The Verde Canyon Railroad winds its way along the scenic Verde River at a leisurely 12 mph (19 kph), offering passengers a unique way to experience the Arizona wilderness. The refurbished heritage railroad cars make the round-trip journey through national forest land, with stellar views out windows on both sides of the train.
A ride aboard this restored vintage train takes passengers 20 miles (32 kilometers) from an historic train depot just outside Sedona to the ghost town of Perkinsville and back. Passengers can choose between coach or the more spacious first class, both of which have access to open-air viewing cars, where outdoor attendants provide insight into the canyon’s history, geology, and ecology. Once a month during the summer, the railroad offers a nighttime starlight excursion to allow passengers to see a different side of the high desert.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Verde Canyon Railroad is a must-do for families traveling with kids and history buffs.
- The round-trip ride lasts about four hours.
- The railroad is climate-controlled for a comfortable journey no matter the season.
- Some railroad cars are accessible to manual wheelchairs and are equipped with Americans with Disabilities–compliant (ADA) restrooms.
- Tickets often sell out, so book in advance to avoid disappointment.
How to Get There
The train depot is in Clarkdale, about 40 minutes outside Sedona or two hours from Phoenix. The easiest way to get there is to drive, and you’ll find parking across the street from the depot.
When to Get There
Climate-controlled indoor cars make the train a popular excursion throughout the year. Expect temperatures of around 90°F (32°C) (when enjoying the open-air cars) during the summer months or the occasional light dusting of snow in winter.
All Aboard for Wildlife Viewing
The train passes between the Prescott and Coconino national forests, affording plenty of opportunity for viewing some of Arizona’s 900 animal species. Keep your eyes open for great blue herons along the banks of the Verde River or bald eagles soaring above the train cars.