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Verde Canyon Railroad Events

Chocolate Lovers’ Festival- February 13, 14, 15

The romance of the rails will captivate your senses during Verde Canyon Railroad’s Chocolate Lovers’ Festival celebrated over Valentine’s Day Weekend. On February 13, 14 and 15, 2015, rich chocolate blends with the Verde Canyon’s majestic wilderness. The confectionary celebration will fill your first-class car with the intoxicating scents and flavors of chocolate via tasty pastries, cakes and luscious hand-dipped delicacies. Many ingredients partner well with chocolate but the best embellishment is the clickety-clack of railroad wheels on the track.

In addition to the Chocolate Lovers’ Festival there is available seating in first-class and standard coach.


Easter Bunny Express- April 5

A favorite symbol of springtime, the friendly Easter Bunny hops, skips and jumps along the blooming roses at the Verde Canyon Railroad depot on Easter Sunday, April 5th, sharing pastel-colored candies and photo ops with all guests. The famous “jelly bean counting contest” prior to departure will award one calculating child an entire jar of Easter treats for the train ride.


National Train Day-May 9

On Saturday, May 9, Verde Canyon Railroad celebrates the important history of American railroads with an entertaining and educational celebration at their Clarkdale depot. This free event, taking place from10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., is open to all and will include exhibits and activities from local attractions and organizations as well as guided tours of our historic train and John Bell Museum. A delicious BBQ ribs and chicken luncheon will be available for purchase.


Summer Starlight- May 30, June 27, July 25, August 29 and September 12

Departing during the cooler temperatures of late afternoon and traveling through sunset, twilight and starlight, the Verde Canyon Railroad’s popular Summer Starlight ride operates on select Saturday evenings May through September. Departing at 5:30 p.m. and returning at 9:30 p.m., the Starlight Ride serves up a wide ranging mix of light, color and shadow as the Canyon transforms into a moonlit dreamscape.

In addition to first-class and standard coach seating, the Starlight schedule also features two special event options: the Grape Train Escape and the Tequila Sunset Limited.


Grape Train Escape - May 30, June 27, July 25, August 29 and September 12

A scenic sunset journey, perfect for the leisurely sipping a variety of specially-chosen vintages, awaits you aboard the Grape Train Escape. Once a month on select summer Saturday evenings May through September, Verde Canyon Railroad highlights a different wine-growing region from across the globe, including Italy, Australia and New Zealand, South America, Washington State and California featuring our very own private label varietals. A tasting flight of five wines includes special accompanying hors d’oeuvres to complement each selection.


Tequila Sunset Limited - May 30, June 27, July 25, August 29 and September 12

The Tequila Sunset Limited celebrates the wide-ranging popularity of this beloved Mexican spirit. A selection of three exceptionally smooth and complex flavors from Tequila Don Julio will prove that the agave-distilled liquor is well-suited to any snifter. This tequila tasting event, paired with Mexican appetizers, makes an excellent accompaniment to the fantastic summer sunset scenery.


Firecracker Express- July 4

Make a day of it and celebrate the Fourth of July small-town Arizona style.  Enjoy the town’s famous holiday parade down Main Street in the morning before heading over to the red, white and blue festooned Verde Canyon Railroad depot for an All-American barbecue luncheon on the shaded patio prior to the train’s 1:00 p.m. departure. Grilled burgers and hot dogs, baked beans, special recipe potato salad, cupcakes and ice-cold lemonade are served to the tune of rousing patriotic anthems.         


Ales on Rails- Every Thursdays through Sunday in October

Ales on Rails kick starts the hearty harvest season with the robust colors and flavors of autumn. The celebration begins at 11:00 a.m. on the depot patio every Thursday through Sunday in October. A beer garden serves a variety of regional craft beers as well as traditional European ales, by the taste or by the glass, and a mouthwatering luncheon of German sausages, sauerkraut, potato salad, pretzels and strudel, all served to the rhythmic tunes of polka-inspired ditties. The 1:00 p.m. train whistle signals the continuation of the party as it moves onto the rails with specialty beers available onboard, including Verde Canyon Railroad’s own private-labeled brews, crafted in Sedona by the renowned Oak Creek Brewery.


Fall Color Tours- October and November

Verde Canyon Railroad’s rare river landscape makes up just two percent of the state’s geography. For this reason, very few locations in Arizona offer such a bounty of fall color. The vivid foliage combined with the vibrant geology delights train passengers with the saturated hues of autumn. From the middle of October through the end of November, canopies of butter-colored cottonwoods and willows, bronze sycamores, coppery oaks and scarlet ivies festoon the Verde River with a bright autumn burnish.


Eagle Watch- December thru March

Soaring over their winter habitat along Arizona’s perennial streams and rivers, Bald Eagles inspire all with their majestic appearance and graceful acrobatics. During Eagle Watch season December through March, an abundance of high-flying activity may be seen from Verde Canyon Railroad as the raptors jockey for position, mates and nesting locations. Catch a glimpse of our national symbol in its natural environment.      

Liberty Wildlife Educational Opportunities

By partnering with Liberty Wildlife, Verde Canyon Railroad provides visitors the opportunity to see wild raptors at the depot and onboard the train.



Raptors at the Depot

From 11:00 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. raptor handlers will answer questions and pose for photos with raptors during educational presentations on the patio.


January 14

February 19

March 19

April 11

May 9 (National Train Day)

June 18

July 16

August 20

September 17

October 14

November 19

December 16

Note: these presentations are subject to cancellation dependent on weather conditions

Raptors on the Train

See a majestic bald eagle spread her wings onboard this wilderness train ride.

January 3

February 7

March 7

April 4

May 9 (National Train Day)

June 6

July 1

August 1

September 5

October 3

November 7

December 5

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