Verde Canyon Railroad: Riding Arizona’s Red Rock Canyon Rails

Verde Canyon RailroadAs baby boomer travelers, we absolutely jump at every chance we get to ride the historic rails of America’s developing past. And, riding the rails through the beautiful Verde Canyon on the Verde Canyon Railroad gave us another opportunity to do just that.

The original 38-mile Verde Canyon Railroad was miraculously completed in only a year (1912) with the work of 250 men, 200 mules, picks, shovels, and lots of DuPont black powder explosives.

For 50 years, the Verde Canyon Railroad hauled precious mined materials out of the mountains and canyons of the Verde Valley until the closing of the mines in 1962, signaling the end of an era and an industry which supported many in the surrounding communities.

In 1988, businessman Dave Durbano purchased the rail line from Clarkdale to Drake, Arizona and the Verde Canyon Railroad was reborn hauling 100s of thousands of delighted passengers through history and allowing them to enjoy first hand experiences of the Verde Canyon’s river, majestic red rock mountains, flora and fauna.

Note: if you can’t see the video, click here.

Another delightful part of the Verde Canyon Railroad is their ability to create holiday and seasonal events onboard which offers passengers an extra special experience delivered with unexpected panache.

Carol and neighbors (Paul & Chris) enjoying the First Class Car.

Carol and neighbors (Paul & Chris) enjoying the First Class Car.

In the winter months you find a Santa Claus Express, Eagle Watch, and Chocolate Lovers’ Festival.  In Spring, you find the Lucky Leprechaun Express, Easter Bunny Express, Cinco de Mayo Fiesta, and a special time-honored Sunday tradition, Throw Mama ON the Train.

Summer brings Saturday Starlight Tours, the Grape Train Escape, Tequila Sunset Limited, Father’s Day with Throw Papa ON the Train, and of course the Firecracker Express on the 4th of July.  In the fall, you’ll enjoy Grandparent’s Day, Fall Color Tours, Ales on Rails (Oktoberfest), and even a Haunted Halloween Express.

Our four-hour journey on the Verde Canyon Railroad was during Rhythm on the Rails.  During the whole of our journey, seven different musical groups (jazz, blues, musical story-tellers) pranced through the train’s railcars offering delightful entertainment to break us from our trances from gawking at the beautiful scenery passing by our windows.

In our opinion, a ride upon the Verde Canyon Railroad is one of those classic Arizona experiences that will live long in each of the memories of its passengers.  We highly recommend it!


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