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Dead Horse Ranch State Park, AZ

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Guide 22 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Sedona > Cottonwood NE
3.4 of 5 by 5
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Difficulty 0.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance One Way 1 mile
Trailhead Elevation 3,300 feet
Elevation Gain 100 feet
Avg Time One Way 0.5 hour
Kokopelli Seeds 1.33
Interest Historic & Perennial Creek
Backpack No
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
10  2016-11-09
Thumper Loop
10  2016-01-10 gummo
9  2015-02-27 cactuscat
5  2015-02-26 cactuscat
9  2013-06-17 SkyIslander18
4  2012-10-25 slowandsteady
8  2012-07-28 oliverr99
21  2012-06-08 NatureKopelli
Page 1,  2
Author fotogirl53
author avatar Guides 5
Routes 0
Photos 1,229
Trips 181 map ( 570 miles )
Age Female Gender
Location Flagstaff, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Oct, Nov, Dec, Apr
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:12am - 6:32pm
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Easy does it
by fotogirl53

Dead Horse Ranch State Park, located next to Cottonwood, Arizona, has hiking, biking, camping, fishing, birding, and horseback riding opportunities for those looking for activities in the "easy" category. The location on the Verde River has one of 20 Fremont Cottonwood-Goodling Willow riparian forests in the world, making it a birding and wildlife hotspot. It's perfect for those needing gentle trails with convenient facilities. There are picnic shelters/areas and a playground for the kids.

Dead Horse Ranch was deeded to the state in 1970 by a private donor to preserve this rare riparian area located on the Verde River. It consists of 423 acres at 3300 foot elevation. The entry fee to Dead Horse includes entry into The Verde River Greenway State Natural Area, located at the east end of the park. Fall, winter and spring are the best seasons to visit; summer temperatures regularly hit over 100 degrees. The park has all the facilities--water, restrooms with flush toilets, RV campsites, camping cabins, and fish cleaning tables. Use of the campsites include showers!

There are over 15 miles of trails (one way) around the park. The trails are mixed use which includes hikers, mountain bikers and horses. The longest is the Dead Horse Trail, a 7.3 mile loop that extends onto the Coconino National Forest. The Lime Kiln leg of the trail follows a portion of the historic Lime Kiln Wagon Road. The remains of the kiln are beside the trail. Two more legs of the trail are Thumper and Raptor Hill. Tuzigoot National Monument is visible on the next ridge. The Forest Loop, at 1/2 mile, provides access to the river by way of short sided trails. The Canopy Trail at 1/4 mile is wheelchair accessible through Fremont Cottonwoods. This one is "excellent" for bird watching and wildlife viewing. The Mesa Trail is a 1.1. mile interpretive loop. The Tavasci Marsh Trail is 1 mile along a cattail-filled marsh lined with cottonwood trees. An unimproved bridge crosses over the ditch, allowing you to explore the other side of the marsh. Birds and other wildlife are abundant. Quail Trail is 1/4 mile with stairs and bridges that are not suitable for horses It has plant diversity and water. It meets Hickey Ditch Trail, which follows the historic Hickey irrigation ditch through Ailanthus and Mesquite trees. The Creosote Trail at 1/2 mile intersects Hickey and Quail Wash trails. The Riverfront Trail at 1/2 mile is along the Verde River.

The San Luis Rey Cemetery is located within the boundary of the park, but is not a part of the park. It is overseen by a board of Trustees. A short walk from Flycatcher Road accesses the cemetery. It is overgrown with catclaw and is being returned to the elements. A sign requests that the gravesites are not disturbed. Please respect the area and take only pictures.

The park contains 3 lagoons that are stocked with fish. They are ADA accessible with wheelchair access right up to the water. The lagoons are magnets for waterfowl of all types, with cattails for cover. The loops around the lagoons have wide concrete sidewalks and are 0.39 miles, 0.41 miles and 0.72 miles around.

Most trails are open for equestrian use and there is an equestrian concessioaire offering guided trail rides. Biking the trails is for beginners.

Wildlife is abundant in the park, including grey fox, coyote, Coues or whitetail deer, mule deer, bobcat, javelina and skunks. There is a huge variety of reptiles and amphibians. There is a list of almost 200 birds that frequent the area, including golden and bald eagles in the winter. The location on the Verde River has one of 20 Fremont Cottonwood-Goodling Willow riparian forests in the world.

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2008-12-10 fotogirl53
  • Dead Horse SP Trail Map
    area related
    Dead Horse SP Trail Map
  • Sedona Trails 2018
    region related
    Sedona Trails 2018

One-Way Notice
This hike is listed as One-Way.

When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
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
Dead Horse Ranch State Park
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Dead Horse Wander
I was staying in the Dead Horse Ranch State Park campground Quail loop. Jumped on Quail trail to Lime Kiln trail. Followed that up to the Thumper trail intersect then turned back. Took the side trip to Rattlesnake Canyon overlook and finally diverted down to the lagoons and Fume trail back to the campground.
Dead Horse Ranch State Park
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Finally was able to go birding outside of maricopa county with a friend. The trip was very enjoyable. Weather was perfect. We got to this park mid day after our visit to page springs fishery.
Saw 2 new sps :y:
Dead Horse Ranch State Park
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Afternoon hike around the park.
We took the Verde River Greenway Trail from our cabin along the river, then the Forest loop Trail to the park entrance. Walked the main park road back and around the lagoons and on back to our cabin.
Very nice park & trails!
Dead Horse Ranch State Park
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Started out the day with a round of disc golf at Cottonwood's Riverfront Park. The park is a gem! They have really nice baseball fields, batting cages, soccer fields, a hockey/roller derby rink, dog park, skate park, and the disc golf course ... bravo, Cottonwood!
I like disc golf so much for a couple different reasons - first, it is a fun outdoor activity by myself or with friends - and second, it is basically a nice long nature walk with a little something extra to do along the way ... the nature aspect is especially highlighted on this course due to it's location running through the riparian zone between the park and the river.
The disc golf course is well layed out and super fun to play. There are a few wide open, let'er rip type holes, but most of the holes involve threading your disc between plenty of trees - or in my case, bouncing my disc off the trees. :lol: I played all 18 holes, but I threw two discs at each, so my arm played 36 holes - probably be sore tomorrow.
Hole number 8 passes closest to the river, and the sweet sound of running water lured me away from my game for a while. I walked along the water and got to watch a cormorant dive for, catch, and swallow a fish that seemed absurdly large for him. He seemed justifiably proud of his catch ... then went and sat on a tree stump to rest and digest. Also saw a red-tailed hawk in one of the large trees on the course, as well as hummingbirds, doves, woodpeckers, and a lizard.
Next I went next door to Dead Horse State Park and strolled along the river from there. I came upon an area where beavers have been busy. I hear that there are otters in the area too - can't wait to see them! 10 minutes later I noticed that my sunglasses were missing, and began to retrace my steps without much hope of actually finding them - but I did!
When I got back to my car, I noticed a very large bird in a very tall tree - thought "turkey vulture" - but when I got out the binoculars ... lo and behold, bald eagle baby! :y:
Pretty fine day off. I like this area a lot, and once I get my housing situation worked out and get a decent place of my own, I think I will be very happy here! The way I anticipate things going is, I will be working and living in Camp Verde, but spending a lot of time playing in Cottonwood.
Dead Horse Ranch State Park
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Stayed in the cabins - Cabin #4, Deer - and had a great time! The cabins are cozy, with beds, table and chairs, dresser, lights, ceiling fan, heater, picnic table and fire ring and barbeque outside ... the cabin area has it's own bathrooms with showers.
Fishing in the lagoons sucked - they are very shallow, with lots of weeds to get tangled up in. We enjoyed fishing the Verde River more - my friend pulled a good sized largemouth bass out of there, and I just missed missed hooking a few good bites.
Ate at the Red Rooster Cafe - good breakfast/lunch, and the Schoolhouse Restaurant - fairly pricey, but amazing food.
Dead Horse Ranch State Park
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After a full day of Jerome, National Monuments & State Parks I was beat and ready to settle in at my last destination of the day. This was my first visit to Dead Horse and where I had a cabin waiting for me. I checked in, unloaded my stuff and then spent the rest of the evening exploring the park. I first looped the lagoons, found a nice place along the Verde river for a swim and then checked out the first mile of the Lime Kiln Trail. Returned back to my cabin just after sunset, ate dinner and then spent about an hour photographing the night skies before turning in for the night and ending a wonderful day #2 of my road trip!

Dead Horse Ranch SP was nice. I didn't have enough time to see the entire park or hike all the trails, but what I did see was enough to convince me that it's worthy of another future visit & stay.

Permit $$
AZ State Parks more info
2018 Day Use Fees range from $2–$30

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
From Phoenix: Take I-17 N to exit 287. This is Highway 260. Go west on Hwy 260 to Cottonwood to the intersection with Hwy 89A/Main Street. Turn left on Main Street and proceed to N. 10th Street, where you turn right. Continue on N. 10th Street across the Verd River Bridge to the entry station.

From Flagstaff: Take Hwy 89A south through Sedona to Cottonwood. Proceed on 89A/Main Street to N. 10th Street, then turn right. Continue on N. 10th Street across the Verd River Bridge to the entry station.
page created by fotogirl53 on Dec 09 2008 10:37 pm
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