SOURCE: Verde Canyon Railroad

Verde Canyon Railroad

June 20, 2012 14:59 ET

Get Back to Nature and Find a Little Summer Adventure Aboard Verde Canyon Railroad

CLARKDALE, AZ--(Marketwire - Jun 20, 2012) - Another long Arizona summer is upon us, and most of the inhabitants of metro-Phoenix will spend their days indoors, closed off in air-conditioned offices, homes and automobiles. A city dweller gridlocked in the concrete jungle may not realize that there's a whole different reason for the season taking place outside of the city.

A true summertime escape is just up the road in Clarkdale, Arizona. Stress melts away with each mile traveled on the gently swaying train. Summer is a beautiful time in Verde Canyon because it can be viewed either from a comfortable indoor, climate-controlled car, or from under the shaded canopies on the outdoor cars. It is two seats for the price of one, and the wondrous high desert views are equally spectacular. Winding its way at a leisurely 12 mph, the train passes over lofty trestles and through a 680-foot manmade tunnel as a narrator weaves the area's fascinating history, archeology and geology into the journey.

Special Saturday Starlight Tours are a cool alternative. Outbound at 5:30 p.m., the Canyon is in full daylight. On the return journey shadows lengthen adding drama to the landscape. As the sun sets, the stars shine so closely, passengers reach for them. The headlight bouncing off the Canyon walls brings a touch of nostalgia and romance to the rails.

Each Starlight Tour has a number cars designated for special events on the same evenings. The Grape Train Escape (wine-tasting) includes regionally-themed fine wines accompanied by finger foods chosen to complement tastings. Tequila Sunset Limited is a rolling fiesta which includes tequilas of Arizona and a Southwestern appetizer buffet.

As the summer season winds down in Verde Canyon, Grandparent's Day is the ideal time for a railroad excursion through this extraordinary wilderness. Celebrated on Sunday, September 9, essay-winning kids from all over Arizona receive first-class rides for them and their favorite elders. The overriding theme for this year's essays is "Spending Time with Grandpa and Grandma." The entire family will enjoy a fun multi-generational day together. A visit to the John Bell Museum set in a 1940's boxcar near the depot, where rare FP7 engine photos and artifacts from mining and railroad history are displayed, rounds out a superb railroad experience.

Only two hours from Phoenix and 25 minutes from Sedona, Verde Canyon Railroad is the perfect Arizona day-trip, or if you plan to stay over, ask about our Room, Ride and Meal packages. Other than Saturday Starlight Tours, available June 30, July 7 & 28, August 4 & 18 and September 1st, trains depart at 1 p.m. and return at 5 p.m.. Reservations are recommended at 800.293.7245 or online at

It's not the destination, it's the journey

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