Discover the scenic southwestern U.S. on this 11-day rail tour through Canyon Country to five national parks.
About the Tour
Discover the natural wonders and rugged wilderness of the Southwest on this scenic rail tour through Canyon Country. This tour has it all: amazing national parks, classic train journeys, and spectacular sightseeing and excursions.
Travel aboard the Southwest Chief to Flagstaff, where your Southwest adventure begins. Continue by deluxe motorcoach to Williams for an excursion aboard the vintage railcars of the Grand Canyon Railway to Grand Canyon National Park for a 2-night stay at the South Rim of the Canyon.
That’s just the beginning! Visit Lake Powell for a narrated boat cruise to Antelope Canyon and Kanab, known as “Little Hollywood” for the high number of Western TV shows and movies filmed in the area. Explore Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, and Arches National Parks and learn about the history and iconic features of each on guided tours. Take a jetboat ride along the Colorado River for a new perspective of Utah’s red rock cliffs and breathtaking scenery. Stay in Moab at the incomparable Red Cliffs Lodge, situated on the banks of the Colorado River with picture-perfect panoramas.
Iconic sites, unique experiences and five beloved national parks and make this a southwestern adventure to remember!
- Rail travel on Amtrak (1 night on train)
- Scenic rail excursion aboard the Grand Canyon Railway
- Hotel accommodations for 9 nights, including 2 nights in Moab at the Red Cliffs Lodge and 2 nights at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon
- 13 meals, including lunch in the Rainbow Room
- Meals on the train when upgrading to private sleeping accommodations
- 5 National Parks: Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef and Arches
- Antelope Canyon Cruise
- Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument
- Jetboat ride on the Colorado River
- National park entrance fees
- Transportation by deluxe motorcoach
- Services of a professional tour manager
- Baggage handling
Activity Level View Details
Day 1 - Depart Chicago aboard the Southwest Chief
Arrive at Chicago Union Station and board the Southwest Chief. Settle into your onboard accommodations and prepare for your overnight rail journey. Travelers may elect to travel from Los Angeles or points in-between and meet your tour manager in Flagstaff on Day 2. Overnight train.
Day 2 - Southwest Chief to Flagstaff
Enjoy spectacular scenery from the comfort of your onboard accommodations, the Sightseer Lounge, or over a meal in the Dining Car as you travel to Flagstaff. Upon arrival, we'll board our waiting motorcoach and transfer to our hotel. Overnight Flagstaff, AZ.
Day 3 - Free day in Flagstaff
Today is free to explore Flagstaff at your leisure. Visit the city’s pedestrian-friendly lively downtown for a bite to eat or browse the variety of interesting shops. Or, perhaps visit one of Flagstaff’s museums or cultural attraction, like the Lowell Observatory, famous for its discovery of Pluto; the Pioneer Museum, brimming with exhibits showcasing Flagstaff’s history; or immerse in the beauty of the Arboretum’s gardens. Overnight Flagstaff. (B)
Day 4 - Grand Canyon National Park
This morning we travel by motorcoach 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. In the afternoon, travel along the South Rim to the Desert Watchtower viewpoint. We return to Canyon Village Area for two nights lodging in Grand Canyon National Park. Overnight Grand Canyon, AZ. (B)
Day 5 - 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 tours around the park. Hop on and off at those stops you want to explore at greater length. Also, you might like to take 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, AZ. (B)
Day 6 - Antelope Canyon Cruise
After breakfast, we leave Grand Canyon National Park for Page, Arizona. As we head north out of the park, we stop at the Cameron Trading Post before having a delightful lunch in the Wahweap Lodge Rainbow Room. After lunch, meet at the boat launch on Lake Powell for a narrated scenic boat cruise to Antelope Canyon. This cruise provides an up-close opportunity to view the narrow, colorful, and sculpted sandstone geology of the lower end of Lake Powell. Our next stop is 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, UT. (B, L)
Day 7 - 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! Overnight Kanab, UT. (B)
Day 8 - 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, Grand Staircase-Escalante, which 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. Overnight Torrey, UT. (B)
Day 9 - Capitol Reef National Park
We depart Torrey this morning and travel to 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 to Green River, Utah, for lunch before continuing to Moab. Overnight Moab, UT. (B, L)
Day 10 - Arches National Park / Colorado River Jetboat Ride
Today begins with a tour of 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! After a delicious lunch, we will board our Jetboat to travel down the calm water section of the Colorado River (subject to river water levels). 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. We return to our hotel this evening and gather with fellow travelers for a Farewell Dinner. Overnight Moab, UT. (B, L, D)
Day 11 - Tour Conclusion
Your National Parks journey concludes after breakfast today. A group transfer to Grand Junction Amtrak Station or Grand Junction Airport will accommodate trains departing after 10:00 a.m. (Amtrak schedule permitting) and planes departing after 1:00 p.m. (B)
Hotels include the DoubleTree by Hilton (Flagstaff), Maswik Lodge (Grand Canyon), Hampton Inn (Kanab), 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. Roomette and Bedroom accommodations include all meals aboard 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.
It is your responsibility to check and fulfill the passport, visa, health and immigration requirements applicable to your itinerary. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel, or incur any other loss because you have not complied with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities. You agree to reimburse us in relation to any fines or other losses which we incur as a result of your failure to comply with any passport, visa, immigration requirements or health formalities.
Additional departure dates are available featuring a 12 Day itinerary.
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