Verde Canyon Train Ride
I love trains and have become quite an aficionado. Well, actually, let me revise that. I love riding trains. Definitely am not one of those who can look at a train and tell you the kind of train it is, where it was how the engine works and whether or not it is a great train or just an ordinary one. We all know folks like that. Not me. I have neither the desire or the patience to learn all that at this time maybe in the future. But I love riding them
Recently we went to Cottonwood, AZ and caught the Verde Canyon Train. For some reason when I looked up Cottonwood on Google Maps, to see where it was, the little dot that said Cottonwood gave me the impression it was a little town. You know like 300 people, all related. Well although a small town there are 11,000 + people living there. I mean they even got a Denny’s. Anyway, we went there for the sole purpose of taking the train. The hubby surprised me with the tickets when we were planning our recent vacation. He told me that a friend suggested we take that ride. I am so glad we did.
The Verde Canyon Railroad was opened as part of a north–south branch line linking smelter at Clarkdale and the copper mines at Jerome to the Santa Fe Railway. The Santa Fe Railway owned and operated the 38- branch line from 1912 to 1988. When the copper mine played out the smelter closed down, a private party bought it in 1988. In 1990, it resumed service as a passenger train.
The train ride was 4 hours long. We had first class tickets so we had lovely seats . They were cushion, almost like easy chairs. There was a small very nice buffet. It had veggies and dip, some sandwiches, the most amazing brownies, and I believe there were some other things like olives and such. It was good. To top it all off there was a full bar aboard our train as well. The water was free the alcohol was not and some people were getting fairly tipsy.
Just outside of our car, and between all the cars, were observation cars. They were covered open-air trains that made for great picture taking. They were also good for, as I found out, waking up. The swaying of the train was quite hypnotic to me and I could have easily fell asleep Very relaxing, but as I found out there are other people completely miserable on trains. I am not one of them.
The train runs from Clarkdale to Perkinsville and back. It follows the Verde River and we went over several bridges, trestles and went through a 680-foot long tunnel. Most of the land we went through belongs to the Prescott National Forest and the Coconino National forest. To me the scenery was amazing. I happen to like that high desert scenery. Saw many flowers, lots of cactus (on a side note, I have decided that one cannot just walk across the desert in Arizona with all the cactus. One would be step, step, OW , OW,OW,step, step OW.)
Did not see much wildlife although there are nesting Bald Eagles in the area, but as the guide said, one cannot make those birds perform and show up on time. I did see some ground squirrels but really, that was about it. I think for me the ride was mostly about the scenery the, ruins of the Sinagua Indian tribes and the sheer relaxation of riding a train