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Coconino National Forest
Stage 1 Fire Restrictions Aug 14th to TBD
Let's not get too excited. This is a neat little Arizona feature. It's definitely 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 water ways 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 it's way cross country down and passing through Cornville. If you look at a map you'll understand why Cornville exist. 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. Now these colors are very dark shades so you need to look closely, but you can see it for yourself. 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 water ways 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 take 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 a 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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