Calling all train lovers! The Ultimate List of Trains in Arizona will delight the young and old, with ideas to cruise the state, view model railroads, or take a mini ride in a mall.
Arizona is rich in railroad history, being a main point of access for the Southwest rails, mainly the cities of Yuma and Flagstaff. Railroads started in the state in 1877, and continue today with transportation of goods to/from Tucson. Celebrate the rails in Arizona by browsing this list of fabulous options, and plan a family visit!
Full Scale Rails
Verde Canyon Railroad
Enjoy a 3.6 hour, 20 mile journey back in time on board this train. They offer special events such as the hoppiest time of the year when the Easter bunny boards the train, a ride with the engineer where one lucky passenger gets to ride in the cab of the locomotive, and spring in bloom. Don’t forget the Magic Christmas Journey ride and sign your kids up for the Magical Journey VIP Kids’ Club. Click here for details.
Need a vacation where the journey is part of the experience? Book your travel on Amtrak and enjoy all the luxuries like 3 meals a day and scenery as you travel to your destination.
Grand Canyon Railway
Give your kids the trip of a lifetime where they can be entertained by all the characters of the southwest. Entertainment on board includes live musicians, shootouts, robberies and cattle-rustling, what a way to entertain your train lovers. Don’t miss their popular Pumpkin Train and Polar Express events! This train also goes direct to the Grand Canyon.
Trains run weekends Labor Day through Memorial Day through a scenic quarter mile tour of the park. All rides take tickets and they start at $2.25 or you can get a book, day pass or even a year pass for only $72.50. Check the website for park hours as they vary. Read our review here!
McCormick Railroad Park
This park has lots of train related activates for all ages and interests. Located in the park are the Scottsdale Railroad Museum where you can get on the trains and enjoy what it is like on a real life train. The model railroad is 10,000 square feet of little trains! And don’t forget the actual train that drives around the park, fun for all ages! Read our review here.
Daisy Mountain Railroad Park
While visiting this park, be sure to take a trip on the mile long train ride that passes by the lake and even through a tunnel on this 10 minute ride. Read our review here.
Goldfield Ghost Town
Every tourist’s favorite ghost town features an array of activities like a zipline, live gunfights, gold panning, and off-road tours. This 36″ gauge train consists of a Plymouth diesel, passenger car, and caboose. During the ride, the conductor will tell stories about the history of Goldfield, the Superstition Mountains, and the American Southwest as a whole. It departs every 30 minutes for a 20-minute trip. Read our review here.
Adobe Mountain Desert Railroad Park (run by Maricopa County Live Steamers)
Join them on the first and third Saturdays and Sundays from 11 A.M. to 3 PM and take a ride on the trains. Rides are free, and a train ride is a great way to spend some family time together. With 4 different routes and over 18 miles, you can experience the many different views in the park. If you make a donation, you receive a souvenir. Be sure to check the calendar here for events and hours.
Sahuaro Central Railroad Heritage Preservation Center
Located by the Adobe Mountain Desert Railroad Park, this has something for all train fans.
Arizona Model Railroading Society
Located in the Adobe Mountain Desert Railroad Park this open the first Saturday of the month from 8 till 1 and the third Saturday from 9 till 12 and is closed from May through September.
Old Tucson Studios is like a Western movie come to life. Stagecoaches, horseback rides, a shooting gallery, and mine tours take visitors back in time to the days of Bonnie & Clyde. The C.P. Huntington Train is a journey through the Sonoran Desert, featuring Saguaros and other aspects of our unique landscape. Rides are included with admission!
Rawhide Western Town & Event Center
Live country music, gunfights, and mouthwatering steak are the defining characteristics of this Wild West theme park. This train runs along a relaxing riverfront path, with rides lasting about ten minutes. Please note: Rawhide is only open to the public for special events.
Wildlife World Zoo and Aquarium
African safari train ride for $6 along the 5/8 mile long narrated ride through the zoo.
Toy Train Rides
A true train fan has to ride EVERY train, so here are some local toy trains to ride.
Arizona Boardwalk (formally Odysea in the Desert) – Rides are included with your Odysea Aquarium membership and the train rides around the courtyard. Train ride costs $3/person if you don’t have a membership.
What better way to ride around the mall then on a Choo Choo? Paradise Valley Mall, Chandler Mall, Arrowhead Mall and Desert Sky Mall all offer rides. Always fun to ride the train around and wave to everyone. Most rides are $3-$4/person.
Southern Arizona Transport Museum
Steam locomotive, and outdoor/indoor exhibits explore the impact of the railroad on Tucson. Steam Locomotive #1673 (starred in “Oklahoma” back in 1955) is on display! Sun. & Tues.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Fri. & Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Locomotive gates open, Sat. 10 a.m.-3 pm. Free admission.
Gadsen Pacific Division Toy Train Operating Museum
This extensive collection of classic and vintage trains on all size scales is open the second and forth Sunday of each month from 12:30 P.M. to 4:30 P.M. and closed June, July and August for maintenance.
Arizona Model Railroading Society
Located in the Adobe Mountain Desert Railroad Park this society encourages all aspects of model railroad building. Operating sessions are the first Saturday of the month from 8:00am to 1:00 pm and the third Saturday of the month from 9:00am till 12:00pm and closed from May to September.
Train Watching In Flagstaff
Visiting Flagstaff? Stop by the visitors center and watch the trains pass up close and personal! Want to climb on a full size steam train and explore the caboose? Stop by The Pioneer Museum and explore! (The Book Nest Toy Store also has a train at special events.) Learn more here.
Other Train Options
Did you know that Phoenix Sky Harbor airport has a train – and you don’t have to be taking a flight to ride on it? Learn more here!
There’s also the Valley Metro system, which is handy for using to visit downtown (and skipping sometimes high parking fees). Learn more on their website.