Arizona & New Mexico Rail

Scenic Rail Journey

Price:  $4,895+

Duration:  8 Days / 7 Nights

Both Arizona and New Mexico owe much of their early development to the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway. Our Grand Canyon Train Tour will explore the railroad’s role at the south rim of Grand Canyon and along its main line between Flagstaff, Arizona and Santa Fe, New Mexico. A night’s stay at the La Posada, the storied Fred Harvey hotel in Winslow will be included, as will visits to sites in Canyon de Chelly National Monument and the Navajo Nation. To round out the week, a day aboard the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad (co-owned by the states of New Mexico and Colorado) has been arranged.


Day 1 — Arrivals in Flagstaff, AZ Arrive in Flagstaff, Arizona, by 3:00 pm to meet in time for orientation meeting and dinner. Meals: Dinner

Day 2 — Ride the Train to Grand Canyon National Park, Walk along the Rim This morning, Grand Canyon Railway takes us to Grand Canyon, where rails from Williams arrived in 1901. The Fred Harvey Company and Santa Fe Railway encouraged the creation of Grand Canyon National Monument in 1908 and the authorization of Grand Canyon National Park in 1919. Santa Fe and Fred Harvey built accommodations and provided services at the south rim, starting with El Tovar Hotel in 1904. Architect and Decorator Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter designed many Santa Fe and Fred Harvey buildings all over the Southwest. Hopi House, for Navajo and Hopi art and crafts at Grand Canyon, was her first. Starting there, we take a leisurely, 45-minute walk along the canyon rim to the National Park Service geology museum at Yavapi Point. Our hotel tonight is nearby. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 3 — More of Grand Canyon, Stay at the last Harvey House Today we travel the East Rim Drive to Desert View Watchtower, a Colter design completed in 1932. We stop at overlooks on our return. Then, visit the Colter-designed Lookout Studio and other historic buildings along a 20-minute round-trip walk of the rim trail. After lunch we board our afternoon train to Williams, then drive to Winslow. We stay at La Posada Hotel, a Harvey House beside Santa Fe’s tracks. The hotel and depot were designed in 1930 by Mary Colter. Starting 1926 Santa Fe Railway and the Fred Harvey Company offered escorted motor-tours to national park sites and Native American communities. These “Indian Detours” appeared first on routes among the Harvey hotels and Santa Fe stations at Albuquerque, Lamy, and Las Vegas, New Mexico. As Harvey opened new hotels and Santa Fe inaugurated faster, air-conditioned trains; and with improved roads and a growing National Park System, the tours reached across New Mexico and Arizona into Colorado, Utah, California, and Texas. They operated until 1968. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 4 — The Navajo Nation Taking advantage of La Posada’s location (and 5 years of automotive improvements) the 1931 Indian Detour program announced tours within the Navajo Indian Reservation (equal in size to the state of West Virginia) with visits to trading posts and scenic wonders such as Canyon de Chelly and Monument Valley. In Ganado, Arizona, we visit Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site to learn more about the Navajo people and the traditional role of traders and trading posts in the Navajo economy. We will visit Canyon de Chelly National Monument, stopping at overlooks on the rim, in preparation for tomorrow. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 5 — Into Canyon de Chelly & Window Rock This morning, we visit the floor of Canyon de Chelly where successive peoples have resided for more than 5,000 years. Unlike 1930s Indian- detour participants we won’t be on horseback. The Navajo guides use four-wheel drive to escort visitors among the homes (contemporary and ancient) of Native American residents. Afterward we visit Window Rock, seat of Navajo tribal government, to see the Navajo Nation Museum, Window Rock Navajo Tribal Park, and the memorial to Navajo veterans of the US armed forces. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 6 — Ride the Route of the Chief Today we ride Amtrak’s Southwest Chief east from Gallup, along 200 miles of the Santa Fe (now BNSF) Railway, with occasional glimpses of Native American villages along the way. Starting at Isleta Pueblo, 12 miles from downtown Albuquerque, the railway is in the Rio Grande Valley for about 50 miles. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 7 — Ride the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad This morning we drive an hour to Chama, New Mexico, for our 51⁄2 hour journey on a vestige of a onetime Santa Fe Railway rival, the narrow-gauge Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. Its original intent was to link Denver with a Pacific port by building south into Mexico. Beaten to Raton Pass by the Santa Fe Railway, the D&RG turned westward. One of its lines was preserved in 1969 as the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. Still narrow gauge and steam powered. It climbs 10,022-foot Cumbres Pass and travels alongside 600-foot-deep Toltec Gorge, crossing and re-crossing the state line eleven times on its way to Antonito, Colorado. We return to our hotel at dinnertime. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 8 — Departures from Santa Fe After breakfast we depart for Santa Fe to start our way home. Meals: Breakfast



  • Lodging as outlined in lodging section above based on double occupancy
  • Meals as noted in itinerary above
  • Snacks and beverages
  • Train tickets and museum admissions for all included activities
  • Commentary by rail expert
  • Services of professional tour manager
  • Ground transportation for all included events during the trip & porterage service
  • Pre & post tour travel
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Gratuities for your BSA guides



May 29 – June 5, 2024




Single Supplement



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