Verde Canyon Railroad has been operating scenic tours of the canyon since 1990. An average of 90,000 people per year take this relaxing 4 hour trip. They can add two more this year!
We arrived at the depot about an hour early. This gives you ample time to wander through the depot and have a look at the museum that explains a little about the history of the railroad and the Clarkdale area.
Verde Railroad Museum
Regular cars alternate with open air cars.
Great paint job on the locomotives!
There are more than 30 bald and golden eagles living in the canyon, so we were hoping to be able to spot them along the way!
The trail boards at 12:45pm so that everybody is ready for the 1:00pm departure...and the wheels started rolling at exactly 1:00pm. We love it when things happen on time right on time.
We were spoiled and were put in the first class car!
We were delivered champagne to start off the trip!
Very comfy seating in first class. Sometimes it's nice to be spoiled!
Buffet style snacks too!
I tried to get a decent photo of our hostess Amber, but the train moves around quite a bit and it was tough to get one that was in focus. So it just didn't happen, but we wanted to mention that she was really good and we enjoyed her hospitality! She looked after everyone in the car really well, including quickly and cheerfully cleaning up when one of the guests spilled their drink. I overheard her mention that this happens quite regularly on the moving train.
And we were off!
The Verde River. And, clear blue Arizona sky!
We go over a couple of bridges to get to the canyon itself.
We spent a lot of time in our outdoor car...as did most people.
We think there were 4 coach class cars, and 4 first class cars. And when you include the alternating outdoor cars, it was a pretty long train. Oh, and a service car and two locomotives, and the caboose!
Beautiful Arizona scenery...and we're not even in the canyon yet!
Entering the canyon, there are high cliff walls.
The red rocks of the Verde Canyon.
The outdoor cars have nice shade canopies. Everybody is watching for the eagles!
The caboose is available to rent for private parties!
Lots of photo opportunities.
After 20 miles, at a nice relaxing speed of 15 mph, we stopped at the "town" of Perkinsville. At one time there were 10 or 12 families living here, with a school and a store. But now, the town is essentially used for the train engines to disconnect and move along a side rail to hook onto the other end of the train for the ride back to Clarkdale.
The abandoned town of Perkinsville was used as a film set for the old How the West was Won television series back in the early '60's.
The locomotives being moved to the other end of the train.
And then we headed back the way we came.
Just watchin' the scenery go by.
It's spring, and the cottonwood trees are becoming green.
At $89.95 per person, it's not cheap. But for a special event, or just a treat, then it's worth it. In fact there were two different people in our car celebrating birthdays.
In coach class, it's $64.95, so we think that if you're going to go it's worth it to spend the extra $25 for first class. More comfortable, not likely to be any children, food and a complimentary drink, and certainly more attention to service in first class. Bar service at your seat, with reasonably priced (my Corona was $4) drinks available.
Make sure you have a look at the Frequently Asked Questions to find out all the pertinent info about your excursion.
Oh, also...if you have tickets booked and you're touring in your RV, they allow you to spend a night drycamping in their parking lot before and/or after your train journey...which is exactly what we did. We love companies that allow this!
We had a great afternoon on the rails. Thanks to Verde Canyon Railroad for sponsoring our trip! As always, all opinions are our own.
From there, we drove about 8 miles (13 kms) towards Sedona and found a great boondocking overnight spot in Coconino National Forest....
End of a great day!