Connecting Clarkdale to Perkinsville, Arizona’s Verde Canyon Railroad, is a stunning four-hour train ride.
Verde Canyon Railroad train cars in Arizona
The Grand Canyon is one of the best World Heritage Sites in the US. The Grand Canyon is a sight, from the bright red stones to the dramatic cliffs. However, the world-famous canyon often overshadows the Verde Canyons, referred to as the state’s “other grand canyon.” Overlooking the Verde River, the Verde Canyon Railroad is an exhibit of Arizona’s lush vegetation and diverse wildlife. Situated among massive, towering red stones, this train ride is worth its four-hour journey. Connecting Clarkdale to Perkinsville, this savory commute offers unparalleled views of Arizona’s high desert, plus much more!
10/10 Verde Canyon
Regarded as Arizona’s other “Grand Canyon,” the Verde Canyon is as equally rugged. Free of commercial and residential development, commuters riding the railroad can view the expansive landscape for miles on end, teeming with lush vegetation. Enjoy the view from the comfort of one’s seat or shift to the open-air viewing cart to feel the wind as the train travels fairly steadily: at only 12 mph!
9/10 Verde River
Commuters traveling along the Verde Canyon Railway will get a glimpse of the Verde River, one of Arizona’s remaining year-round river systems. Flowing for 192 miles, the green waters of the Verde River support a host of nearby flora and fauna, nestled among the state’s dramatic mountains and desert valleys.
8/10 Prescott National Forest
The journey on the Verde Canyon Railway collides with two of Arizona’s stunning forests, one of them being the Prescott National Forest. Situated in Prescott, this massive forest is home to an array of wildlife and vegetation, including juniper trees and ponderosa pine.
7/10 Coconino National Forest
Located in Flagstaff, near the Prescott National Forest, the railroad touches the Coconino National Forest, a picturesque forest spanning nearly two million acres. Home to a diverse collection of vegetation, this Arizona forest is home to many landscapes, from the dry flatlands to the chilling alpine tundra. Combined with the Prescott National Forest, the Coconino Forest makes for a scenic train ride!
6/10 Red-Rock Buttes
Derived from the French word meaning “knoll,” buttes are flat rock towers created by the slow erosion of plateaus (or mesas). When commuting on the Verde Canyon Railroad, commuters will witness the brilliant red-rock buttes covering the landscape, offering a true treat to the eyes.
5/10 Unique Wildlife
Other than seeing rows of agave plants and cacti, commuters can get a chance to see other wildlife encompassing the Arizona landscape, from the great blue heron on the Verde River to the mighty American bald eagle. Plus, visitors can head to the open-air cart to see these unique wildlife species while taking in the fresh Arizona air!
4/10 John Bell Museum
The depot at the Verde Canyon Railroad is a traveler’s first stop before boarding the train. While waiting for their ride, guests can check out the John Bell Museum. This free-admission museum is dedicated to educating the public about the history of the Verde Valley, offering exhibits and memorabilia regarding the railroad development and the copper industry. The depot also contains picture displays to inform visitors about the locomotive’s history.
3/10 The Train’s Engineer And Conductor!
Guests can book a special experience on the railroad. One lucky commuter (out of all the other riders) can book a special tour, where they will get to see the back end of the locomotive and meet the train’s engineer and conductor. Learn the intricacies of the FP7 Locomotive, a historic train with an engine as powerful as 1,500 horses!
|NOTE: Passengers who want to book the locomotive ride-along experience will have to book a reservation in advance when buying their train tickets. Subject to availability, this experience is only limited to one person!|
2/10 Copper Spike Café
Before hopping on the train, grab a bite to eat them at the depot’s Copper Spike Café! This no-frills eatery sells dishes made from locally-sourced ingredients with regional flavors. Try an Engineer Hot Dog with chopped onions, sink into a Verde Burger, or satiate appetites with Hoghead Street Tacos.
1/10 The Manmade Tunnel
There are a lot of natural landscapes to enjoy along the Verde Canyon Railway, but the 680-ft tunnel is also pretty impressive. Also known as the railroad’s “Wilderness Route,” the locomotive will run right through this 100-year-old massive tunnel made by human hands (plus mules and black powder explosives).