The Verde Valley has a Lot to Offer
Autumn is family time in the Verde Valley. Out of town guests are impressed with real Arizona experiences. Mom and dad, grandmas and grandpas, aunts, uncles, and children of all ages, delight in exciting attractions such as Verde Canyon Railroad, Out of Africa Wildlife Park and Blazin’ M Ranch Chuckwagon Dinner show. Intriguing museums, galleries, pre-Columbian Sinagua ruins, an abundance of national monuments, state parks and historical highlights fill the scenic valley.
The Verde River winds its way through the Verde Valley and is home to catfish, bass and trout. Magnificent views of Sedona’s red rock country and the forests and canyons of Mingus Mountain await the hiker. Challenging trails and natural beauty stretch across the valley as do wine tasting rooms, fun dining options and a wide range of overnight accommodations.
Fans of golden foliage come from near and far to participate in Verde Canyon Railroad’s Fall Color Tours during October and November. A striking mosaic of scarlet, amber, crimson and gold, brilliant blue sky, red canyon cliff faces and a cool green river provide limitless photo opportunities at every turn. Berries ripen and autumn hues tint the already vibrant landscape as the branches blaze brilliantly along the Verde River near Sedona. Arizona’s verdant summer season winds to a close as the days shorten and a welcome chill grows in the evening air.
On heritage rails built in 1912, Verde Canyon Railroad has operated as a scenic wilderness excursion since 1990 and celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2015. The train’s vintage FP7 locomotives are both proudly outfitted with bald eagle motifs; the national bird’s visage leads the passenger cars through the winding, wild canyon. Comfortable first-class accommodations lavish passengers in a relaxed living-room setting, including an abundant selection of appetizers and attentive beverage service right to the comfy seats. Coach-class is redolent of vintage-style passenger-car charm with a well-stocked snack bar. Both classes have easy and direct access to open-air viewing cars, a favorite aspect to this rail journey, which immerse passengers into the sights, sounds and scents of this remote western canyon.
Verde Canyon Railroad is just a stone’s throw from the hillside mining town of Jerome, nicknamed “The City in the Sky.” Jerome was at one time the most talked about mining camp in America. The entire town is listed on the National Historic Register. Its population went from 15,000 in its heyday to a “ghost town” of under 50 people after the mines closed in the mid-1950s. Perched mile high atop Cleopatra Hill, below the 7,800 foot summit of Mingus Mountain, the fabled town twinkles during the evening hours as it surveys the entire Verde Valley below.
This diverse destination is about an hour drive north of Phoenix and encompasses a cluster of unique communities including Jerome, Clarkdale, Perkinsville, Camp Verde, Cottonwood, Village of Oak Creek, and Sedona. All nicely blend together in an open valley of north central Arizona known as The Verde Valley.