Dead Horse Ranch State Park

The developed portion of Dead Horse Ranch State Park covers 423 acres. The 3,300 foot elevation accounts for the mild temperatures that are ideal for camping, mountain biking in the Coconino National Forest, hiking along the Verde River, canoeing, picnicking, fishing, or just wading in the cool water.

A six-mile reach of the river is known as the Verde River Greenway State Natural Area. Its unique ecosystem, the Cottonwood and Willow riparian gallery forest, is one of less than 20 such riparian zones in the world. Life along the river changes with the seasons, giving visitors a glimpse of the numerous species of raptors, neotropical migrants, resident songbirds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fish.

Camping Cabins: Eight one-room log camping cabins are available at Dead Horse Ranch by reservation. They are tucked away from the other campgrounds, making them an ideal getaway for a weekend or for the week. Click here for reservations.

How Did Dead Horse Ranch Get Its Name?

The story of the park's name begins with the Ireys family, who came to Arizona from Minnesota looking for a ranch to buy in the late 1940s. At one of the ranches they discovered a large dead horse lying by the road. After two days of viewing ranches, Dad Ireys asked the kids which ranch they liked the best. The kids said, “the one with the dead horse, Dad!” The Ireys family chose the name Dead Horse Ranch and later, in 1973, when Arizona State Parks acquired the park, the Ireys made retaining the name a condition of sale.

Annual Events

Verde Valley Birding & Nature Festival celebrates nature with workshops and field trips where expert guides take visitors to the area's birding hot spots. The annual event is presented by Arizona State Parks and the Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce.

Verde River Day. Community event.

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Latitude: 34.753082 Longitude: -112.022116 Elevation: 3301 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
T Farrell

Recreational Opportunities

  • Camping
  • Camping Cabins
  • Hiking Trails
  • Fishing
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Canoeing and Kayaking in Lagoons and Verde River 
  • Ramadas
  • Bird Watching
  • Equestrian Trails
  • Biking
  • Gift Shop
  • Group: Day Use Areas
  • Picnic Areas/Shelters

Seasons Accessible

Open year round


Park Entrance Fees: Per Vehicle (1-4 Adults): $7.00 Individual/Bicycle: $3.00 Camping Fees: Non-Electric/tent site: $15 Red Tail: $25 Cooper's Hawk: $25 Quail Loop: $30 Cabin Rental: $55

ADA Accessibility Notes

Modern ADA accessible restrooms

Pet Friendly Notes

Pet friendly, pets on leashes, clean up after pets please!

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