Arizona’s Verde River is a unique and important resource. In a southwestern state where perennial flowing water is rare, the riparian oasis of the Verde River stands in stark contrast to the arid uplands through which it meanders.
Verde is the Spanish term for the color “green.”
Verde River was the first Wild and Scenic designation in Arizona. The Verde River Wild & Scenic stretch runs through the Mazatzal and Cedar Bench Wilderness Areas south of Camp Verde, Arizona. The river’s high-quality habitat supports the more than 50 threatened, endangered, sensitive, or special status fish and wildlife species.
Popular activities on the Verde River:
The Verde provides habitat for a diverse array of wildlife species and supports over 60% of the vertebrate species that inhabit the Coconino, Prescott and Tonto National Forests. There are bald eagle nest territories, migratory and possibly occupied habitat for southwestern and potential habitat for several listed species.
The outstandingly remarkable values of the Verde River are its scenic, fish and wildlife, and historic and cultural values.
The river corridor contains archaeological evidence of occupation and agricultural use and modification of the Verde River floodplain, terraces and hill slopes by people related to the Hohokam and Southern Sinagua cultural traditions over a period of at least 600 years.
The earliest hydroelectric power plant in the state of Arizona (now decommissioned) is located in the Verde corridor as is the remains of one of Arizona’s first tourist developments, the Verde Hot Springs Resort.
Major river access points:
- Sycamore Canyon Road north of Clarkdale
- White Bridge where State Highway 260 crossed the river east of Camp Verde
- Beasley Flats via Forest Roads 574 and 529
- Near Childs Power Plant via Forest Roads 708 and 502.
No permit is required for private parties to run the Verde River; however, with added freedom comes added responsibility. While the river may appear calm at river access points, large numbers of wrecked canoes removed from the river testify to the fact that it has its share of hazards. Plan ahead, be prepared and practice Leave-No-Trace ethics to leave the Verde just as you found it for those who come after.