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Oak Creek - Verde River Confluence, AZ

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Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 0.55 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,220 feet
Elevation Gain -56 feet
Accumulated Gain 129 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 30 minutes
Kokopelli Seeds 1.2
Interest Off-Trail Hiking & Perennial Creek
Backpack No
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
2  2014-09-28 The_Eagle
4  2007-09-10 joebartels
5  2001-03-25 joebartels
Author joebartels
author avatar Guides 241
Routes 829
Photos 12,070
Trips 4,849 map ( 24,809 miles )
Age 51 Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
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Preferred   Feb, Nov, Mar, Jan → Any
Seasons   ALL
Sun  5:15am - 7:44pm
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Meeting Grounds
by joebartels

Let's not get too excited. This is a neat little Arizona feature. It's not something to plan your day around. If you happen to be driving through Cottonwood, check it out.

Just a few miles southeast of downtown Cottonwood is the confluence of Oak Creek and the Verde River. Paved roads take you within a mile of the scene. The final mile is easily doable in a car as long as it isn't raining or muddy.

If you've hiked much in Arizona, I'm sure you've crossed both these waterways at some time or another. Oak Creek starts north of Sedona near the lower end of Pumphouse Wash in Sterling Canyon. It hugs 89A all the way down near the "Y" in Sedona. From here, it works its way cross country down and passing through Cornville. If you look at a map, you'll understand why Cornville exists. Whereas in Sedona, Oak Creek shoots pretty straight. In Cornville, it zig-zags all over the map. Now the Verde, on the other hand, is one of Arizona's well-known rivers.

What's cool about this confluence is the mixing of the waters. Oak Creek is a deep red coming down from the red rocks of Sedona. The Verde, on the other hand, means green in Spanish. It really is green when viewed from above. These colors are very dark shades, so you need to look closely. I caught it without question at first glance, wearing my sunglasses. When I took them off, it wasn't nearly as noticeable, so take a pair along.

So what does this have to do with hiking!? Well, there isn't a trail to hike, but you can follow the waterways and play around. You drive up to the edge of a small cliff that overlooks the confluence. It's best viewed right there from the edge. A short path takes you down to Oak Creek, and you can venture on from there if you like. Less than a quarter-mile up Oak Creek are some ruins on the left. Known as the Atkeson Ruins. Once again, don't get too excited. They're on private property. You can get close enough to satisfy your curiosity.

In the first photo below you can see that Oak Creek gently pours in the Verde River. It's hard to make out the color differential in the photo. I can only imagine how awesome a site this would be after heavy rain. This is one of those things that it's almost cooler knowing that you've seen it than actually seeing it.

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2001-03-25 joebartels
  • 2021 Verde Valley Trails
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    2021 Verde Valley Trails
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    2021 Verde Valley Area
  • 2021 Sedona Trails Map
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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.

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Directions
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FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

To hike
From the Sedona 'Y' ( 179/89A ) go west on 89A towards the town of Cottonwood. About 17 miles to Cornville Road (FR119). Turn left (east) and follow 1 mile to Tissaw Road. Turn right onto Tissaw and follow 3.2 miles to Thede Lane. Turn left onto Thede Lane (which says DEAD END) and follow 0.65 miles to roughly a three-way fork. Take the far right fork (FR 9811) 0.4 miles to the overlook. The middle fork (FR 9813) takes you up close to the Atkeson Pueblo Ruins in 0.2 miles. The ruins are on private land but you get a good view. The left fork takes you through a wash to private property, I'd stay off the left fork.

From Cottonwood: Cornville Road is about 2 miles east on 89A from the corner of 89A and SR 260.
90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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