Dead Horse Ranch and Verde Canyon Railroad

Dead Horse Ranch and Verde Canyon Railroad

Wonderful day at Dead Horse Ranch and Verde Canyon Railroad.

We started the day by heading to Dead Horse Ranch to see what birds we could find in the morning.

As soon a the car stopped there was a Vermilion flycatcher.

Vermilion flycatcher sitting in tree
Vermilion flycatcher sitting in tree
Vermilion flycatcher flying
Vermilion flycatcher flying

One of the most beautiful flycatchers I’ve ever seen.

After I followed it all over the field, a black phoebe caught my attention and landed on a branch close by.

Black phoebe resting on branch
Black phoebe resting on a branch

What was a woman to do but to change focus and snap it?

Back to following the vermilion flycatcher and another bird caught my eye.

There were western bluebirds here as well and I got a few good photos of them.

Western bluebird and American goldfinch
Western bluebird and American goldfinch

Meanwhile back at the bench… Rob had brought his flute and was playing as I was playing.

Rob playing flute at Dead Horse Ranch
Rob playing the flute at Dead Horse Ranch

The only difference was is that people would stop by Rob and thank him for the lovely sounds that echoed across the water.

There weren’t a lot of ducks this year and we saw a pied-billed grebe, some coots and a flock of ring-necked ducks.

Pied-billed grebe
Pied-billed grebe

The water was flat calm and the reeds projected a golden colour across the water which was perfect for taking pictures.

Ring-billed ducks
Ring-billed ducks

We ended up walking around two of the ponds, had a tailgate picnic and caught a rock wren searching for his lunch.

Rock wren in Dead Horse Ranch
Rock wren in Dead Horse Ranch

Within the park there someone told us about a swamp so we headed out to see if we could find it.

After parking your car it was about a miles walk into it and about halfway we could see the swamp below.

No birds moved or sang. This might have been because it was midday and most of them have enough sense to be out of the hot sun.

Humans… not so much.

Turning around we decided that it would be a place that you would need to visit in the morning and we may or may not go back there this trip.

Besides, the train left at 1 pm and it was now 12:25.

We hopped in the car and arrived at the Verde Canyon Railroad in plenty of time.

And… got first-class tickets for the train.

First-class means you get snackies, a glass of bubbly and room to walk around with cushy seats.

Coach class means you are stuck in a bus like train car with 72 people packed into it.

As Rob was buying the tickets I got a closeup view of a roadrunner hanging out looking for food.

Roadrunner portrait
Roadrunner portrait

All aboard and we were on our way.

The Verde Valley is beautiful.

The rock formations are unusual and varied and the leaves on the cottonwoods were golden as the light hit them.

Fall leaves on Verde Canyon

It is two hours up and then they switch around the engines and then two hours back.

There is an outside observation car where you can take pictures and see the sights as well as from inside.

Verde Canyon Railroad

The end of the line where they switch the engines was an old ranch that used to house multiple families, a post office, grocery store and schoolhouse.

Sadly, not much remains but the property is still owned by the original descendants.

Coming back was the same but different.

The light had changed and the canyon walls had deep shadows and stood out more.

A trip to remember.

Being full of eating on the train we came back to the room and are spending a quiet night getting ready for tomorrow’s adventure.

It’s Rob’s birthday so he gets to plan the day.

Here are some pictures of the train ride today.

There are supposed to be a couple of ghosts on the train and when I downloaded my pictures I think I might just have caught them on camera.

See if you can spot them?

Verde Canyon

Verde Canyon

Verde Canyon

Verde Canyon

Can you spot the turtle?

Verde Canyon


  1. Happy 67th Birthday Rob.

    Heather, thanks for your posts. I’m truly amazed at how you fit all your descriptions of them in such an extraordinary way.

    Love you both, however seeing Rob playing his flute is a speciality.

    Safe travelling. Love Alice and Bill xoxo


    Another terrific day in paradise – pictures of birds and scenery are absolutely magnificent. Wish I was there with you. Can’t wait until next episode!


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