Tuesday April, 25th, 2023
There are lots of “touristy” things to spend your money on in the Sedona area and many are not worth it. The Verde Canyon Railroad is 100% worth the time and money you will spend on the experience.
Tim and I started the four hour journey by boarding the Flagstaff car. We settled into a super comfy loveseat with plenty of legroom and a coffee table for the generous charcuterie box and water provided for each passenger.
At the front of each car is a full service bar. I had a Titos and seltzer with their special prickly pear lemonade. It was delicious! In addition to the snacks and bar on the train, you can pre-order lunches from the depot. They were very good, but once we saw the snacks, we really didn’t need the extra food.
The young person in the teal shirt and baseball cap was our narrator. He shared information about the history of the area and the geologic events that created the beauty. He would point out the flowers that were blooming at the different elevations and made sure we caught the birds and animals that make their home in the canyon. He was delightful.
The train is pulled by an FP7 locomotive. The railroad owns two of just 10 that remain in service in the US. They were brought to Arizona from Alaska and still sport the huge snowplows they came with.
For an extra fee train enthusiasts can ride in the locomotive with the engineer. You can also upgrade your party of six to the caboose. You have your own valet and some other fun extras.
The train goes from the Clarkdale Depot to Perkinsville, AZ. Through the 20 mile ride, you learn the history of the region and of the interesting people who built (and sometimes lost) their fortunes here. In Perkinsville, they detach the engine, move it to the back of the train hook back up and give us the same beautiful views in reverse.
It was difficult to get pictures of the river as it was nestled in the trees, but the rail runs along the Verde River. We passed over several beautiful bridges and plummeted into a 734 foot tunnel that took us from the bright sunshine to a moment of pitch black.
It was a wonderful trip. We will look for more historic rail experiences as we travel!