of Western TV shows and movies filmed in the area; Zion, Bryce Canyon; Escalante, Capitol Reef, and Arches National Parks; a float trip along the Colorado River, and a stay in Moab. Return to Chicago aboard the legendary California Zephyr, traveling eastward across the Colorado Rockies.
The rushing rivers, deep canyons, rugged wilderness and natural wonders of Arizona and Utah make this a southwestern adventure to remember!
Highlights and Inclusions
- Roundtrip rail transportation aboard Amtrak (2 nights on train)
- Hotel accommodations for 8 nights including 2 nights in Moab at the Red Cliffs Lodge
- 18 meals including lunch in the Rainbow Room
- Float trip on the Colorado River
- Antelope Canyon Cruise
- 5 National Parks: Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef and Arches
- Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
- Transportation by deluxe motorcoach
- Services of a professional tour manager
- Baggage handling
Day 1 - Depart Chicago aboard the Southwest Chief
Arrive at Chicago's historic Union Station, meet your tour manager and fellow travelers, and board the legendary Southwest Chief for your 3:00 pm departure. As the train begins its journey southwest, settle into your onboard accommodations, chat with your travel companions, and take time to explore the train including the glass-walled Sightseer Lounge. Overnight train. (D)
Day 2 - Southwest Chief to Flagstaff
When you awake this morning, the Southwest Chief will be continuing its journey through the southwest. Enjoy spectacular scenery from the comfort of your onboard accommodations, the Sightseer Lounge, or over a meal in the Dining Car as you travel across Colorado, New Mexico and into Arizona. The train is scheduled to arrive in Flagstaff at 8:51 pm. Upon arrival, we'll board our waiting motorcoach and transfer to our hotel. Overnight Flagstaff. (B, L, D)
Day 3 - Grand Canyon National Park
This morning we travel by motorocoach to Williams, AZ, where we board the Grand Canyon Railway for the 90-minute journey to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. We arrive in Grand Canyon Village in time for sightseeing and lunch on your own. Our narrated motorcoach tour takes us east along the South Rim to the Desert Watchtower viewpoint and includes a stop at the Cameron Trading Post. We return to Canyon Village for 2 nights in Grand Canyon lodging. Overnight Grand Canyon. (B)
Day 4 - Grand Canyon at Leisure
Enjoy a day at leisure to discover Grand Canyon National Park. The park's complimentary shuttle buses pick-up right outside our rustic lodge and take you on interesting tours around the park. Hop on and off at those stops you want to explore at greater length. In addition, you might like to take in a Ranger Talk or trail walk along the South Rim, or take the shuttle west to Hermit's Rest viewpoint. Your tour manager can assist you with suggestions. Overnight Grand Canyon. (B)
Day 5 - Antelope Canyon Cruise
After breakfast we leave Grand Canyon National Park for Page, Arizona. We arrive at the boat launch area on Lake Powell for a narrated scenic boat cruise to Antelope Canyon. Located along the shores of Lake Powell, this canyon is a narrow slow river in the sandstone. Our boat captain will amaze you with his skill at turning the craft around in this narrow defile and what you see will amaze you! We return to Lake Powell Marina for a delightful lunch in the Wahweap Lodge Rainbow Room before our drive to Kanab, Utah, known by locals as ‘Little Hollywood” due to its history as a filming location for many western movies and television series including Stagecoach, The Lone Ranger and Gunsmoke. Overnight Kanab (B, L)
Day 6 - Zion National Park
Today we travel to Zion National Park, taking the Mount Carmel Tunnel, built in 1931, into the park. There will be time for lunch on your own at Zion Lodge before an afternoon guided tram tour. We will learn the geological history of Utah's first national park as we see the most stunning aspects of the Park, making several stops along the way for pictures and short walks. After touring the park, there is free time to explore on your own before departing the park from the east gate. Keep an eye out for bighorn sheep along the sandstone slopes! We will stop in Mount Carmel Junction before heading back to Kanab for our second night. Overnight Kanab. (B, D)
Day 7 - Bryce Canyon National Park / Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
We depart Kanab this morning and drive down Long Valley on our way to Bryce Canyon National Park. There is time for lunch on your own before our tour of the park. The pink rocks of Bryce were formed by the sediments of an ancient lake. The hoodoos and spires of the canyon seem to stand erect as if mimicking people frozen in time. We leave Bryce Canyon for a drive through one of the newest monuments in the parks system, Escalante/Grand Staircase. Escalante consists of 1.9 million acres of wilderness, cut by the Paria and Escalante Rivers. We will stop for panoramic pictures as well as at the Ranger Station to learn about the establishment of this area. Our day continues with the drive to Torrey, Utah for our overnight. The views from our hotel are breathtaking. Dinner this evening is at leisure. Overnight Torrey. (B)
Day 8 - Capitol Reef National Park / Dead Horse Point State Park
We depart Torrey this morning and travel into Capitol Reef National Park. This remote and little-visited area of Utah is a pristine wilderness and is famous for its Navajo Sandstone that erodes into dome-like structures that resemble our nation's capital. We will stop at the park Visitor Center first and then make two stops at spectacular viewpoints for pictures and to see some ancient ancestral Pueblo petroglyphs. Next, we head into Green River, Utah, for lunch on your own before continuing to Moab and a stop at beautiful Dead Horse Point State Park. The Colorado River is the conveyor belt of Utah's Red Rock Country and Dead Horse Point provides a spectacular panoramic view of some of the pinnacles, buttes, and spires that this mighty river has carved and creates over millions of years of erosion. Overnight Moab. (B)
Day 9 - Colorado River Float Trip / Arches National Park
Today begins as we board our rafts for a float trip down the Colorado River. Moab is one of the few places where you can access the Colorado River along its 1,450-mile route to the sea. Enjoy the beauty of the wilderness as we float leisurely down the red rock cliffs that mark the southern boundary of Arches National Park. After a delicious lunch, we will tour Arches National Park. This rugged area contains the largest concentration of sandstone arches, fins, spires and balancing rocks. The scenery is spectacular—be sure to bring your camera! We return to our hotel this evening with time for dinner on your own and a night of leisure. Overnight Moab. (L)
Day 10 - California Zephyr across the Rocky Mountains
We board the California Zephyr early this morning in Grand Junction, Colorado, for our return trip to Chicago. On our travels east, admire the Rocky Mountain scenery and reminisce about your tour of the American West. Overnight train. (B, L, D)
Day 11 - Return to Chicago
The California Zephyr travels through Iowa and into Illinois. The train is scheduled to arrive in Chicago's Union Station at 2:50 pm, where your adventure to the Great Parks of the Southwest comes to an end. Post night hotels are recommended. (B, L)
Rail Your Way
Add more flexibility to your rail vacation by choosing when and where to begin and end your vacation. Whether you want to go east to west, west to east, north to south, south to north, start at the beginning, travel the reverse itinerary or begin in the middle, Rail Your Way allows you to tailor make your rail vacation so you can have the experience you want.
Look for the Rail Your Way icon to identify those vacations that offer customized rail connections or joining points. Ask your rail specialist how you can have Rail Your Way!
Train and Hotel Accommodations
Hotels include the DoubleTree by Hilton Flagstaff, Grand Canyon Lodges, Holiday Inn Express (Kanab), Best Western Capitol Reef Resort (Torrey), and Red Cliffs Lodge (Moab).
Amtrak accommodations are available in Coach class, Roomette, and Bedroom. Coach accommodations include a reclining seat with leg rest. Roomette accommodations include a private cabin featuring two comfortable seats beside a picture window during the day, converting to an upper and lower berth at night. Bedroom accommodations feature a sofa and chair by day, and upper and lower berth by night. Bedroom accommodations also include a sink and self-enclosed toilet and shower. All travelers have access to the Sightseer Lounge. All meals are included on board the train.
+Vacations By Rail can supply connecting rail from your closest Amtrak Station.
Hotel accommodations are based on availability; substitutes will be similar in quality and amenities.
Dates & Prices
Select from the packages below to view prices for this tour.
|11th May 2015||Sold Out|
|13th September 2015||$2,495||Book Now|
|11th May 2015||$3,090||Book Now|
|13th September 2015||$3,090||Book Now|
|11th May 2015||$3,790||Book Now|
|13th September 2015||$3,790||Book Now|
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Amtrak Coach: Departs 11th May 2015 (Sold Out) 13th September 2015 ($2,495)
Amtrak Roomette: Departs 11th May 2015 ($3,090), 13th September 2015 ($3,090)
Amtrak Bedroom: Departs 11th May 2015 ($3,790), 13th September 2015 ($3,790)