Verde Canyon Railroad excursions coast through the famous Verde River Canyon—a beautiful canyon situated at Mogollon Rim edge in the center of Arizona. Passengers delight in the picture-perfect views of the canyon’s hearty wildlife, distinctive rock carvings and formations, and a massive, manmade tunnel. The train tours are a definite high point during Arizona vacations. Plenty of the canyons within Verde are bridged by historic trestles, which offer irresistible views of the surrounding coulee and a dash of important state history.
Built amid jet-black basalt, crimson sandstone bluffs, and craggy, rust-colored rocks, the Verde Canyon train has been riding the gulch rails since 1911. Built over the course of one year and exactly 38 long miles, more than 200 men labored with hundreds of mules, shovels, and picks to build the Clarkdale-to-Drake railway system. From inception to modern day, the Verde Canyon Railroad carries both freight and passengers. Passengers debark at the Arizona train depot in Clarkdale, near Montezuma Castle, where shopping and dining are both available. Museums in the area, like the John Bell Museum, offer some history of the local area.
The Verde Canyon train ride is three-and-a-half to four hours in length, which is ample time to explore the rugged, naturally formed canyon and all its features of which one is the fascinating Sinagua Indian ruins. Verde Canyon railroad packages take visitors over 40 miles and traverse the rail line near the banks of magnificent Verde River. Sweet Ol’ Bill Canyon is another major highlight during Verde Canyon railroad tours located by the river itself. Dropping almost 200 feet into a plummeting gorge, the views are spectacular and create incredible photo-ops not to be missed.
Through Verde Canyon railroad packages, train passengers can see mature cottonwood and sycamore trees, standing as a testament to time, with canopies stretching more than twenty feet in every direction around them. More than five cacti varieties line the Verde Canyon Railroad as well. Each season brings with it detailed highlights along the tracks. In winter, spotting Arizona eagles is the key attractions while riding the rails. In Spring, from March to June, the blooming cacti and local wildflowers create a refreshing spectacle throughout the canyon. Summer brings the popular Starlight Tours, a starry-night ride that helps to beat the summer heat. Copper, bronze, and gold hues blanket the Verde Canyon in autumn and the Prickly Pear Cactus reveals crimson-colored fruits.
Verde Canyon railroad packages are available through many local Arizona hotels in Jerome, Clarkdale, Sedona, and Cottonwood. From luxury to cheap hotels, packages include discount coach or first-class train tickets and additional amenities including hot breakfasts, discount transportation, dinner show tickets, and hot buffet dinners. With only roughly two hours driving distance to Phoenix, the Verde canyon train tour makes a great day trip. Within the area, there are many fun things to do like camping, hiking and biking, visiting national monuments, and exploring abundant state parks. Don’t miss the Verde Valley Wine Trail, the Dolly Steamboat, and the delightful bed and breakfasts throughout Sedona.