When the locomotive first began its entrance into the West, it served as a sign of technological and settler progression into seemingly unknown territories but it also signaled a rapidly changing world for the Indigenous peoples. In fact, even the settlers who benefited from the train’s trail of progress seemed ambivalent to fully adapting to the technology and that attitude has continued into more modern times.

Despite the vast number of tracks spanning the state, there are actually few passenger trains still in operation. A number of railroad museums exist, along with displays in parks, train enthusiast groups, and scenic train trips in Arizona to give a small glimpse of the impact the railroad has had here over the centuries. Here are eight examples of how the iron horse continues to have an impact on Arizona’s culture today. 

Have you visited any of these sites or taken one of these scenic train trips in Arizona before? We would love to hear your experiences in the comments! 

OnlyInYourState may earn compensation through affiliate links in this article.

More to Explore

Scenic Train Trips In Arizona

What are the most scenic places to see in Arizona?

With mountains and canyons (and we’re not just talking about the Grand Canyon), Arizona is considered one of the most scenic states in the country. Head to Sedona if you want to be transported to what looks like another world. Red rocks adorn the landscape and can be explored by hiking along numerous trails. It’s a city like no other and an outdoor enthusiast's dream. If you are in the mood for a scenic drive, we suggest the Catalina Highway, a 27-mile route with a 6,000-foot elevation gain just north of Tucson. This gorgeous roadway will lead to Mount Lemmon and Santa Catalina Mountains, and from desert to forest along the way.

Are there any train-themed restaurants in Arizona?

Crown Railroad Cafe in Flagstaff sits along Route 66. While dining, you can watch model trains make their way around the restaurant, which has a classic diner feel. If you’re in Williams, the Grand Depot Cafe at the Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel is worth stopping at for a meal. A model train travels around the restaurant as you dine on traditional American fare. 

What are the most unique things to do in Arizona?

A visit to the Coconino Lava River Cave in Flagstaff is perhaps one of the more unique experiences you can have in the Grand Canyon State. After a bit of a hike, explore the long cave-like structure that was formed by lava millions of years ago. It will be an experience you won’t soon forget. Biosphere 2 is a man-made wonder created in the early 1990s as a place that replicates Earth (Biosphere 1). The glasshouse emulates different environmental habitats such as rainforest and desert and is a place where scientists lived and conducted experiments for two years. Today, visitors can take a tour and learn what life was like for the scientists beyond just performing experiments.


Explore Arizona