There is nothing like a scenic train ride to relax you and take you into territory you might not experience in any other way. Some people who seek out these train excursions are long-time train hobbyists and some just want to sit back and let someone else do the driving.
There are many scenic and historic train excursions in the southwestern United States. Here are some great train rides you can take in Arizona.
Grand Canyon Railway
Based in Williams, Arizona, which is worth a visit in itself, is the Grand Canyon Railway. The Grand Canyon Railway has a hotel and restaurant in Williams and many visitors opt for a package deal staying overnight, riding the train to the Grand Canyon for a day or longer and then returning to stay and dine in Williams.
The train runs 65 miles from Williams to the Grand Canyon which takes approximately 2 hours 15 minutes one-way. Along the way, you will be entertained by cowboy minstrels and, if you are unlucky, will encounter train robbers on horseback.
The Grand Canyon Railway is known for their holiday Polar Express childrens excursion trains.
With the addition of a steam locomotive, look for some shorter steam runs where you can experience the excitement of a steam excursion.
Engines: Steam locomotive (select dates), Diesel locomotives.
Verde Canyon Railroad
Enjoy the Verde Valley Wine Country and incorporate a train trip on the Verde Canyon Railway into your vacation.
The Verde Canyon Railroad is a laid back excursion unning from Clarkdale to Perkinsville and return. You’ll see deep canyons and cliffside Native American dwellings. Often you’ll encounter an eagle or an eagle’s nest on the way. In the Fall, enjoy the turning of the leaves along the Verde River. The railroad has many special events throughout the seasons.
Engines: FP7 locomotives, two of only 12 remaining in North America.
Copper Spike Train Excursion
In Globe, Arizona, you’ll find a 50’s style ride and service with a retro appeal. Experience the Luncheon and Dinner service in a luxury dome or the club car. Arizona Eastern Railway’s newest passenger train service, running roundtrips and one-ways from historic Broad Street in Globe, Arizona.
Named for the copper mining region served by the railway, the Copper Spike departs Thursdays through Sundays from the original two-story depot built in 1916 and travels to the Apache Gold Casino Resort . The 2 hour round-trip excursion takes you on the same route that once brought travelers to the “Land of the Apache,” nearly 100 years ago as they traveled from New Orleans to Los Angeles.
Photo Credit: Elizabeth R. Rose and Copper Spike Railway