May I ask what the motivation is behind your plan to take the train? I believe the train schedule is such that you only have 3 hours in the Park which, to be honest, isn't really enough time to get to "out of the way places" in the park. If you've never been to the Grand Canyon, I think you should spend the time doing the "usual" stuff... which is to make your way to different viewpoints into the Canyon.
Since you won't have a car, you will be dependent on the shuttles. Yavapai Point is excellent. Take the Hermit Road shuttle for the western viewpoints.
Overall, unless you have strong reasons to take the train, I personally think you will get more out of visiting GCNP by driving your own vehicle to the park.Edited: 03 May 2012, 21:41
Agreeing with DTF. If you want to spend time touring the rim viewpoints, skip the train and drive yourselves to the park. Touring the rim is easy to do on your own. It just takes time. And you won't have enough if you arrive and depart by train.
Thanks DetTigerFan and RedRox - we have been to the Grand Canyon before (years ago) and just wanted to experience the train and thought it would be a fun thing to do. I didn't know that there was a shuttle system - that's great to know and maybe we can work something out with that if not with an actual tour bus. I appreciate the advice and will plan on taking our own car the next time we are there. We live in Cali and plan to do a lot more traveling since we retired so I am sure that Grand Canyon will be on our itinerary other times also.
Depending on when you are traveling, the walk from the train station to the west road shuttle stop will take 10 minutes. But the line up there can be huge with wait times up to an hour. A 3 hour train stop really doesn't allow enough time for this option.
And I'll assume you understand that you won't see the canyon at all from the train. And that the train ride takes 2-3 times the amount of time that it would require to simply drive your car from Williams.
If seeing some out of the way places at the canyon is your goal, the train is the wrong way to get there.
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