The view of the Grand Canyon is breathtaking; it gives you a sense of perspective on how small we are, how big the world is, and as a busy college student, I often need a reminder that a world exists outside of my own.
I generally spend my spring break in pajamas coupled up with Netflix, but this year I wanted to use the time to check something off my bucket list, and I had the perfect destination in mind.
After doing a bit of research, my friend and I decided we would utilize the Grand Canyon Railway, a train developed in the early 1900s, based out of Williams, AZ.
With our reservations booked and our itinerary set in place, we packed and set off for a five hour drive to Williams.
Several hours, one long playlist, and tons of junk food later, we arrived at The Grand Canyon Railway Hotel.
The hotel is located right across the lawn from the historical Fray Marcos Hotel.
According to thetrain.com, the hotel “was one of the original Harvey Houses and was named after a Spanish missionary Marcos de Niza, who explored the Southwest in the early 16th century.”
The next morning, after a good night’s sleep, we caked on sunblock, grabbed two cups of coffee, and boarded the Kokopelli, which is first class seating on the train.
The two hour train ride to the South Rim of the canyon is accompanied by live folk music, and most importantly, cocktail service—two amenities that make the long trip bearable.
According to nps.gov, “the Grand Canyon is one of the most studied geologic landscapes in the world” offering records of three eras of geological time, a diverse fossil record, and several geological features, rock types, and caves.
As you walk along the South Rim, there are several large rock types on display, which give you a good idea of the geological diversity of the canyon.
Nearly 100 selfies later, we decided to eat and souvenir shop before boarding the train to head back.
The dining options were somewhat limited, but with assistance from trusty Yelp, we agreed on El Tovar, a rustic, yet classy restaurant that integrated international cuisine with a Southwestern flair.
We were quite happy with our lunch, and I would definitely recommend their French Onion Soup Gratinee, and the Local Natural Navajo Taco.
After a long day of sightseeing, shopping, and dining, it was time to head home.
On the train ride back, my well deserved slumber was interrupted by a traditional train robbery in which a group of actors dressed as bandits on horses, jump aboard to “rob” passengers before fleeing.
All in all, I cannot say enough good things about the Grand Canyon Railway.
As I reflect on my experience now, I feel enormously fortunate to be able to explore such places.
If you ever feel cooped up in your own world, I urge you to consider traveling somewhere new.