CLARKDALE, AZ (ARIZONA HIGHWAYS TV) -- Friendly, beautiful, and 5,000 feet closer to heaven.

When you think of a train, do you really think about a slow, cool, scenic nature ride on the rails through rugged yet beautiful country? I admit, I didn't! But that was before I took the last train to Clarksdale on the Verde Canyon Railroad.

On any given day, people on board the train can see red tailed hawks, and elk and deer. But everyone on board is on a quest to see the magnificent bald eagle.

Eagle watch has been going on in our canyon since we started the train in fall of 1990.

This stretch of the Verde River is home to three bald eagle breeding areas.

Kenneth Jacobson is the Bald Eagle Management Coordinator for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. He says the eagles are in a perfect habitat next to the Verde Canyon Railway.

"First of all, the eagle's diet is 80 percent fish, we've got the Verde River here, it gives them a food source so that is the number one thing that's important to them. Second of all, they have nesting substrate here, they've got cottonwood trees that they can build their nests in, as well as a lot of cliff bases in this stretch," Jacobson said. 

More information about the Verde Canyon Railroad can be found here.

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