Originally conceived by Verde Valley trails enthusiasts and community leaders in 1997, the Copper Canyon Trailhead is truly a facility that is "of the people, by the people, and for the people." The trailhead officially opened in February of 2012 thanks to countless hours of volunteer labor, donated materials, a grant, and extensive planning and collaboration between various government agencies, private businesses, and members of the public over a 15-year span of time. This multiple-use trailhead serves as a jumping-off point for adventurers of all stripes: hikers, cyclists, horse riders, off-highway enthusiasts, and travelers in high-clearance vehicles. The parking lot has plenty of room for trailer turn-around and a loading ramp for off-road vehicles. But Copper Canyon Trailhead isn't just for those who want to hit the trails, it is also a destination in its own right with picnic tables, grills, restrooms, and shade ramadas where people can gather and enjoy the great outdoors.
Forest roads and multiple-use trails:
High-clearance Vehicles: Vehicles headed out on trails from Copper Canyon must be 50-inches or less in width, but forest roads in the area allow full-sized vehicle travel. Forest Road 136 continues past Copper Canyon Trailhead and follows a perennial stream up Copper Canyon to Forest Road 732 which is part of the Great Western Trail, a celebrated jeep trail that supporters plan to eventually complete from Mexico to Canada. Currently, 72-miles of the Great Western Trail are complete through the Prescott National Forest. Headed in the other direction, Forest Road 732 leads to the top of Squaw Peak with panoramic views of the Verde Valley from 3,500-feet above the Verde River. Forest Road 136 also connects to numerous other forest roads allowing the adventurous to explore the southern end of the Verde Valley in full-sized vehicles.
TRAILS: Off-highway Vehicles, hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrians enjoy the forest roads and trails accessed from the Copper Canyon Trailhead. Trail courtesy is paramount to the success of the multiple-use trails in the area: cyclists and hikers yield to horse riders, cyclists yield to hikers, and motorcycles and OHVs yield to non-motorized trails users. Respect for all Trails Users + Collaborative Partnerships = Sustainable Recreation!
Heading north, Camp Verde Trail #545, popular with both ATV and motorcycle users, is one of the longest OHV trails on the forest at about 12 miles. The trail traverses an expansive russet and tan colored landscape that is studded with bright creosote bush, dusky scrub oak, and other low elevation species. Visitors may see quail, rabbits, and other animals along the trail. TR 545 is rated moderate due to several steep and rocky sections not suitable for inexperienced riders. This trail offers many opportunities for side trips and loops, effectively connecting every OHV route in the area including those at Hayfield Draw OHV Area approximately nine miles to the north.
Heading south from the Copper Canyon TH the Camp Verde Trail follows the drainage bottom for about a mile on an old road and then climbs steeply to gain access to the Copper Canyon Rd and the Tompkins Trail #513. This steep section of trail should only be attempted by experienced motorized riders. The Forest plans to realign and reduce the grade on this section of trail in the winter of 2016. The Tompkins Trail #513 also comes to a place a mile or so in where it is extremely rugged and steep and is not recommended for motorized users at this time. This trail connects with Trail #511 which, in turn, connects with more motorized trails and Forest Road 732.
Non-motorized users have a new trail to look forward to in 2016 as the forest plans to construct three miles of new trail for non-motorized users to access the Copper Canyon falls about 3 miles up the canyon. This new trail will provide a loop when combined with the section of the 545 trail in the valley bottom.
Copper Canyon Trailhead is open year-round, but use is greatest from fall through spring when day-time temperatures are moderate and winter visitors flock to the Verde Valley. During the summer, early-risers can get in a hike or a ride before the heat sets in. During rainy or snowy weather, visitors are asked to stay off wet roads and trails to prevent resource damage and keep the trails passable for all user types.
ADA Accessibility Notes
Picnic and restroom facilities at the Copper Canyon Trailhead are accessible to wheelchairs.
Pet Friendly Notes
Pets are welcome at the Copper Canyon Trailhead but must be kept on a leash no longer than 6-feet, or confined in a vehicle or kennel while visiting the Prescott National Forest.