Dubbed, the Longest Running Nature Show, the Verde River Canyon Railroad has been praised by railroad aficionados as among the best scenic rail shows in the country.
The remote wilderness between Sedona and Jerome is known for red rock pinnacles and clean, green water. Combine that beauty of a panoramic unbroken Western landscape. with Indian ruins, a nearly 700 foot long tunnel and old style trestles. Then, there is the natural flora and fauna and especially the rich habitat of bald and golden eagles, that, by itself, is worth the trip.
The four-hour experience to the Perkinsville Ranch and back is a four-star event.
Operators call it 'a train for all seasons,' with colorful special events scheduled around the calendar. Check the web at www.verdecanyonrr.com for seasonal highlights
There are no roads into the Verde River Canyon, so the train is the only access and an "exclusive" on that spectacular majestic scenery.
The historic route is nestled between two national forests and adjacent to a wilderness area. It is a unique geological showcase of rugged, towering red desert rock faces and spectacular panoramic views. The confluence of desert and wetland is alive with a variety of wildlife, thriving among the indigenous cottonwoods, cacti and wildflowers.
The location is comfortably between the heat of the desert and the northern cold country. There are excursions year round with plenty to see.
Guides leave passengers with the flavor of the history, archaeology, geology, wildlife and the Indian lore of the Verde Canyon.
After leaving Clarkdale's history of copper mining, passengers stand in awe at a series of dwellings tucked into the cliffs high above the tracks. Once a haven for the Sinagua Indians, the dwellings are a reminder that man has long marveled at this landscape. The S.O.B. trestle, which bridges a box canyon, allows passengers to marvel at the crystal clear waters of the Verde River as it winds deep through a basalt gorge.
Look for deer and javelina along the river's edge and signs of beaver and otter. The river, itself, is alive with minnows, native suckers, trout and smallmouth bass and stick-like Blue Heron are that can be seen fishing. The railroad track lies 60 feet from the Verde River for over 10 miles. The line passes through a 680-foot tunnel blasted through solid limestone and finally crosses a steel bridge entering Perkinsville, the journey's midpoint. The old working cattle ranch, settled by the Perkins family at the turn-of-the-century, was one of the sites of the film classic, How the West was Won. The ranch was once a watering station the former steam locomotives. It is still a remarkable western backdrop, as the Verde Canyon Railroad's historic diesel engines switch from one end of the train to the other.