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.
Information courtesy Verde Canyon Railroad