Cooler fall temperatures and an abundance of fall color are celebrated at Verde Canyon Railroad depot in Clarkdale, Ariz. Verde Canyon is one of the places in Arizona that best demonstrates autumn’s impact. The historic railroad celebrates the prime season with Ales on Rails — a party on the patio every Saturday and Sunday in October before boarding. Area microbrews and specialty beers reflect the canyon colors while a band plays traditional oom-pa-pa music to get polka toes a-tapping. Traditional Oktoberfest food is served hot and fresh at the depot, before passengers board. Complimentary hors d’oeuvres featuring seasonal flavors are served aboard the first-class cars.
October ends with the spooky Haunted Halloween Express. Passengers are encouraged to dress up and win prizes. You may see the Wicked Witch of the West handing out train tickets, a mad scientist serving soda and snacks or the Bride of Frankenstein sunlighting as a tourguide.
Designated as an Arizona treasure by Gov. Janet Napolitano, the historic Verde Canyon Railroad line is nestled between two national forests and adjacent to a designated wilderness area. This geological wonderland features rugged, high-desert rock faces and spectacular panoramic views. A distinctive confluence of desert and wetland, the Verde Canyon is populated by a variety of wildlife, which thrives among the indigenous trees, shrubs, cactuses and wildflowers.
To see nature’s geologic artistry and the Verde Canyon ecosystem firsthand, call (800) 293-7245, or visit the railroad’s Web site at www.verdecanyonrr.com.
Following the train ride, many passengers mosey down the road to nearby Cottonwood for a chuckwagon supper and Western stage show at Blazin’ M Ranch. The gates open at 5 p.m. on the ranch’s shops, galleries, and old-time fun.
Happily situated below the cold of the mountains, and above the heat of the desert, these attractions are 25 minutes from Sedona, two hours north of Phoenix, and about 90 minutes south of Flagstaff.