Verde Canyon Railroad is renowned for its Grape Train Escape wine-tasting Saturday night Starlight rides, a popular summer event now in its 20th year. New for 2022, the love for wines arrives even sooner, spilling onto the entire month of May, with Verde Canyon Railroad’s inaugural Uncorked wine-tasting event at the depot daily, May 3-26, Featuring a daily line-up of wines from around the world, as well as vintages raised right here in Arizona, the tasting takes place on the shaded patio 11:00 a.m. -12:45 p.m., prior to the 1:00 p.m. train departure. Uncorked tasting tickets and souvenir tumbler may be preordered when booking train tickets.
Spring into Summer with lush riparian views, towering yucca and ocotillo in bloom. The wide variety of colors painting the skies and the soaring cliffsides make the Sedona area an ideal escape from the everyday. Early blooms cascade down the high desert hillsides, building to a crescendo of color lasting throughout the spring and summer. Keen-eyed train passengers may spot baby eaglets, deer, javelina and other wild creatures learning the ways of their parents along “Arizona’s Longest-Running Nature Show.”
Arizona summers are a sleepy season, under swaying Cottonwood canopies of green and the sounds of birds and bees a buzz amongst the wildflowers and river breezes. The high desert surrounding Sedona and the Verde Valley runs cooler than metro-Phoenix, making for a perfect getaway from summer in the city. Verde Canyon Railroad offers something for everyone this season, at once leisurely and adventurous, luxurious and wild, for both early birds and night owls alike.
Once summer is in full swing, the train offers the classic Grape Train Escape wine-tasting events on board, a special optional upgrade on the Saturday Night Starlight schedule. Each Grape Train Escape will highlight a different wine region, ranging from France to Italy, Chile, Argentina, and Arizona. Along with scrumptious appetizers five wines will be served as tastings. Rolling out of Clarkdale at 5:30 p.m., these beloved summer evening excursions travel the Verde Canyon by daylight and the rich golden colors of sunset, returning through twilight under skies full of stars. Moonlight rides, scheduled closest to the full moon, take place on select Friday nights May through September. A counterpart to the summer evening trains is a morning ride, departing at 9:30 a.m. and traveling the canyon during the day’s dewy early hours. Morning trips include breakfast-style appetizers and offer a chance to toast with a mimosa or Bloody Mary while wild Arizona scenery streams past.
Since 1990 Verde Canyon Railroad has carried nearly 3 million passengers through a wild and scenic canyon, on its historic route completed in 1912. The breathtaking journey fills all senses (and every camera) all while leaving no trace. A stone’s throw from the hillside mining town of Jerome, Verde Canyon Railroad’s Clarkdale depot is in the heart of the Verde Valley, a diverse crossroads featuring amazing adventures in every direction. Only two hours from Phoenix and 25 minutes from Sedona, Verde Canyon Railroad is the perfect Arizona day trip. Reservations are accepted at 800.293.7245 or online at verdecanyonrr.com.