Sandstone Red. Denim Blue. Cactus Green. Many believe the colors of Arizona remain constant year-round, never changing from one mild southwestern season to the next. Indeed, much of the sharp, pointed high-desert flora is evergreen, but the soft riparian forests along the Verde Canyon Railroad go gold as days grow shorter and nights get cooler. At higher elevations and latitudes, autumn glory fizzles by November, but in Verde Canyon the fantastic foliage, stoked by the mighty glow of fading summer, is just taking center stage in this Fall Colors Tour. Perfect warm afternoons chilled by longer nights deepen the changing hues of the forest. The fall color season lingers lazily, swaying softly like a train rolling through the wilderness.
This rare river landscape, a precious resource to all life, makes up just two percent of the state’s geography. For this reason, very few locations in Arizona offer such a bounty of fall color. The vivid foliage combined with the constant vibrant landscape overwhelms train passengers with the saturated hues of autumn. In harmony with the auburn autumn foliage, red rock hoodoos and sandstone spires of the Verde Canyon shift color and shape in the dramatically changing afternoon light. From the middle of October through the end of November, canopies of butter-colored cottonwoods and willows, bronze sycamores, coppery oaks and scarlet ivies festoon the Verde River with a bright autumn burnish.
Harvest flavors transform the beverages of autumn, with more profound aromas and spices to electrify our senses. Savor the year’s end and kick back with hearty seasonal beers and special lunch menus during the popular Ales on Rails celebration every Thursday through Sunday in October. The party continues into November featuring specialty-crafted brews on board year-round.
First-class accommodations lavish passengers in luxurious living-room style, including an abundant selection of appetizers and attentive beverage service right to your seat. Coach-class is redolent of vintage-style passenger car charm with a well-stocked snack bar. Both classes have access to open-air viewing cars, a favorite aspect to this rail journey, immersing passengers into the sights, sounds and scents of this wild western canyon at the height of its vibrancy.
Enjoy an afternoon of rail hospitality during these most golden days. Only two hours from Phoenix and 25 minutes from Sedona, Verde Canyon Railroad is the perfect Arizona day-trip. Reservations are accepted at 800.293.7245 or online at verdecanyonrr.com.
Verde Canyon Railroad’s very first passenger excursion rolled down the tracks on a November day back in 1990, and as always November remains an ideal moment to start your journey.