Heart of the West - 2018
Day 1: Depart Chicago
Heart of the West tour members will meet the Tour Director in Chicago’s Union Station. The Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) is close by. Other Chicago attractions are a brief cab ride away.
This afternoon we’ll board the Southwest Chief prior to its 3:00 p.m. departure. Relax in your comfortable reclining coach seat with leg rest. Roomettes or Bedrooms are available at an additional cost. All dining car meals are included. Enjoy a full-course dinner tonight in the dining car. You will want to spend time in the Sightseer Lounge where the glass windows rise from the floor level to the ceiling. It is a great place to view the passing scenery.
Day 2: En Route / Flagstaff
During the night we traveled across the state of Kansas. We will be near the Colorado border when you awaken. Today you will experience the excitement of the Santa Fe Trail as we cross New Mexico and Arizona. You will have time for a trainside walk when we arrive in Albuquerque at mid afternoon. Our arrival into Flagstaff, Arizona, is scheduled for 8:51 p.m. Upon arrival we’ll transfer the short distance to the Comfort Inn.
Meal(s): B, L & D
Day 3: The Grand Canyon
Following a Continental breakfast, we’ll travel by deluxe motorcoach to the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon of the Colorado River is one of the world’s outstanding spectacles. In form, size, flowing color and geological significance, it is unsurpassed.
We will view the Canyon from several observation areas. Our first stop will be Watchtower where you will experience views of the River, the Canyon and Kaibab National Forest. Late this afternoon we’ll continue Northeast 155 miles to Kayenta. We’ll spend tonight at the attractive Hampton Inn Monument Valley. Dinner tonight is included.
Meal(s): CB & D
Day 4: Monument Valley
The highlight of the day will be our drive through nearby Monument Valley. The region provides perhaps the most enduring and definitive images of the American West. The isolated red mesas and buttes surrounded by empty, sandy desert have been filmed and photographed countless times over the years for movies, advertisements and holiday brochures. Because of this, the area may seem quite familiar, even on a first visit, but it is soon evident that the natural colors really are as bright and deep as those in all the pictures.
The area lies entirely within the Navajo Indian Reservation on the Utah / Arizona border. An “on-your-own” luncheon stop will be made. By late afternoon we will arrive in the charming city of Durango, commercial center for the ranching and mining enterprises of southwest Colorado and gateway to the picturesque San Juan Mountains. The city thrived as a railroad and mining center in the late 1800s. Much of the downtown area has been restored to its Victorian past. The DoubleTree is our home for the next two nights.
Day 5: Mesa Verde
A full breakfast is included each morning at the hotel. This morning we’ll travel westward to Mesa Verde National Park, one of our Nation’s major archeological preserves. Many large canyons seam the Mesa Verde area. In the shelter of the hundreds of caves eroded in the cliffs are some of the world’s largest and best preserved cliff dwellings. The cave dwellings were occupied around 1200 A.D. Ruins Road covers 12 miles and provides a view of about 40 cliff dwellings from the canyon rim. We’ll return to our hotel at mid afternoon. Dinner is included this evening.
Meal(s): B & D
Day 6: Durango & Silverton
A high point of our tour will occur today when we ride on the famous Durango & Silverton Scenic Railroad. The steam-powered, narrow-gauge train travels through the remote wilderness of the San Juan National Forest, following the winding Animas River through breathtaking mountain scenery. The 45-mile, three-and-a-half hour rail journey will end in Silverton, a typical wild-west mining community with a rather infamous past. There will be time to walk along Blair Street with its false-fronted buildings typical of the Old West and have an “on-your-own” lunch.
The DoubleTree in Grand Junction is our home for the night. Dinner is included at our hotel.
Meal(s): B & D
Day 7: Colorado Rockies
A full breakfast is included in our hotel this morning. We’ll transfer to the Amtrak train station in time for the 10:23 a.m. departure of the California Zephyr. Relax in your reclining coach seat with leg rest. Sleeping accommodations are available at an additional cost. Enjoy the Sightseer Lounge and other amenities you experienced on your westbound journey.
You’ll want to take advantage of the spectacular Colorado Rockies scenery we’ll be experiencing throughout this afternoon. How about a card game or two with some of your new-found friends? Or reminisce with fellow tour members about all you saw and experienced the past seven days.
Meal(s): B, L & D
Day 8: En Route to Chicago
Our train will roll across Iowa and Illinois before our late afternoon arrival in Chicago. Some tour members may change to trains bound for Midwest, Eastern and Southern home cities. Others may spend the night in Chicago and fly home tomorrow.
Meal(s): B & L
Sat., June 9 to Sat., June 16, 2018
Sat., Sept. 8 to Sat., Sept. 15, 2018
Download a full color printable version of this itinerary.
- The Grand Canyon
- Durango & Silverton Railroad
- Mesa Verde
- Monument Valley
- Colorado Rockies
- The Grand Canyon of the Colorado River is one of the world’s outstanding spectacles. In form, size and flowing colors, it is unsurpassed.
- Monument Valley provides perhaps the most enduring and definitive images of the American West. The isolated red mesas and buttes are surrounded by empty, sandy desert which have been filmed and photographed countless times.
- Two days in charming Durango. Ride the famous Durango & Silverton Scenic Railroad’s steam powered excursion train.
- A day at Mesa Verde National Park. See hundreds of the world’s largest and best cliff dwellings; ruins that date from the 1200s.
- Travel 3000 non-redundant rail miles: 1700 on the Southwest Chief through New Mexico and Arizona and 1300 on the California Zephyr including the majestic Colorado Rockies.
- Round-trip transportation by Amtrak rail and deluxe motorcoach.
- Reclining coach seat with leg rest on Amtrak for two nights.
- First-class hotel accommodations for five nights.
- 16 meals.
- Sightseeing tours of all included National Parks. Admissions to all included attractions.
- Baggage handling, taxes & tips.
- Services of a professional America by Rail Tour Director.
$2,495 - 8 Days
Upgrades: Roomette + $645
Bedroom + $1,395
Upgrade: Roomette + $1,290
FLY OPTION: Fly to
Flagstaff, return from
Grand Junction. 6 Days
America by Rail will be happy to arrange your flights. Airfare is not included in the above price.
All prices are per person/double occupancy unless otherwise stated.
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