Verde River Greenway State Natural Area

Explore a pristine stretch of the cool and refreshing Verde River in Central Arizona.

As one of only two designated Wild and Scenic Rivers in Arizona, the Verde River creates diverse riparian ecosystems throughout the central part of the state. The stretch of the Verde near Cottonwood has emerged as a popular put-in spot for road-trippers who strap canoes and kayaks to their vehicles. Lush vegetation lines the river, creating a habitat dense with herons, hawks, eagles, coyote, deer and other high-desert critters. Bald eagle sightings are prolific in the winter, and happy traveler sightings are prolific year-round.

Float Along the Verde River

Exploring the Verde in a canoe or kayak is the way locals recreate along this cool respite in an otherwise arid high desert. No motorized watercrafts are allowed on this protected stretch of the Verde. Find swimming holes along the way and natural beaches to set up a picnic under the canopy of sycamore and cottonwood trees. Or troll a fishing line alongside your canoe and try to hook the bass, catfish, bluegill and trout that live in these waters. The Verde River Paddle Trail has all the details for visitors to access the Verde River at the Tuzigoot National Monument bridge and paddle through Dead Horse Ranch State Park all the way to the Highway 89A bridge.

Visit Old Town Cottonwood

The historic area of Cottonwood along the Verde River has seen a resurgence in recent years, spurred by the tasting rooms and bottle shops that emerged in Central Arizona’s wine region. At the north end of Old Town Cottonwood, visitors can stroll down the short Jail Trail to reach the greenway. Visitors can smell the cool, mossy waterway before they see it. Make note of all the local eateries, wine bars and gift shops on Main Street to visit after a day splashing along the Verde River.

Stay in a State Park

The closest camping sites to the diverse greenway activities are at Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood. Visitors can choose from tent and RV sites, plus eight small log cabins are available inside the park near the river. The park’s proximity to the river and neighboring towns in Verde Valley make it a popular base camp for excursions to Jerome, Sedona, Clarkdale and Camp Verde.

For More Information

Verde River Greenway State Natural Area
2011-B Kestrel Road
Cottonwood, AZ 86326
(928) 639-0312

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