SANTA FE, N.M. -- The Santa Fe Trail is in the news as it
celebrates its 175th anniversary as a major trading route.
Missouri trader William Becknell blazed the trail with pack
animals, but clients can see the sights in more comfortable
The Southwest Chief, an Amtrak Superliner train, follows
portions of the trail as it makes its way between Chicago and Los
The itinerary, which takes a little less than two days to
complete, includes Flagstaff, Ariz.; Albuquerque, N.M., and Kansas
The trip gets under way with a Chief's Roundup in the lounge
car, where passengers can enjoy Southwest-style snacks.
To make the journey more interesting and educational, tour
guides from the Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial Association will be
on board for the New Mexico leg, which runs from Gallup to
Passengers will hear about local history, culture and folklore
as well as viewing points of interest along the way.
The Sightseer Lounge Car, located on the upper level of the
train, offers panoramic windows from which to see the sights.
The lounge car features videos, and there are games in the
The train makes a stop at a Native American trading post in
Albuquerque so that passengers can get out, stretch their legs and
The route traverses part of the Mojave Desert on its way from
Flagstaff, then enters Canyon Diablo, home of the Navajo
New Mexico side trips from Gallup include Mesa Verde National
Park, the Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert.
The landscape features the red cliffs for which New Mexico is
famous as well as the early settlements of the Anasazi Indians.
The train runs along the Rio Grande and makes a stop near Santa
The New Mexico portion of the journey takes about
Other noteworthy stops on the way to Chicago include Las Vegas
and Dodge City, Kan.
Passengers can choose from assigned coach seats or first class
sleeping car service.
The latter option includes meals and private sleeping
accommodations in deluxe rooms.
Family rooms that accommodate up to two adults and three
children feature private rest rooms and a shower.
Roundtrip coach rates for this season start at $242 per person,
$804 for an economy sleeper.
For more information, call (800) TEL-TRAK.