Fresh, clean country air with just a hint of pine and mesquite . . . peaceful sounds of the slow moving river . . . the vibrant orange Arizona sunset . . . . wildlife along the river’s edge.
The rhythmic clickety-clack of a slow-moving historic train.
The Verde Canyon Railroad carries passengers through one of the most beautiful wilderness areas of northern Arizona. Following along the banks of the Verde River, the train track lies between the natural habitats of two national forests. This view is accessible only by rail and the landscapes are unparalleled.
We took an evening train ride that departed the station at 5:30 in the evening. Although it was hot in Phoenix when we left that morning, we were pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t too hot to spend most of our time in one of the open-air cars that evening. The weather was perfect and the moonlight made the landscapes even more dramatic.
Our experience on the rail was especially interesting!
Our tour guide, Jack, knows this area like the back of his hand. We could ask him anything about “railroad” and he had an answer.
He explained where the best picture taking opportunities were along the way. He showed us where to watch for waterfowl, mule deer, and long-abandoned homesteads. He knew the names of mountain peaks and towering Sedona red pinnacle formations. He pointed out places where we should watch for caves in the rock walls, or high ledges where eagles nest.
Jack is also a master at knowing facts about the Verde Canyon Railroad. Historic details about the locomotives, when they were made, where they were in service, and why they have snow plows on the front – even though they’re in Arizona!
He told us the story about how the bridge on this route was named the SOB Trestle. He told us what the letters stood for, and I have to say, it’s probably not what you’re thinking!
Jack even claims to have ridden this very same train when he was six years old! And he could tell us why!
But, you’ll have to take the ride yourself to find out the answer!
Yes, he is quite the character, that Jack. The more we listened, the more he convinced us that he knew what he was talking about and not just throwing fun facts around.
Exploring new destinations is an adventure, there’s no doubt about it. And this historic train ride through the unique landscapes of northern Arizona is a fun adventure for any age!
IF YOU GO:
Address: 300 North Broadway, Clarkdale, AZ 86324
For more information on the Clarkdale and Cottonwood areas, please read A Walk in Historic Old Town Cottonwood, Arizona.