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Verde Canyon Railroad, AZ

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Guide 12 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Sedona > Cottonwood NE
3.8 of 5 by 6
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 40.05 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,460 feet
Elevation Gain 394 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,449 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4 Hours
Kokopelli Seeds 47.3
Interest Ruins, Historic & Perennial Creek
Dogs not allowed
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
13  2014-01-25 trekkin_gecko
22  2012-10-06 The_Eagle
11  2012-05-27 John9L
29  2011-10-29 rwstorm
25  2011-08-21 TheNaviG8R
20  2010-10-03 paulhubbard
13  2009-10-31 trailzrus
21  2009-05-07 Randal_Schulhaus
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Mar, Nov, Feb, Jan
Sun  6:12am - 6:32pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby

Overview: The railroads of north central Arizona were all built to support Arizona's richest copper mine, located in Jerome. The first rail line, the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad, was completed in 1882, connecting Jerome to Ashfork.

The Verde Canyon Railroad (formerly the Verde Valley Railroad, operated by the Santa Fe, Prescott and Phoenix Railroad), was financed by Senator William A. Clark for a hefty $1.3 million. A miracle of engineering, the 38-mile line was built in just one year, from 1911 to 1912. It took 250 men using 200 mules, picks and shovels and lots of Dupont black powder explosives to lay these rails. Today, the same railroad would cost in excess of $38 million.

The smelter, which initiated the construction of the town of Clarkdale, named after Senator Clark, was located just below the Jerome mines. Used until 1952, the smelter had its final 400-foot high stack blown in 1962, signaling the end of an era and an industry on which a community had been built and prospered.

Passenger service resumed in November 1990. A 4 hour ride on Verde Canyon Railroad's historic route from Clarkdale to Perkinsville and back, features native flora and fauna, ancient Indian ruins, red rock pinnacles and a 680-ft. man-made tunnel. Trains depart year-round. Call 1-800-293-7245 for more information.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2018-07-14 HAZ_Hikebot
  • Sedona Trails 2018
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WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent Triplog Reviews
Verde Canyon Railroad
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parents are in town, and i've been wanting to do this
got coach tickets, and was going to upgrade but no first class tickets were available
all for the best, as we spent most of our time in the open air car
relatively warm winter weather made it nice to be outside
the train runs from clarkdale to perkinsville, then they swap the engines around and return
beautiful along the verde river canyon, even in winter
narration on the way out was interesting and not too much
old time train songs were entertaining
we even saw a bald eagle near the river on the return :)
my family enjoyed it, and i would do it again in a different season
had dinner at the tavern grille in cottonwood afterwards
good food and a cool building
Verde Canyon Railroad
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I took the Grand Canyon train from Williams last year to the Canyon. On that one, the ride to the canyon had boring scenery. The payoff was getting to the canyon and hiking for a couple of hours.

This trip, I sprung for the First Class cabin, and spent almost the entire trip on the open Air Car, not taking advantage of the First Class amenities. The scenery was spectacular almost the entire trip along the Verde River and Canyon. Unless the weather is inclement or you need the Bar Car, don't waste your money. The far end turnaround of this trip, Perkinsville, was a lot smaller than I expected.

We saw two wild Bald Eagles, and Sonora, the Rescue Bald Eagle from Scottsdale.

A short Video
Verde Canyon Railroad
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Cheryl and I headed down to Clarkdale to ride the Verde Canyon Railroad. This was a nice getaway through a spectacular canyon! We took a bunch of pics and really enjoyed sitting on the open air car. It was perfect weather with a nice breeze. Along the ride we saw a pair of Bald Eagles, an Osprey and some Mule Deer.

This is a great experience when you want to view a remote canyon without the effort. This is great for friends and family who come to visit. I highly recommend the ride!
Verde Canyon Railroad
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Finally, we get to spend some holiday time as a family (except my dad). Usually my younger brother and his wife and MY young niece get out of Dodge for the holidays. Well this time I fixed them. I said, "Where are you going? We'll come join you for a couple days :D ." I was tired of not being able to enjoy my now 6 year old niece having Xmas morning without us. So he agreed. The original plan was Sunrise but fortunately that didn't work out and they instead parked the RV at Prescott Valley Fairgrounds.

One of the events for the family holiday would be the Santa Claus Express :y:. Now we're talking. So my mom, brother and me drove up to Clarkdale and met them at the train station. It's a quick and easy drive and I had never driven through Cottonwood before so I enjoyed that.

The train ride was wonderful as we were fortunate to have a sunny day with limited off and on clouds. My other brother and I stayed outside for the entire ride to Perkinsville. It's a very scenic ride especially as we get closer to the canyon and river. The one nice thing with the naked trees is you get to see the river :) more often.

The Interpretive person who was in our car as well as the train's recording pointed out some of the highlights along the way including the ruins both old and more contemporary as well as the various rock formations (Johnr1 would have liked that and I'm sure he would have added some of his own :lol: ).

Once Santa and Mrs. Claus got to our car, my niece and brother came out so she could say hello to Santa. She is normally pretty shy; especially around a lot of people but this time we lucked out and with her dad's gentle lift on to Santa's lap, we got a couple cute pics (however, I'm not too sure about the look on Santa's face - seemed somewhat menacing to me 8-[ ).

Later in the canyon we got to watch an eagle sore above. Fortunately, I was able to zoom in and get a couple pics. We didn't quite realize it was an eagle until later when we were flipping through the pics on the camera's LCD.

My brother and niece both stayed out with us for about another 1/2 hour before going back inside so that was great fun. Now going thru that screeching tunnel was just like Disneyland (the kids all screaming as the train's recording asked :oplz: ) so I'm glad it wasn't a long tunnel. The story about the curved tunnel is quite interesting too. At Perkinsville, they switch the engines to the other side to take you back to Clarkdale and while they're doing this, they offer up icecream sandwiches. My brother and I had one of those and chased it with a pretty decent tasting Verde Canyon RR-labeled ale beer.

On the way back, we all stayed outside for the first few miles and then it started to get nippy so we went inside where it was nice and toasty. Unfortunately though, after being out of the canyon for a couple miles, we missed :( the 3 eagles that flew by. It was great fun to watch the eagles as the sun was shining perfectly on them.

We arrived back in Clarkdale safe and sound. Clarkdale is named after a senator from the state of Montana (also one of the 3 Copper Kings) and of course, we're from Montana. His daughter, the reclusive and very wealthy heiress Huguette Marcelle was just in the news as she passed away in May 2011 at the age of 104). We are always surprised how many Montanans came to Arizona, then and now.

Part 1 of our journey -
Part 2 of our journey -
Part 3 of our journey -
Verde Canyon Railroad
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With Hannah's graduation ceremony from Northern Arizona University on Friday May 8th and my parents visiting from Canada for the event, we decided to check out the Verde Canyon Railroad on our way to Flagstaff.

Arriving in Clarkdale about an hour before our 1pm departure, we had time to chow down some buffalo burgers. Soon enough boarding began and we were placed in living room seating in appropriately enough, the Flagstaff 1st Class Pullman. Champagne and a buffet spread added to the ambience as the vintage FP7 diesel engines gently pulled the passenger cars out of Clarkdale.

We passed some ghost town history looking at the remnants of the smelting operations and the massive slag heap. The Tapco Powerplant remains that supplied the electricity to the smelting operations could be seen beyond the slag heap.

In contrast to the modern day ruins, we soon passed multiple prehistoric Sinaguan ruins consisting of cliff dwellings and granaries.

Crossed S.O.B. Canyon trestle with a gentle curve offering one of the first views of the train from start to finish as is arced along the route. We soon crossed a flat mesa area with various scrub bushes and prickly pear cacti.

Eventually we track along the Verde River as the canyon walls begin to box up. We pass a couple of groups of backpackers following the cowpaths along the Verde River. This gives me a thought that a canoe/kayak trek down this section of the Verde could be in order...

We enter the relatively short tunnel where the canyon walls have literally become shear cliffs. Soon we cross the Verde River on an old steel box truss bridge as we enter the private Perkins Ranch lands. The sign indicates "Perkinsville" and the train enters a siding to allow the engines to switch ends to allow the turnaround to be completed.

We retrace our route with the advancing afternoon shadows creating different effects on the canyon walls. As 5pm approaches, we roll back into the Clarkdale station where we disembark and continue our travel to Flagstaff via Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon.

Friday marks Hannah's graduation ceremony at NAU where she's presented with her Honors Biochemistry Degree - congrats Hannah!

Permit $$
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Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

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page created by Randal_Schulhauser on May 09 2009 4:26 pm
$17 3L Hydration Bladder
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