American Rivers is the nation’s leading river conservation organization. We protect and restore our nation’s rivers and support the efforts of communities who want to connect with the rivers through recreation. Working with local jurisdictions, agencies, and nonprofit organizations in Arizona, we developed the Verde River “Plan Your Trip” mobile map to help people safely explore the unique and stunning Verde River. This map is available at www.americanrivers.org/verde.
One of the only rivers in the Southwest that flows year round, the Verde River is a well-loved jewel. Beginning north of Phoenix, the Verde flows 200 miles southeast until it meets the Salt River. The Verde is vital to central Arizona, providing fresh water to thousands of people, as well as habitat for a wide array of plants and wildlife, including yellow-billed cuckoos, river otters, and North America’s smallest deer, the Coue's white tail. To protect this important natural resource, American Rivers is working with local partners to provide greater access to the river and its recreation opportunities. By creating stronger community connections, we will help to protect the river’s health.
This mobile site allows residents and visitors alike to plan out an upcoming trip on the Verde River. The web-based map guides visitors through access points along the Verde, including points of interest, public access, picnic areas and unique natural and cultural areas. The Verde River mobile site promotes the river and allows for more people to learn about the amazing recreational opportunities along it.
Best Access Points
American Rivers recommends three stretches of the Verde River that are suited to beginner and novice paddlers, and which give a wonderful flavor of the rich riparian habitat and conservation values of the Verde River.
The first stretch is known as the Verde River @ Clarkdale. Paddlers can put in at Lower TAPCO River Access Point (RAP), and take out after a lovely 3 ½ to 4 hour paddle at Tuzigoot RAP, located near a 110-room ancient pueblo built by the Sinagua around A.D. 1000.
The second recommended stretch is White Bridge RAP to Beasley Flats in Camp Verde. Boaters can expect a 4 to 5 hour leisurely paddle along this route, with some fun riffles that provide a little excitement to the trip.
Last, but certainly not least, the Verde River stretch from Skidmore Lane RAP on the Prescott National Forest east of Cottonwood, downstream to Bignotti Beach RAP, are also suitable for beginner/novice paddlers. Be sure not to miss Bignotti as your take out, though – there will not be another river access point for many river miles.
There are also excellent hiking and walking trails that follow segments of the Verde River or its tributaries for those seeking a land-based experience. If you are looking for a wilderness adventure, Parsons Trail begins near the confluence of Sycamore Creek and the Verde River, right on the edge of Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Area. The trails follows Sycamore Creek into the canyon.
For a less strenuous walk, give the Jail Trail in Old Town Cottonwood a try. The trail begins at the Gateway to the Verde River right in the midst of the historic downtown area, and heads down to the Verde River. The trail will also take walkers to Riverfront Park, and connects to Dead Horse Ranch State Park as well.
Visitors to the Verde River are encouraged to practice "Leave No Trace" ethics when enjoying the Verde River. As more people discover and enjoy the Verde, we all have a stake in making sure the river stays healthy, continues to provide important habitat for wildlife, and remains an enjoyable, beautiful place for future generations to cherish.
ADA Accessibility Notes
Many of the river access points described in the online Verde River mobile map are rugged and somewhat primitive in their development and in services provided. However, the map also notes areas that are handicap accessible, and where certain services are located in proximity to the river.
Pet Friendly Notes
Most areas along the Verde River are pet-friendly. Please remember to clean up after your pet, as water quality can be impacted by pet waste. Be sure to leave the Verde River clean and healthy for others to enjoy as well!