The Magical Christmas Journey™ to the North Pole begins at the Verde Canyon Railroad depot in Clarkdale. The spirit of Christmas is aglow and visible from afar, beckoning all to experience the dream. Seasonal treats and libation may be purchased and enjoyed while perusing the depot grounds rich with festive lighting and holiday décor. Luminarias light the Southwestern-style depot roofline and giant ornaments adorn the outdoor pergolas dripping with icicle lights. Santa’s elves entertain and tell the tale of the beautiful Princess Noel and Flurry the Christmas Eagle while songs of the season fill the air.
At the depot, prior to boarding, children can strap on a pair of eagle wings and soar through a miniature village featuring 10 tiny houses in a town square. The kids are able to experience what Flurry, our live bald eagle, sees when in flight. This unique “flight” is inspired by Verde Canyon Railroad’s relationship with Liberty Wildlife of Arizona who provides an educational bald eagle that visits Verde Canyon Railroad regularly. Adults are not to be left out, as the tiny town is entertainment for all ages.
Verde Canyon Railroad’s passenger coaches and open-air viewing cars are cheerfully ornamented inside and outside. Elves entertain onboard and car attendants join in the fun with whacky seasonal outfits while serving seasonal drink specialties. The trip to the North Pole is a one-hour round-trip into the dark of night before the train emerges onto “Santa’s private tracks” after passing through the illuminated mystical tunnel. Canyon critters light the way to the North Pole along the tracks to Santa’s Village.
The train is met by Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, and goofy elves at the North Pole, an exquisite collection of life-size buildings embellished in seasonal color and splendor. Passengers soak in the Christmas spirit aboard the train as it slowly passes by Santa’s Workshop, Mrs. Claus’ Bakery, the Reindeer Flight School, and the Ugly Sweater Factory, to name a few before Santa hops on board the train for the return trip to Clarkdale.