Call to book1-877-929-7245
Tour Search

Winter Escape to the Grand Canyon - Chicago Round-trip

You are viewing the 2024 itinerary. Select your departure year
6 days From $1,176 per person
4.4 stars(21 reviews)

This winter, escape to the warmth of America's southwest and the beauty of one of the world's top natural attractions, the Grand Canyon.

Travel on your own following a well-planned itinerary

2024 Tour code: WC-WGCR-24

About the tour

This winter, escape to the warmth of America's southwest and the beauty of one of the world's top natural attractions, the Grand Canyon. Your 6-day train vacation begins in Chicago, where you'll board Amtrak's Southwest Chief for Flagstaff, Arizona. From there, catch the historic Grand Canyon Railway for your journey to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and incredible sightseeing at one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Your winter rail vacation, ideal in the off-season because of fewer travelers visiting U.S. National Parks and their attractions, includes round-trip travel on Amtrak's Southwest Chief, roundtrip travel on the Grand Canyon Railway, hotel accommodations, sightseeing at the Grand Canyon, and more!



What’s included


Day 1 - Depart Chicago aboard Amtrak's Southwest Chief

Arrive Chicago Union Station and board Amtrak's Southwest Chief early this afternoon for your overnight journey to Flagstaff, AZ.

Day 2 - Southwest Chief to Flagstaff, Arizona

The sun rises as you leave Kansas' snow-covered plains behind and enter southern Colorado. Start your day with a visit to the Sightseer Lounge, the best location to take in the passing scenery and socialize with your fellow travelers. By lunchtime, the changing scenery indicates you have left the snow behind and are in the heart of the warmer, sunnier southwest. A little before 4:00 pm, the Southwest Chief pulls into Albuquerque. Take some time to disembark the train, stretch your legs, and enjoy the warmer weather-a welcome treat in the middle of winter. The train continues its journey at 4:45 pm and arrives in Flagstaff, Arizona approximately 9:30 pm this evening. A shuttle will transfer you from the rail station to your hotel. Overnight Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. 

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (Sleeping Car Passengers only)
Day 3 - Historic Grand Canyon Railway Train

Start your first morning in the southwest with a hearty breakfast at the Fred Harvey Restaurant. Then board the vintage rail cars of the Grand Canyon Railway for the journey to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. You'll travel the same route as other notable Railway passengers before you including William Howard Taft, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Clark Gable, Jimmy Durante, and Doris Day. The historic Grand Canyon Railway was originally built more than a century ago to transport ore in the Wild West. Upon arrival at the Grand Canyon Village, check into your hotel before embarking on a Freedom Tour of the Grand Canyon. This narrated motorcoach tour of the South Rim visits the most scenic overlooks of the canyon, with stops at breathtaking vistas including Mohave Point, Pima Point, The Abyss, and Hermits Rest. Overnight Maswik Lodge.

  • Breakfast
Day 4 - Grand Canyon at Your Leisure

Spend the morning exploring the South Rim on your own or take another guided tour. There are several historical buildings worth visiting including Buckey O'Neill's Cabin, the longest continually standing structure in the South Rim; and Bright Angel Lodge with its small museum honoring Fred Harvey, who played a prominent role in popularizing the Grand Canyon. Opt to visit Mary Colter's Lookout Studio and Hopi House, or take the shuttle to the Geology Museum at Yavapai Point or to the Visitor Center. Board the Grand Canyon Railway southbound to Williams Depot at 3:30 pm. Dinner this evening is at the Fred Harvey Restaurant. Overnight Williams.

  • Dinner
Day 5 - Southwest Chief Chicago-bound

Wake-up early and transfer to Flagstaff to catch Amtrak's Southwest Chief bound for Chicago. As you leave the warm weather behind you, you may elect to nap, read a book, or spend the day marveling at the canyons, deserts, mountains, missions, pueblos, and ranches that comprise the colorful scenery. Overnight train. 

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (Sleeping Car Passengers only)
Day 6 - Arrive at Chicago's Union Station

Snow-covered prairies welcome you to the Midwest as you wake-up this morning. Leisurely prepare for your 3:15 pm arrival in Chicago. You may elect to extend your stay in the Windy City to take advantage of all of the winter activities the city has to offer.

Additional information

Pricing Plans

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. Roomette and Bedroom accommodations include all meals aboard the train.

Please note

For additional dates please see Grand Canyon Railway Rails to the Rim Adventure.

* Arrival and Departure times are subject to change. Please be advised that passengers traveling on Southwest Chief Trains may encounter delays of approximately three to six hours due to heavy congestion, speed restrictions and other operating conditions.

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.


Maswik Lodge - Grand Canyon Lodges, Grand Canyon National Park

Maswik Lodge - Grand Canyon Lodges, Grand Canyon National Park

View hotel

Grand Canyon Railway Hotel, Williams

Grand Canyon Railway Hotel, Williams

View hotel


Amtrak's Southwest Chief
Grand Canyon Railway

Enhance your holiday


Elevate Your Adventure
Extend your stay


4.4 stars4.4 / 5 · 21 reviews

  1. 5 stars
  2. 4 stars
  3. 3 stars
  4. 2 stars
  5. 1 star


3 stars

Submitted 14/Mar

Amtrak over 6 hrs late, Mastic hotel - horrible for elderly.

Collected by Trustpilot


5 stars

Submitted 10/Jan

It was a wonderful quick getaway for me, my husband, and 2 kids. They loved the train and we all experienced the Grand Canyon for the first time together. We will definitely be using Vacations by Rail for another adventure!

Collected by Trustpilot

Joel Cooley

5 stars

Submitted 20 Dec 2023

I've been to the grand canyon in the past but not to the national park site as this was. The park itself was outstanding of course, but the Escape Tour experience overall was exceptional, especially this time of year - chilly, but not cold, dusting of snow on the ground, sunny and pleasant weather. Everyone involved were knowledgeable and helpful- with the exception of getting robbed by the Cataract Creek Gang! But that was the highlight of the trip actually. LOL! I'd rate it 5 GOLD stars easily and 10 if I could.

Collected by Trustpilot


5 stars

Submitted 12 Nov 2023

My husband and I booked this trip for our anniversary. We had never taken a train trip and we were pleasantly surprised. We had the best time. From the porter on the Amtrak to the scenic train ride and its entertainment and the narrated bus tours at the Grand Canyon, the hospitality and sights and service were rated #1. I would highly recommend this trip. We would book a train ride again.

Collected by Trustpilot


4 stars

Submitted 19 Mar 2023

Very nice package would give a 5 star but tickets for our bus tour was wrong but still nice. Would do it again!

Collected by Trustpilot


5 stars

Submitted 06 Feb 2023

Great organization.

Collected by Trustpilot

Show 6 more reviews
Related inspiration from our journey blog