All aboard! The Verde Canyon Rail is a wonderful way to spend 1/2 a day. The train departs from Clarkdale and the last stop is “Perkinsville” which is a ghost town , but is still being used as a cattle ranch.
Clarkdale is part of the Verde Valley. Located in Central Arizona along the Verde River and the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness, Clarkdale was founded in the early 1900’s to house the employees of the copper smelter who brought ore down from nearby Jerome. The current rail has been here since 1911.
Day Trip to the Verde Canyon
When you board the Verde Canyon Rail, choose a seat on the right side (station side) of the train for the best views. They will board all the tours and parties of four or more first.
After everyone is seated and the train is ready to go you can either stay in your seat or go out to the open air car for better views.You can purchase snacks and drinks on the train. The ride is narrated and the staff were very friendly on our visit.
What will you see on the Verde Canyon Rail?
Soon after departure you will pass heaps of slag which is basically a by-product of smelting ore. The scenery becomes impressive once the Verde River comes into view.
The train ride takes you alongside the Verde river and all of the lush trees and foliage that grows near the water.
You will roll past ancient Indian ruins, beautiful red rocks, over several bridges and through a man made tunnel. The views are stunning with the green trees against the red rocks. If you are lucky you will see some wildlife as well.
We were able to see a bald eagle in the tree near the river. If I had been on the open air car at the time I most definitely would have been able to get a great photo of the bird, but I was not. But it was great to be able to see an eagle. It was something we had been looking for the entire train trip. Keep your eyes open this is a great trip to view some wildlife!
Part of the fun in riding the train is meeting and talking to new people from all over the country while enjoying the views of beautiful central Arizona.
At the last stop of your journey, Perskinsville, the engine will move to the front as you head back. Perkinsville now a “ghost town” but still an active cattle ranch.
Location: Clarkdale – North Central Arizona
Address: 300 North Broadway, Clarkdale
Directions: From Phoenix-Take I-17 north to exit 287 (Cottonwood, Camp Verde, Clarkdale). Turn left (west) over the freeway. Go on Highway 260 (approximately 14 miles to the fifth traffic light). Turn left at light. This is Main Street (Historic 89A). Drive through Old Town Cottonwood, past Tuzigoot until you see a sign on the corner that says “Verde Canyon Railroad.” Bear right onto Broadway, cross the one-lane bridge and park in the designated parking across the street from the depot.
Hours: Most trains depart at 1:00 pm and return at 5:00, some days there are trains that depart at 9:00 am and at 2:30 pm. Please see website for times and admission prices.