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Roger Naylor becomes voice of Verde Canyon Railroad

Roger Naylor

Roger Naylor

Originally Published: September 1, 2020 11:39 a.m.

As a bona fide Arizona treasure and beloved travel enthusiast, Roger Naylor adds his folksy charm to Verde Canyon Railroad’s onboard narration.

Traveling along with passengers aboard this 3.5-hour round-trip journey through one of Arizona’s most scenic inner canyons, Naylor’s entertaining vocals add a special twist as he spins amusing tales along the 20 miles between Clarkdale to Perkinsville and back.

Known for his columns in the Arizona Republic, fun travel books on Route 66, Arizona State Parks publications, and his wide selling book Boots and Burgers, Naylor, a resident of the Verde Valley, often shares area highlights in his writings, including frequent and appreciated mentions of Verde Canyon Railroad.

“I’ve been fortunate to rack up a few special honors the last couple of years — inducted into the Arizona Tourism Hall of Fame, author of the Grand Canyon National Park Centennial Magazine — and now the narrator on Verde Canyon Railroad. It’s been a rare privilege to earn a living as an Arizona travel writer and author. Now I’m starting to get recognized as a colorful Arizona character. Feels pretty good,” said Naylor, “I may not have been born in this state but there is no doubt that I lived, and lived well, in this amazing, astounding, astonishing state. What a journey it’s been. Now I’m ready for more. All aboard!”

Recorded locally at Yavapai Broadcasting, the narration interweaves classic train tunes of every genre with the Canyon’s ancient geology, its namesake Verde River, 100-plus years of rail history, and stories of the ancient dwellers, ranchers, and flora and fauna that have called this rare riparian wonderland home.

“Verde Canyon Railroad is proud to have such a celebrated Arizona voice as part of the customer experience,” said Teresa Propeck, Vice President of Passenger Services. 

“This train line has been an integral part of the infrastructure that built the Verde Valley and the great state of Arizona. We will continue this legacy by working with locally owned and operated businesses every chance we get. Whether it’s the radio stations, wineries, restaurants or hotels, the true charm of Arizona is essential to the Railroad,” Propeck also said.

The rails of Verde Canyon Railroad share the amazing story of this canyon from the passenger cars’ distinctive vantage point which offers the best views of the geology and archeology of this Southwestern dreamscape.

The towering red rock pinnacles and mottled high canyon cliff walls tell the tale, as do the many highlights: ancient Native American dwellings, multiple historic trestles and a 730-foot manmade tunnel carved through solid limestone.

The winding Verde River, carved through a riparian ribbon of lush greenery, whispers a million years of history. Native critters, furry and feathered, large or small, evident or elusive, slippery or scaly, are all part of the cast of characters. Wrapping this epic adventure in a beautiful bow, Roger Naylor’s voice is the perfect complement to this extraordinary story.