Tag Archives: verde canyon railroad

Verde Canyon Railroad, Photo: Cooper Rummell

Verde Canyon Railroad offers Fall Colors Tour

Glorious fall foliage adds to the colorful intensity of Arizona scenery each fall, and nowhere do the branches dazzle quite as brilliantly as they do along the Verde River. An adventure aboard Verde Canyon Railroad’s Fall Colors Tour showcases the rich hues of scarlet and amber, crimson and gold further enhancing the beauty of this red rock canyon in the heart of Arizona’s Sedona area.

Train passengers savor the comforts of classic rail travel and its exclusive panoramic vantage point to view the wilderness, breathe deep the inimitable autumn air and enjoy time with family. In anticipation of the beauty provided by Mother Nature’s seasonal display, first-class passengers celebrate with private-labeled wines, chocolate brownies and an abundance of freshly-prepared appetizers. The harvest season bounty of on-board refreshments includes fan favorites such as prickly pear margaritas and scrumptious fruit smoothies, adding extra relish to the adventure.

The deep summer greens along this rare desert river transform, changing the canopy of cottonwood, sycamore, willow, mulberry and oak into a riot of color. Photographic opportunities abound at every curve of the tracks. The first glimpse of brilliant vegetation arrives from below, as the train meanders along the canyon rim, overlooking the River. As elevation increases, the railroad cuts deeper into the riparian ravine, bringing passengers eye to eye with swaying tree tops near the Monocline Fold.

Further along the journey the crescendo of color builds as red sandstone walls and pinnacles reach ever higher for the sapphire skies as the vibrant autumn foliage arches over the train’s path from the canyon floor. Warmed by the languor of the late afternoon sun, the Verde Canyon’s hues begin to take on a dramatic radiance perfect for photos and lifetime memories.

The peak of the fall colors in the Verde Canyon depends on temperature, sunlight, and rainfall amounts. Timing can vary each year and can never be predicted exactly, however, passengers can generally be assured of viewing brilliant colors October through Thanksgiving, with the colorful climax reaching its peak during early November. Reservations should be made early, as this is a very popular time.

Every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday in October Verde Canyon Railroad offers an added treat, Ales on Rails. It’s a festive party on the patio where guests enjoy the option of a variety of hearty beers from Southwestern craft breweries and an Oktoberfest-style luncheon. The party continues on the train, as the copper, bronze and golden hues of the autumn are complemented by the rich amber lagers served aboard the train.

Postcard-perfect scenery is only part of the magic of Verde Canyon Railroad. The train provides a comfortable, yet exciting journey through this color palette as it travels a leisurely four hours from the charming Clarkdale depot to the ghost ranch at Perkinsville and back. Awe-inspiring rock formations, historic trestles, ancient cliff dwellings and soaring raptors are just a few of the trip’s many highlights. First-class cars boast plush seating, complimentary appetizers and a full-service bar.

Coach offers vintage Pullman-style seating, panoramic windows and snack bars. Everyone has access to open-air viewing cars offering 360-degree views and spectacular photographic opportunities.

Just 25 minutes from scenic Sedona and 10 minutes from historic Jerome, Verde Canyon Railroad is located in the heart of Arizona’s Verde Valley, named one of Lonely Planet’s top 10 destinations.

Only two hours from Phoenix, Verde Canyon Railroad is the perfect Arizona day-trip, or if you plan to stay over, ask about our Room, Ride and Meal packages. Reservations are accepted at 800.293.7245 or online at VerdeCanyonRR.com.

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Arizona Governor Honors One of Verde Canyon Railroad's Own

Verde Canyon Railroad is pleased to announce a great honor awarded by the State of Arizona.  Train attendant, Fermin Estrada, a fan favorite on the train for more than a decade, has been honored with the Arizona Governor’s 2013 Spirit of Service tourism award in the Individual category. This well-deserved accolade was earned by Mr. Estrada for his many years of outstanding customer service. At the Arizona Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Tucson on July 11, Fermin was respected with a standing ovation as he was presented the Spirit of Service award.

Fermin Estrada was born in Jerome, Arizona, in 1942 and spent his early years in the historic town of Centerville which was later incorporated into Clarkdale. After graduating in 1960 from Jerome’s Mingus Union High School, Fermin worked for the Phoenix Cement Plant (now Salt River Materials) for 37 years. He has been married to Bea Alvarez, a member of the Verde Canyon pioneer Alvarez family, since 1966. Together they raised four sons and are grandparents to five.

After retiring from the cement plant in 2002, Fermin began working as a first-class attendant for Verde Canyon Railroad. He now hosts guests in the train’s luxury-class caboose. One on one, Fermin is a favorite of the passengers with his pleasant nature, gentle voice and dapper style. Whether he is serving a party of six in the exclusive caboose or waiting on a group of 34 in first-class, he projects the same charm, interest and commitment to enhancing each passenger’s experience in Arizona. His extensive knowledge of Verde Valley wildlife, riparian and desert plant species, railroad operations and regional history adds richly to every visitor’s train ride. Fermin is generous with his memories of life in Clarkdale, Jerome and time spent at the Alvarez Ranch. He considers the Verde Canyon to be his “back yard” due to the many years he spent working cattle, branding and delivering calves, shoeing horses and trail riding in Sycamore Canyon. Eras long past live on through his recollections shared with railroad passengers. His tales of the Canyon from the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, including stories of hippies, hermits and hardscrabble ranch life enhance the experience for everyone.

Fermin Estrada is regularly requested by repeat customers, frequently receives written compliments, and he is often mentioned by name in online reviews. He is called upon to be the face of Verde Canyon Railroad for interviews with writers, videographers and journalists from all over the world. Fermin Estrada is the epitome of what an ambassador for Arizona should be. With his welcoming charm, thoughtful service, well-dressed appearance, generous history and positive attitude, he paints a wonderful impression of our state, especially for those visiting Arizona for the first time.
Congratulations to our very own local hero, Fermin Estrada, for exemplifying the true Spirit of Service!

Rhythm on the Rails 4

Rhythm on the Rails

The American railroad is the stuff of legend and folklore, inspiring poems, novels, film and song. On Saturday, August 31, Verde Canyon Railroad’s Rhythm on the Rails serves passengers a special blend of trains and tunes with this onboard concert in the Canyon. The brilliant scenery serenaded by the clickety-clack of steel wheels along the rails is an American lullaby. This summer’s musical line-up will equal the thrills of the Canyon’s rare riparian wilderness for an audio-visual sensation hard to find elsewhere.

As the train covers a wide range of scenic highlights, seven musical acts cover a wide range of genres from jazz to blues, rock to country, spoken word to instrumental. The passenger cars each provide an intimate concert venue as the acts travel the length of the train, performing a set of songs in each coach.
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Popular Arizona musician Hans Olson brings his special brand of growling, highway blues and harmonica. Music in Motion showcases Sedona songstress Rosemary Chavez accompanied by Allan Ames and Bryan Sinclair. Storytellers from Jerome, Arizona, Ken and Lynn Mikell entertain passengers with a wide variety of musical instruments, illuminating the music and poetry that followed the western trails. Devon Bridgewater’s Nuance Jazz Trio, a fan favorite, returns with their bold, brassy horns and big band jazz. The Senators, a budding young band from Phoenix, share foot-stomping energy and banjo-swinging enthusiasm with their signature blend of vintage and modern Americana. As Duo Vibrato, Joshua and Miray Rhodes make a stunning ensemble, captivating the audience with their Mediterranean mix of gypsy jazz and classical chamber music. Neil Bunker and Rhonda Hitchcock are Penny Ante, a Phoenix duo that entertains with many of their own originals, as well as cover-songs ranging from the Beatles to Taylor Swift.

Rhythm on the Rails 2

Bands will arrive early to sign autographs and pose for photos at the depot prior to the train’s 1p.m. departure. Passengers may opt for first-class or coach accommodations for this special four-hour concert. First-class, $125 per person, features comfortable living room-style seating with overstuffed chairs and loveseats, service at your seat, hot and cold appetizers, a Champagne toast upon departure and full bar service. Coach pricing is $75 per person with classic Pullman-style seating.

Both classes are climate-controlled and access open-air viewing cars.Why are there so many songs written about trains? Because music and railroads both keep a steady beat. Fads and fashions may change from year to year but true classics never go out of style. Become part of the musical history of railroading and experience Rhythm on the Rails.

Only two hours from Phoenix and 25 minutes from Sedona, Verde Canyon Railroad is the perfect Arizona day-trip, or if you plan to stay over, ask about our Room, Ride and Meal packages. Trains depart at 1 p.m. daily. Reservations are accepted at 800-293-7245 or online at rezweb.com/verde
Top 5: Best Places to Take Kids - EAZ Fall-Winter 2012

Top 5: Best Places to Take Kids (Fall-Winter 2012)

The Top 5 Best Places to Take Kids — as voted on by Experience AZ readers:

Arizona Science Center

600 E. Washington St.,
Phoenix, AZ 85004
(602) 716-2000
azscience.org
Hands-on, eye-opening fun with more than 300 interactive exhibits, Dorrance planetarium, giant-screen theater, daily live demonstrations, traveling exhibitions and much more.


Children’s Museum of Phoenix

215 N. 7th St.,
Phoenix, AZ 85034
(602) 253-0501
childrensmuseumofphoenix.org
With hands-on, interactive exhibits designed for children from infants to age 10, the focus is on learning through play, with emphasis on early childhood education and school-readiness.


Verde Canyon Railroad

300 N. Broadway,
Clarkdale, AZ 86324
(800) 582-7245
verdecanyonrr.com
Acclaimed as Arizona’s longest-running nature show, this four-hour scenic ride takes you through a piece of “natural Arizona,” featuring spectacular views that are breathtaking and invigorating to the senses.


Schnepf Farms

24810 S. Rittenhouse Rd.,
Queen Creek, AZ 85242
(480) 987-3100
schnepffarms.com
It is in Schnepf’s mission statement to educate the public about Arizona agriculture. The most important aspect of the educational field trips is the fact that children are learning about where their food comes from and they are visiting a true family farm. Open October through May.


Sea Life Arizona

5000 S. Arizona Mills Circle, #145,
Tempe, AZ 85282
(480) 478-7600
visitsealife.com
Located in Arizona Mills, Sea Life is an aquarium built for kids that transports visitors into an amazing ocean world that provides close encounters with a vast array of creatures.

Experience AZ Fall-Winter 2012

 

Verde Canyon Railroad, Photo: Cooper Rummell

Aboard The Verde Canyon Railroad

Red sandstone walls enveloped the train as it moved deeper into the canyon. Vibrant green Willow and Sycamore Trees mixed with a blend of various Arizona wildflowers and cacti covered the cliffs. An eagle perched atop a protruding rock formation. The sound of the roaring engine echoed through the ravine. I, along with my friend Lance, leaned against the railing, embraced the fresh, brisk air and surveyed the tracks ahead as we traveled further along the Verde Canyon Railroad.

Only a few hours had passed since Lance and I had arrived at the train depot in Clarkdale; yet, it felt as though the world around me had transformed.

At our arrival to the depot, we were welcomed aboard the Phoenix car with a friendly smile from our tour guide, Ralph. As we entered the car, our energetic server and assistant tour guide Kenna showed us to our seats.

As I surveyed the car, I felt as though I had taken a step back in time. The vintage feel of the luxury train car reminded me of how it must have felt to travel by rail across the Southwest in the early 1900s.

Built in 1912, the Verde Canyon Railroad was once part of the famed Santa Fe Railway. Our four-hour journey would consist of a 20-mile trip down the 100-year-old rail line to the small, abandoned town of Perkinsville and then back the line to Clarkdale. Every guest had access to both an indoor and outdoor car, allowing an opportunity to relax and dine as well as enjoy an uninhibited perspective of the canyon from the open outdoor car. As Ralph mentioned several times, the benefit to remaining on the same line for the return trip is, “If you miss something on the way out, you can always catch it on the way back.”

Verde Canyon Railroad, Photo: Cooper RummellBefore embarking, Kenna led our car in a toast of complimentary champagne and cider as she welcomed everyone to the Verde Canyon Railroad family. Soon, we were on our way and heading deep into the gorge. After we enjoyed the included hors d’oeuvres, Lance and I made our way to the outdoor car.

Sights of an old, Native American temple, nestled deep in a canyon cave sparked my curiosity about the history of the rail line. Lance and I approached Ralph with many questions about the canyon. Ralph smiled as he passionately answered the questions about the history and nature of the Verde Canyon Railroad.

The train followed along the path of an old telegram line. Realizing I had lost all phone service in the canyon, I was again reminded of what it may have been like to travel on this historic line in its heyday a century ago.

Soon, we began our journey back to station. The setting sun played off of the deep reds and oranges of the canyon walls. I stood awestruck as I surveyed the passing scenery. I was overcome with a sense of nostalgia as Ralph announced we would soon arrive back at the Clarkdale station.

Cooper and Lance aboard the Verde Canyon Railroad, Photo: Cooper RummellThe Verde Canyon Railroad was much more than a scenic train ride. It was an opportunity to temporarily evade the hectic lifestyle of the 21st century. It was an opportunity to travel back in time and experience a unique form of travel, indicative of the culture of the early 1900s. It was an opportunity to enjoy unaltered nature. It was a reprieve, a chance to breathe. For me, riding the Verde Canyon Railroad was an opportunity to escape.

The sun disappeared behind the canyon walls as the train pulled into the depot, and at that, Lance and I departed. I left assured, however, that the Verde Canyon Railroad would await my next return, ready to transport me out of the stresses of life and into repose.

For more information about the Verde Canyon Railroad, visit verdecanyonrr.com.

Top 5 Best Places to take the Kids (Spring-Summer 2012)

Top 5: Best Places To Take The Kids (Spring-Summer 2012)

The Top 5 Best Places to take the Kids — as voted on by Experience AZ readers:

Arizona Science Center

600 E. Washington St.,
Phoenix, AZ 85004
602-716-2000
azscience.org
Hands-on, eye-opening fun with more than 300 interactive exhibits, Dorrance planetarium, giant-screen theater, daily live demonstrations, traveling exhibitions and much more.


Children’s Museum Of Phoenix

215 N. 7th St.,
Phoenix, AZ 85034
602-253-0501
childrensmuseumofphoenix.org
With hands-on, interactive exhibits designed for children from infants to age 10, the focus is on learning through play, with emphasis on early childhood education and school-readiness.


Sea Life Arizona

5000 S. Arizona Mills Circle, #145, Tempe, AZ 85282
480-478-7600
visitsealife.com
Located in Arizona Mills, Sea Life is an aquarium built for kids that transports visitors into an amazing ocean world that provides close encounters with a vast array of creatures.


Schnepf Farms

24810 S. Rittenhouse Rd., Queen Creek,  AZ 85242
480-987-3100
schnepffarms.com
It is in Schnepf’s mission statement to educate the public about Arizona agriculture. The most important aspect of the educational field trips is the fact that children are learning about where their food comes from and they are visiting a true family farm. Open October through May.


Verde Canyon Railroad

300 N. Broadway,
Clarkdale, AZ 86324
800-582-7245
verdecanyonrr.com
Acclaimed as Arizona’s longest-running nature show, this four-hour scenic ride takes you through a piece of “natural Arizona,” featuring spectacular views that are breathtaking and invigorating to the senses.

Experience AZ Spring-Summer 2012

Verde Canyon Railroad, Photo: Flickr, Jenny Lee Silver

Chug Along The Verde Canyon Railroad

All aboard! The tracks are calling for an unforgettable railroad adventure on the Verde Canyon Railroad. Travel by locomotive on this four-hour journey, witnessing the exotic and tranquil landscape as you pass the mountains along the Verde River.

From Clarkdale, Ariz., the train follows the Verde River to Perkinsville (a ghost town). The journey chugs along on the same route both ways, departing at 1 p.m. daily except on Tuesdays — so be sure to get there at 12 p.m., sharp!

Providing its guests with a four-hour, round-trip adventure, the train can accommodate more than 400 passengers who can opt for either first class or coach. Choose first class, and you’ll have access to full bar service as well as complimentary appetizers. When boarding, champagne or sparkling cider toast is offered, too.

Discounts available are for members of AAA, AARP, Employee Network, military (retired and active), and the ESM for a 10 percent discount. But, you must call to make your reservation for the discount because they are not available online.

Verde Canyon Railroad offers packages to make its guests’ experience both memorable and affordable. Hotel packages are listed in alphabetical order for your convenience online.



For more information about how to chug along the tracks aboard the Verde Canyon Railroad, please visit verdecanyonrr.com.

Verde Canyon Railroad
300 N. Broadway
Clarkdale, AZ 86324
(8000) 582-7245
verdecanyonrr.com