Get Out's Worth the Trip: Williams, Elgin, Sierra Vista - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

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Get Out's Worth the Trip: Williams, Elgin, Sierra Vista

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Posted: Monday, July 29, 2013 3:30 pm

Steam Train Voyage; Sonoita Vineyards HarvestFest; Southwest Wings Birding and Nature Festival


Steam Train Voyage

Ride to the Grand Canyon and back behind 90-year-old Locomotive 4960, a steam engine built in 1923 that’s been restored to like-new working condition. It will pull the Grand Canyon Railway through high desert, prairies and pine forests Aug. 3 on its way to the Grand Canyon, where passengers can get off and explore for a few hours before climbing back aboard for the return trip to Williams.

The train offers five classes of travel, from the refurbished but still old-timey 1923 Pullman-style car to the glass-enclosed streamliner Observation Dome.

Fueled these days by waste vegetable oil, Locomotive 4960 hauled freight and coal for the Midwestern Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad until the late 1950s. It runs to and from the Grand Canyon only a few days per year.

DETAILS >> Train departs 9:30 a.m. and returns 5:45 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 3. Another steam engine voyage is scheduled for Sept. 7. Grand Canyon Railway Depot, 233 N. Grand Canyon Blvd. Prices start at $29 for children and $59 for adults. (928) 635-4253 or


Sonoita Vineyards HarvestFest

Situated atop a hill overlooking vineyards, rolling grasslands and majestic mountain ranges, Sonoita Vineyards makes a delightful spot to sit, sip and marvel at a landscape so very different from the Valley’s cactus and hard, rocky dirt.

The admission fee to the winery’s HarvestFest includes six wine tastings in a souvenir glass, four wine and food pairings, winery tours, vineyard tours, horse-drawn wagon rides and grape stomping each day at 1:30 p.m. Lunch is available for $10 per plate, and horseback rides are available if you call ahead to make reservations to (520) 455-5696.

DETAILS >> 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 3-4. Sonoita Vineyards, 3 miles south of Elgin at 290 Elgin-Canelo Road. $15 admission. (520) 455-5893 or


Southwest Wings Birding and Nature Festival

Headquartered on the Cochise College campus, this 22-year-old nature fest affords numerous in-depth learning opportunities for fans of birds, butterflies, bats, bugs and other creatures. A slew of free programs, exhibits and vending booths are set up at the college each day, but you can also choose from more than 40 guided field trips to places like Patagonia Lake, Audubon Research Ranch, Chiricahua National Monument, and the Sonoita Creek and San Rafael State Natural Areas. Programs geared toward kids are concentrated on Saturday, Aug. 3.

DETAILS >> July 31 through Aug. 3. Cochise College, 901 N. Colombo Ave. Field trip costs vary from $20-$300; online registration is closed but you can still browse the offerings on the website and sign up in advance for trips that are still open by calling (520) 366-5560.

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