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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Verde Hot Springs, AZ

no permit
201 48 5
Guide 48 Triplogs  5 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Camp Verde > Verde S
2.8 of 5 by 14
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 3.2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,645 feet
Elevation Gain 150 feet
Accumulated Gain 300 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 4.7
Interest Perennial Creek
Backpack Yes & Possibly Connect
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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13  2018-01-16 AZWanderingBear
8  2016-03-19 VolcanoCLMBR
5  2014-05-25 topohiker
20  2014-04-19 topohiker
5  2014-04-12 joebartels
16  2014-04-12 The_Eagle
18  2014-04-12 topohiker
7  2014-02-23 Stoic
Page 1,  2
Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 213
Routes 824
Photos 10,834
Trips 4,261 map ( 21,471 miles )
Age 49 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Apr, May, Jun, Sep → 11 AM
Seasons   Spring
Sun  6:15am - 6:24pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Trip across the ~Verde~!
by joebartels

Likely In-Season!
You just never know what's going to happen on the trail. This trail takes you to the remains of an old resort that burned down in the early sixties. People came to enjoy the hot springs out in the middle of nowhere. Today you can hike to the area and enjoy the cement formed pool free of charge. You must cross the Verde River, this is potentially dangerous. Beware of flooding. It's best to wait several days after the last rain to let any runoff pass through.

The main reason I avoided this trip in the past was that I never understood the route to the springs. Good news, it's not to difficult to find. You could cross the river near the campgrounds but it's at least neck high and you'll be swimming. So from the campgrounds there is an old rusty sign telling you it's 1 mile to the river crossing. I'm not sure it's that far but it's at least a mile including the walk on the other side. Immediately onto the trail you cross over the still functioning Childs Power Plant bridge ( long gone now ). This bridge goes over the water gushing and I mean gushing out of the turbines. It's totally awesome.

Soon the trail goes down to the river and follows it upstream. There isn't really a distinctive trail all the way, just keep going upstream. You are going upstream to where a road dips into the river. Cross there and head back down to the old resort on the other side.

You could probably figure it out from there but here's some additional information. Power lines cross the river twice on the way up. There are large red metal balls in the middle of the power lines. The trail high banks at the first power line. Here you could go up and follow the road down to the river. Personally I just came right back down and continued along the river. The second power line is near the crossing just past a fish sign. Also on the way up you will see a palm tree or two on the other side of the river. That's where you are headed. Actually you pass the trees and continue on upstream where the road dips into the creek. The reason you pass the resort and come back down is because the river is shallow and you might not have to swim.

To make it even easier there is a Coconino Forest message board and run down restrooms just before the road dips into river. I'm not sure but this may have been an old trailhead. There were no maps or messages on the old looking Coconino sign. The old restrooms are blocked by bushes and trees.

Okay now you must cross the river. Along the way you may have noticed you never really saw the remains of the resort on the other side. This is because there is an island separating the banks. When I crossed I actually crossed three sections of water. Each about fifteen feet long give or take a little. I believe the water has cut through the island diagonally at this end and that's why there was three crossings to get across one river.

1 The first was swift and came up to my knees. I'm six feet tall for reference. I found that walking slowly facing the current made it easier to keep my balance. I nearly always wear Teva river sandals and this was one of the few times I really needed them. The water was perfect temperature and very refreshing. So I made it across the first section of water.

2 Then pushed through the tall grasses a tad bit upstream to another crossing. As I mentioned I believe this is where the water has cut through the island diagonally. There are cool looking rapids as the water goes downhill over the rocks. Not to worry though. Just a tad bit up upstream it's fairly shallow. So the middle section was below my knees. The current wasn't as swift but the ground seemed rockier.

3 Okay now onto the third and final crossing. This proved to be the deepest. I stepped in and it was knee deep right away. Inching across it continued to get higher. It was highest just before the other side which came up to mid thigh. I pulled up shorts and managed to somehow stay dry. Not that it mattered. I was more concerned about falling with my camera equipment.

Once on the other side continue back downstream to the hot springs. I'm not really a hot springs nut. I've seen a number in Oklahoma and Arkansas. Nevertheless it was interesting. There is a small cave. Water channels out and over into the pool through a small cement canal. I dipped my feet into the pool basically to wash off the sand from the trail. Yep it was warm. Just as I was beginning to enjoy the moment a woman popped up out of the pool and I jumped about twenty feet. Then I notice a man standing in the pool house doorway. I forgot to mention. When you first enter the campgrounds there is a sign telling you nudity is prohibited. Ahhh, well these folks made their own rules. They where extremely nice but I decided I like my tan lines and headed on back.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2000-08-08 joebartels
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Verde Hot Springs
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    The easiest way to get to the Verde Hot Springs is through Fossil Creek and then the Childs Power Plant road and then swim or ford the Verde River to the springs. Of course I didn’t go that way. I’m still trying to determine the limits of my 4Runner. The hot springs are 80 miles from my house going north from Carefree, 25 of that paved. The drive took almost 7 hours -- slow, scenic, bumpy hours.

    In the middle of the intersection of FR 57 and Dugas Road, a Ford Explorer sat with a flat right front tire, no tire or rim on the right rear, a caved in running board and a kayak tied to the top. The missing rim lay off to the side with tears in the aluminum and a shredded tire. No one was around and there were no answers to yells or several horn honks. Later I’d meet the owner at the springs, a young man for Colorado who had heard of the springs, looked at a map and chose Dugas Road as his route. Not the best choice, obviously. He’d gotten one bar of cell service and sent a text to a friend in Flagstaff who hoped to come in via Childs Power road and ford the river bringing new tires. I was doubtful, but wished him well.

    After checking out the old ranch nearby, I hiked down to the hot springs. A dog and five young folks, including the Explorer owner, were hanging out and camping . I explored a bit and then fetched my trunks for a dip. The water was certainly nice and much of the art work on the walls and rocks was admirable.

    My camp was right by the river. After a grilled steak with sweet potatoes and veggies, I sat by my fire a while. My cell phone found that elusive 1 bar and sent a good night message home. Sleeping was easy with the the fast flowing Verde singing to me all night. 34 degrees at sunrise made some hot coffee even more enjoyable. I had thought of a morning dip, but opted out.

    The drive out was just as bumpy and slow. The Ford still sat forlornly in the intersection

    Verde Hot Springs
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    The No Sissies hash happens once a year down at Childs, and is basically a long, debaucherous bushwhacking experience. James and I drove up, set up camp away from all the action, and proceeded to have a fun-filled weekend of shiggy (bushwhacky shrubbery) and friends. The hash run itself went up a fun canyony wash, then up over a large hill before dropping into the river. It was a hot day, so this was very refreshing. Trail ended (as always) at the hot springs. 50 hashers soaked for a while, then wandered back to camp for red beans and rice, and campfire shenanigans.

    We ended up staying mostly to ourselves all weekend, but did visit with a couple of the "locals." There was a man and a woman there who spent a good deal of time camping out there, and they had lots of interesting naturist/naturalist (yes both) tales to tell. We got to hear about the history of their group, times they've had to call helicopters in for medical assistance (for people who weren't in their group), and another man there named Jack who could play a saw. (Apparently this eventually happened around the campfire, but we missed it.)

    Very cool weekend, and looking forward to next year's r*n as well!
    Verde Hot Springs
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    I wanted to show my son the Verde Hot Springs, so we came drove in from Camp Verde and took the Fossil Creek road. About a mile in the forest service had the road closed because the Fossil creak are was over crowded. I talked to the ranger and tried to explain that I wasn't going to fossil creek or camping. That didn't matter to the ranger. He said with the Slide fire, everyone was flocking to the Camp Verde area and he’s never seen Fossil creek that crowed.

    All of a sudden I felt like Clark Griswold on the quest for Wally World. We drove 2 hours and had multiple “are we there yet”. Eventually the ranger said that he was leaving at 4PM and road would be open then.
    From hiking the General Crook trail, I knew another Verde River public access area. We drove back into Camp Verde and went down to the river. Nate had fun following the fishing paths. We stayed until 3:30 and then headed back.

    Fossil Creek road was open and we headed down. We got behind a 20 car caravan. There was a truck in the lead that didn't know how to drive on a dirt road and didn't let anyone pass them. We passed by a truck that smacked the side of mountain. It’s front passenger tire was sitting next to the truck with the ball joint still connected to it!

    We eventually made it to the river! :y: We made the pilgrimage to the Wally World! Nate enjoyed the hike down the road and was little hesitant about the river crossing. The water was lower than in April. Halfway through, Nate started to really enjoy the river crossing.
    Nate like the hot springs, but he thought the water would be a lot hotter. The tubs were recently drained and fresh water was filling them up.

    On the way back Nate explored a rock area next to the river. He originally wanted to walk the way back down the river. There was some ruins of the old hotel. Nate made a couple of cairns to the ruins.

    Nate enjoyed the hot springs, but he doesn't want to go back. The long drive killed his interest in the springs. The thing he really liked was the river crossing.
    Verde Hot Springs
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Hiked with my friend Lynda.

    The drive in was pretty long but very scenic.

    I was very surprised by the amount of people around this remote area. As well, I didn't have much hike information about getting to the springs (HAZ was down yesterday) so I asked several people returning along the trail. Most didn't goto springs because they couldn't find them...odd.

    I know the pools were on the opposite side of the Verde and surrounded by building ruins so we marched on and then came to large open wash area where the road is significantly to your right, I then saw a cloth marker tied to a tree. Once through the thicket and rocky wash beyond, I could see the palm trees and the rest was pretty easy. The best place to cross was several yards upstream from the first palm.

    Verde was NOT cold, but pleasantly cool...about thigh high on the cross.

    Springs were a bit crowded, but I forced my way in for a quick soak.

    Fun, but pretty remote for just a small day hike.

    Forgot my camera so no pics today. :(
    Verde Hot Springs
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    This was my second attempt at getting to the Verde Hot springs and I made it :y: !

    Mike & I started at the road closed sign(near the upper trailhead). As we walked down the closed road, we theorized as to why it was closed. Mike though it might be to reduce the traffic to the lower Fossil creek. I figured it was to prevent cars from driving off the road. From the HAZ photo sets, it looked like it was a common occurrence.

    The lower trailheads were full when we went by. About 11am there was a huge caravan of cars driving in. We wondered where they would park.

    This was my first time seeing the lower section of fossil creek. Soon we were descending into the Verde. Mike was tired, so he chilled out at the Verde as I continued on to the hot springs.
    I changed into my Keen saddles before heading down the trail to the hot springs. The crossing was pretty fun. It was longer than I expected. The last 50 feet were in muddy water.
    When I got to the springs there was a family of 12~15 kids and parents playing around. They left shortly later and I had the whole area to myself for about 7 minutes! When I headed back, another family showed me a closer crossing. It knocked off about a 1/4 mile. The closing was narrower, about 3 inched taller and a little faster. I preferred that closer crossing.

    I found Mike, had lunch and then we made the march back to the car. Along the way we filtered some water from Fossil creek and saw a skunk by the lower trailhead :o .

    The weather was all over the board. The morning was chilly. We had sprinkles by the bridge. The temps by the river were hot. The we got closer to the Jeep, it got down right cold. There was a teeth chattering wind for the last 10 minutes.

    It was a fun hike. I might bring my son next time.
    Verde Hot Springs
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    The Drive.

    There a couple of ways to get to the Verde Hot Springs, and I choose the long dirt road way. I took Cave Creek road (FR24) to Bloody Basin to FR16.
    There was a lot of camping activity at the Seven Springs area. The large group camp site on the east side of the road was open, and it looked near full. This is the first time I’ve ever seen the large group camp grounds open.

    About 2/3 of the way down Fr24 I came across a couple of cows that I think came from Florida. They were in the middle of the road and wouldn’t budge. I was lucky that the road was a bit wider and was able to get around them. They were following the "Stand Your Ground" law.
    I made to Bloody Basin / FR24 / FR16 intersection. FR16 is not a bad road, its rougher than FR24. After I passed the 3 hour drive mark, I got fidgety like my son and started asking are we there yet. I figured I was close enough and parked at a big corral.

    The Hike.

    From my research on the HAZ route manger, I determined that there are two routes to the hot springs on the west side of the Verde. One is to take FR16 to FR57(Dugas) road, which winds around the hot springs. Or take FR16, which is more of a straight shot to the hot springs. The road ends at the Verde about a 1/2 mile south of the springs. From the satellite view, I could see a path from FR16 to about 1,000 feet from the hot springs. Then the Verde narrowed up. From using the satellite and topo views a drew up two options to get across that 1,000 foot gap. This was my plan. Take FR16 to the Verde, then the path and cut-across to the hot springs.

    FR16 started off with great views of Pine mountain. Soon I dropped into the horse camp. There is an outstanding cabin there. If the LF cabin is the Hilton, then this cabin is the Scottsdale "W" resort. The Cabin had two twin beds with pillows/sheets, propane stove, water and a concrete pad. See the pics for more detail. Soon the road starts to drop down to the Verde. As you drop Squaw peak comes into view and stays with you for almost rest of the hike. I saw three black helicopters going back and forth over the mountains ranges. I wasn't sure if there were doing exercises or looking for something.

    I dropped about a 1,000 feet and FR16 went through some nice tree stands. There’s was a nice tree canopy for a while. I was surprised how cool and shady it was at the 3,000 foot level. Then FR16 went up and over a pass and then I started getting views of the Verde and the power plant. Soon I was at the Verde.

    The foot path was an old ATV/jeep path. It followed the river and its washed out at two point. It ended at an old fording point on the Verde. There were a lot of foot prints along the path. I was able to cut across 4 foot of the Verde to another flat area. I was very close to the hot springs! The flat area ended .15 from the Verde! The walls here were too tall climb. I thought about walking up the Verde, but it looked too fast to do that. FOILED!

    I back track to one of my possible bushwhacks and the canyon was too tall and steep. FOILED :tt: !

    I back tracked again to a drainage and followed that. I found a lone cairn in the drainage. The drainage started to climb to the top of the canyon and then it started to have small water falls. I climbed the water falls until it came close to my comfort level. I then started to climb canyon walls, but there was very loose dirt. FOILED ](*,) for a third time!

    Well the best laid plans of mice & men. I decided not to bushwhack to the hot springs. It was late in the day and I had a long drive home.
    I returned the way I came. I pumped 2 liters of water at the Houston creek. It was cool hiking back under a full moon.

    Even though I didn't make the hot springs, it was still a fun day. The morning was on the cold side with the cool wind and being @ 4,000 feet. It did warm up a lot the closer I got to the Verde. The only people I saw for the was campers on the east side of the Verde. If I try it again, I'll have to drive much further down FR16 or come in from Camp Verde and cross the Verde.
    Verde Hot Springs
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    I did this hike 14 years ago. Day trips back then were tiny hikes. After an out of town hike I would typically explore other parts of the area such as forest roads or little towns.

    Here is what I remember. Cure curiosity and never go back. Near death experience crossing Verde. Creepy old naked people in dark corners.

    We did this after a decent sized 14 mile loop over at Fossil. While it didn't intrigue me in the least bit going in it was a good opportunity in retrospect. Any hike is a good hike. The Verde was maybe two feet deep at worst. It wasn't cold. No scary swifts. Just pleasant.

    The bonus was having Bruce piece together several puzzle pieces I've collected to memory over the years. We stopped and read three interpretive signs on the drive out. I sort of get it now. The flumes, the pipes, Stehr Lake and why it's gone.

    Another coolness is understanding the location of the Hot Springs. Basically it's the end of Dugas Road! I know this Alaskan dude that drove it too!
    Verde Hot Springs
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    A weekend of No Sissies!

    Claire and I went to do the No Sissies Hash.. basically, running around following "trail" in the desert.. (beer may have been involved at some point also). Had LOTS of fun this weekend, and ended up at the springs after the run. There were too many people for everyone to fit comfortably, so we soaked for a few minutes before going back to camp to dry off and warm up. Hung out by the fire with everyone, laughing and telling stories. Someone even brought some kind of lemonade-esque yucca drink.. yum! Fun weekend with crazy people!
    Verde Hot Springs
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    Stopped in again second trip in a year. Roof half gone over enclosed tarp functioning as roof for now.
    Yes, there's funky art and nudity, so those of you who like to judge what is and what is not art, and how the rest of us should stay home. (The less traffic here, the better for those of us who like this place)
    Not too much trash in the campgrounds, but enough to be disturbing. This CG had a host last year...not sure if there's one there now or not.
    Tried crossing the Verde right at the's a wide crossing, but never more than waist high to a 6 footer and a much easier hike to springs than the traditional route. If you're a first timer here, try the traditional route anyway and spend a few minutes at the power plant bridge.

    Leave no Trace!!!
    If you have the strength to pack it in full, you should have the intelligence to pack it out empty!
    Verde Hot Springs
    rating optionrating optionrating optionrated 2rated 2
    I went here when I was younger, it was nice then, at least I can't remember having a problem getting into the water. From the sounds of the other logs I probably wouldn't bother going back, I prefer solitude and the lack of trash and graffiti that acompanies it. (yes even over nudity).

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    From Phoenix head north on I-17 exit on 287 and head east on SR 260. Pass through Camp Verde and continue on just past mile marker 228 to the somewhat signed turnoff to the right onto FR 708. Follow FR 708 13.7 beautiful but bumpy & sometimes scary miles to the junction with FR 502. Hang a right on FR 502 and follow this 6.2 miles to the campgrounds and trailhead. The last 0.2 miles straight down to the campgrounds main be to rough for a passenger car. It's fairly steep and washed. You might just want to walk that section and save yourself some trouble on the way out.
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