The remote wilderness of the Verde Canyon, located west of Sedona and below Jerome, is renowned for its towering red rock pinnacles and clean, green waters. The train rolls past Indian ruins, through a 680-foot man-made tunnel, over old-fashioned trestles and under clear azure skies. This picturesque setting is further enhanced by the variety of indigenous flora and fauna and the many migrating waterfowl. Over thirty bald and golden eagles winter in this riparian respite each year.
Passengers enjoy this four-hour scenic train ride in first-class style aboard renovated passenger coaches and open-air viewing cars pulled by vintage locomotives.
The Verde Canyon is often called 'Arizona’s other Grand Canyon' with spectacular canyon scenery, on a train tripthat offers visual feasts including seasonal spring flowers, fall foliage and hundreds of migratory birds, such as the majestic bald eagle.
The Verde Canyon Railroad is often referred to as the finest train ride in Arizona and acclaimed as Arizona’s longest-running nature show. The Verde Canyon Railroad is the #1 outdoor attraction for visitors coming to Sedona, Arizona and is an easy 25 mile drive southwest on scenic Highway 89A.
Verde Canyon Railroad Event Descriptions 2014
Chocolate Lovers’ Festival- February 14, 15, 16 The romance of the rails will captivate your senses during Verde Canyon Railroad’s Chocolate Lovers’ Festival celebrated over Valentine’s Day Weekend. On February 14, 15 and 16, 2014, rich chocolate blends with the Verde Canyon’s majestic wilderness. The confectionary celebration will fill your first-class car with the intoxicating scents and flavors of chocolate via tasty pastries, cakes and luscious hand-dipped delicacies. Many ingredients partner well with chocolate but the best embellishment is the clickety-clack of railroad wheels on the track.
In addition to the Chocolate Lovers’ Festival there is available seating in first-class and standard coach.
National Train Day-May 10 On Saturday, May 10, Verde Canyon Railroad celebrates the important history of American railroads with an entertaining and educational celebration at their Clarkdale depot. This free event, taking place from 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., is open to all and will include exhibits and activities from local attractions and organizations as well as guided tours of our historic train and John Bell Museum. A delicious BBQ ribs and chicken luncheon will be available for purchase.
Summer Starlight- May 17, June 14, July 12, August 9, Sept.6 Departing during the cooler temperatures of late afternoon and traveling through sunset, twilight and starlight, the Verde Canyon Railroad’s popular Summer Starlight ride operates on select Saturday evenings May through September. Departing at 5:30 p.m. and returning at 9:30 p.m., the Starlight Ride serves up a wide ranging mix of light, color and shadow as the Canyon transforms into a moonlit dreamscape.
In addition to first-class and standard coach seating, the Starlight schedule also features two special event options: the Grape Train Escape and the Tequila Sunset Limited.
Grape Train Escape- May 17, June 14, July 12, August 9, and Sept. 6 A scenic sunset journey, perfect for the leisurely sipping a variety of specially-chosen vintages, awaits you aboard the Grape Train Escape. Once a month on select summer Saturday evenings May through September, Verde Canyon Railroad highlights a different wine-growing region from across the globe, including Italy, Australia and New Zealand, South America, Washington State and California featuring our very own private label varietals. A tasting flight of five wines includes special accompanying hors d’oeuvres to complement each selection.
Tequila Sunset Limited- May 17, June 14, July 12, August 9, Sept.6 The Tequila Sunset Limited celebrates the wide-ranging popularity of this beloved Mexican spirit. A selection of three premium tequilas will prove that the agave-distilled liquor can boast a complex sipping flavor suited to any snifter. This tequila tasting event, paired with Mexican appetizers, makes an excellent accompaniment to the fantastic summer sunset scenery.
Firecracker Express- July 4 Make a day of it and celebrate the Fourth of July small-town Arizona style. Enjoy the town’s famous holiday parade down Main Street in the morning before heading over to the red, white and blue festooned Verde Canyon Railroad depot for an All-American barbecue luncheon on the shaded patio prior to the train’s 1:00 p.m. departure. Grilled burgers and hot dogs, baked beans, special recipe potato salad, cupcakes and ice-cold lemonade are served to the tune of rousing patriotic anthems.
Ales on Rails- Every Thursdays through Sunday in October Ales on Rails kick starts the hearty harvest season with the robust colors and flavors of autumn. The celebration begins at 11:00 a.m. on the depot patio every Thursday through Sunday in October. A beer garden serves a variety of regional craft beers as well as traditional European ales, by the taste or by the glass, and a mouthwatering luncheon of German sausages, sauerkraut, potato salad, pretzels and strudel, all served to the rhythmic tunes of a polka serenade. The 1:00 p.m. train whistle signals the continuation of the party as it moves onto the rails with specialty beers available onboard, including Verde Canyon Railroad’s own private-labeled brews, crafted in Sedona by the renowned Oak Creek Brewery.
Fall Color Tours- October and November Verde Canyon Railroad’s rare river landscape makes up just two percent of the state’s geography. For this reason, very few locations in Arizona offer such a bounty of fall color. The vivid foliage combined with the vibrant geology delights train passengers with the saturated hues of autumn. From the middle of October through the end of November, canopies of butter-colored cottonwoods and willows, bronze sycamores, coppery oaks and scarlet ivies festoon the Verde River with a bright autumn burnish.
Eagle Watch- December thru-March Soaring over their winter habitat along Arizona’s perennial streams and rivers, Bald Eagles inspire all with their majestic appearance and graceful acrobatics. During Eagle Watch season December through March, an abundance of high-flying activity may be seen from Verde Canyon Railroad as the raptors jockey for position, mates and nesting locations. Catch a glimpse of our national symbol in its natural environment.
Liberty Wildlife Educational Opportunities By partnering with Liberty Wildlife, Verde Canyon Railroad provides visitors the opportunity to see wild raptors at the depot and onboard the train.
Raptors on the Train Sonora riding the train. 1:00pm-5:00pm. (Arriving at depot at 12pm)
Saturdays: January 4 Feb 1 March 1 April 5 May 10 (National Train Day) June 7 July 5 August 2 September 27 October 4 November 1 December 6
Educational presentations on patio - 11:00am-12:45pm
Thursday, February 20 Wednesday, March 19 Friday, April 4 Friday, April 25 Wednesday, April 30 Saturday, May 3 Saturday, May 10 (National Train Day) Thursday, May 15 Thursday, June 19 Thursday, July 17 Thursday, August 21 Thursday, September 18 Wednesday, October 1 Thursday, October 16 Thursday, November 20 Wednesday, December 17