The Verde River is Arizona’s only wild and scenic river, the head of the Verde River begins below the dam that catches water from the Big Chino Wash and Williamson Valley Wash combining to create Sullivan Lake in Yavapai County, Arizona.
The Verde River and its riparian vegetation is home to a great variety of wildlife. You may be treated to seeing great blue heron, black hawks, thirty-one species of fish, toads, beavers and several endangered or threatened species. Depending on the season you could see American bald eagles, lowland leopard frogs, river otters, southwestern willow flycatchers and more.
The Verde River offers visitors a vast amount a recreational activities including fishing, boating, water-play, whitewater runs (during the spring snow melt or after late summer thunderstorms), hiking, biking , sightseeing, wildlife viewing, photography, and especially bird watching. With all these activities our responsibility is to preserve and protect what we have come to treasure. Please be responsible and leave no trace of your time here.
Major river access points are Dead Horse Ranch State Park, at the White Bridge where State Highway 260 crosses the river east of Camp Verde, at Beasley Flats via FR 574 and FR 529, and near the Childs Power Plant via FR 708 and FR 502. The route into Childs is steep and winding. It can become very soft and slippery when wet. If you would like to learn more about the Verde River please visit National Wild and Scenic Rivers, your best resource for information on all that is the Verde River.
Since 1986, the state has purchased several parcels of land in the area that is now known as the Verde River Greenway State Natural Area between the Tuzigoot and Bridgeport bridges. The 3,300 foot elevation means mild temperatures for hiking along the Verde, canoeing, picnicking, fishing, or just wading in the cool water.
The most significant natural resource in the Greenway, besides the year-round flowing river, is the dense forest of riparian trees and shrubs along its riverbank. This Fremont Cottonwood & Gooding Willow Riparian Gallery Forest is one of five remaining stands in Arizona and one of 20 such stands in the world. The Verde River Greenway State Natural Area and Dead Horse Ranch State Park are located next to each other in Cottonwood, Arizona. The Natural Area conserves the land in its natural state, so you won’t find restrooms or modern camping facilities in the Natural Area. Use Dead Horse Ranch State Park as your base camp to enjoy the hiking, canoeing, and natural surroundings of the Verde River Greenway.
Please practice “Leave No Trace” ethics. If you would like to get involved with helping to preserve, enhance and promote the scenic, natural, historic, cultural and recreational resources of the Verde River Greenway corridor please visit Friends of Verde River Greenway.