The Verde River is a unique and important resource in Arizona. In a desert state where free-flowing perennial water is rare, the verdant oasis of the Verde River provides a lush and refreshing contrast to the arid uplands through which it flows. The Verde River and its riparian corridor is also a vital resource for wildlife in central Arizona, particularly for native fish and birds. Several threatened and endangered species occur along the river, including the Northern Mexican garter snake, and Narrow-headed garter snake, and endangered native fish species such as razorback sucker, Colorado pike minnow, and spikedace. Breeding bird densities in some mature cottonwood and willow stands along the Verde River have exceeded one thousand pairs per 100 acres. This is the highest avian density ever recorded in North America.
The four-mile stretch of the Verde River running between the Lower TAPCO River Access Point (RAP) and the Tuzigoot RAP in Clarkdale is a popular retreat for recreation, including boating in kayaks and canoes, fishing, picnicking, birdwatching and other wildlife viewing. While there are a few riffles and Class I and II rapids along the stretch of the Verde River from Lower TAPCO to Tuzigoot, it is a manageable experience for most novice boaters.
The Lower TAPCO RAP and the Tuzigoot RAP are both managed by the Town of Clarkdale and are currently the highest upstream designated and developed public river access points on the Verde River. During normal river flow conditions (60-150 cfs), the float between these two river access points takes approximately 2 hours in a kayak or canoe. Unlike other sections of the Verde River where water flows can vary greatly, the flows on this stretch are consistent year-round.
The majority of the land between these two river access points is private property. The success of our efforts to increase access to the Verde River depends upon cooperation with, and respect for, private property owners. Please pay attention to all private property and any signs posted along the river. Do not pull over on private lands. Do not camp, build fires or trespass on private property. It is the floaters responsibility to know where they are at all times.
Approximately half-way between the Lower TAPCO RAP and the Tuzigoot RAP, boaters will encounter the Brewer’s Tunnel Diversion Dam where they must exit the river to portage around the dam. Signage on river left warns boaters as they approach the dam. Built in 1913 by the United Verde Copper Company, the Brewer’s Tunnel Dam is part of a historic irrigation system that diverts water from the Verde River to nearby Peck’s Lake. The owners of this private land permit recreational users to cross their property in order to portage around the dam.
The Town of Clarkdale has designated an area on the Verde River @ Clarkdale as a Quiet Zone. This area is surrounded by private, residential property and, like other stretches of the river, is home to abundant wildlife. Please respect the Quiet Zone designation by keeping voices to a conversational level and quietly observing your surroundings. Signs are posted throughout the Quiet Zone so that boaters know when they enter and leave this area.
Boating the Verde River is a treat; however, conditions can vary greatly in relation to temperature, weather, water level, and other factors. All persons intending to run this river are responsible for personally assessing these conditions, as well as their own ability to cope with them. All recreational use of this type involves a degree of risk, and boaters are responsible for their own safety.