Verde Canyon Railroad is located in Clarkdale, 25 miles southwest of Sedona. Originally established for the copper mining industry, the railroad travels from the Clarkdale depot to the ghost ranch of Perkinsville and back. There is a 15 minute stop at the ghost ranch before the train heads back to the depot.
The Verde Canyon Railroad route is deep within Verde Canyon which is only accessible by rail. The Verde Canyon is often called ‘Arizona’s other Grand Canyon’ because of its spectacular canyon scenery. The remote wilderness of the Verde Canyon is known for its towering red rock pinnacles and clean green waters. This mix of high desert and wetland is populated by a variety of wildlife and waterfowl which thrive among the foliage along the river.
Verde Canyon’s waterfowl includes the Great Blue Heron which may have a wingspan of up to six feet. There are over 74 different species of waterfowl, fish, frogs, insects and mammals that depend on the Verde River for survival. Many birds of prey, including Great Horned Owls, Cooper’s hawks, Peregrine falcons, and red-tail and black hawks can be seen along the rails through the Canyon. Over thirty bald and golden eagles winter in in Verde Canyon each year. Mule deer, antelope and Javelina are often seen. You may even see a fox or coyote. Mountain lions and elk also live in Verde Canyon.
The train goes past Indian ruins, through a 680-foot man-made tunnel and over old-fashioned trestles. There were at least five groups of prehistoric people living in Verde Canyon. No one knows what they called themselves, but archeologists refer to them as Hohokam, Anasazi, Sinagua Mogollon and Salado. Cliff dwellings of the Sinagua people can still be seen. Remnants of early settlers are also visible.
The route is nestled between two national forests and adjacent to a designated wilderness area. This unique geological land features rugged, crimson high desert rock and beautiful panoramic views. Passengers enjoy this scenic train ride in first-class style aboard renovated passenger coaches and open-air viewing cars which are pulled by vintage locomotives. Expert narration gives passengers with a sense of history, archaeology, geology, wildlife, and the Indian lore of the Verde Canyon.
The round trip is approximately 38 miles and takes about four hours. Don’t forget to take your camera on this trip.
Click here for more information about the Verde Canyon Railroad.