Verde River - White Bridge to Beasley Flat

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 ten-mile stretch of the Verde River running between White Bridge River Access Point (RAP) and Beasley Flat RAP in Camp Verde 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 White Bridge to Beasley Flat, it is a manageable experience for most novice boaters.  White Bridge RAP and Beasley Flat RAP are both located within the Prescott National Forest and are sites managed by the US Forest Service.  Beasley Flat RAP is located near the start of the Wild & Scenic stretch of the Verde River.  White Bridge and Beasley Flat RAPs are also popular fishing spots, where smallmouth and largemouth bass, channel and flathead catfish, and sunfish can be caught. There is also winter stocking of rainbow trout at the White Bridge site.

The Verde River was the first Wild and Scenic designation in Arizona.  One of the Verde River’s tributaries, Fossil Creek, was designated soon afterwards.  They are the only recognized Wild and Scenic rivers in the state.  While the Verde River can be floated practically any month of the year, its primary river-running season occurs in the fall to spring months.  Depending on the time of year, the water level can vary greatly.  Boating below Beasley Flat, through Wild & Scenic stretch of the Verde, should only be attempted by experienced whitewater boaters as there are dangerous areas and rapids rating up to Class IV. 

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.

 

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Location

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Latitude: 34.549886 Longitude: -111.851009 Elevation: 3064 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Susan Culp

Best Access and Parking Areas

The recommended river access points for boating the Verde River through Camp Verde are White Bridge RAP as the put-in, and Beasley Flat RAP as the take-out. 

To reach White Bridge RAP, follow Highway 260 from Camp Verde toward Payson.  The river access point parking area will be on the southeast corner right after crossing the bridge.  Turn east on Quarterhorse Lane and right into the parking area.  White Bridge RAP features picnic areas and ramadas, restrooms, and a boat launching area just under the bridge.  

It is an enjoyable 4-6 hour float from White Bridge RAP to Beasley Flat RAP. Beasley Flat can be accessed off Highway 260. Coming from the I-17, turn onto Oasis Road, and then make a right onto Salt Mine Road. Follow for 8 miles to where the paved road makes a hard left to the Camp Verde Acres Access Road. Follow this road through the subdivision until the paved portion ends. At the stop sign, turn left – following signage to Beasley Flat river access point. Beasley Flat also provides picnic tables and grills, ramadas, changing rooms, restrooms, and a boat launch and area interpretation.  There is also a short nature trail that visitors can enjoy.

Boaters seeking out a shorter paddle may choose to launch from White Bridge and take out at Clear Creek RAP, which is located at approximately the half-way point between White Bridge and Beasley Flat. Visitors should note, however, that Clear Creek RAP has no amenities and very little parking available. 

 

 

Eco-Friendly Notes

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

The river access points described in this nomination do include facilities that are handicap accessible, including the restrooms, ramadas and picnic areas. At White Bridge RAP, the pathway to the river is also partially paved. However, Clear Creek RAP does not have any developed amenities.

Pet Friendly Notes

Most areas along the Verde River are pet-friendly. Pets must be on a leash no longer than 6-feet or confined to a vehicle or kennel while visiting the Prescott National Forest. 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!

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