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mini location map2001-10-20
20 by photographer avatarDesertboots
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Verde Hot SpringsCamp Verde, AZ
Camp Verde, AZ
avatar Oct 20 2001
150 AEG
150 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
If you take the 23 mile drive in from Camp Verde, you'll pass by Stehr Lake. Just after this, you'll drive up over the pass and descend into the Verde River drainage. You'll begin to see the Childs Power Plant and all the power lines. They aren't too bad, really. You'll come to a crossing where the sign will point to the power plant and then to the campground. Go on to the campground. The road is very, very rough. I saw some passenger cars, but I would recommend at least a high clearance vehicle. We were in a Kia Sportage, and it made it fine.

Park at the campground. Look for the trailhead at the top of the campground away from the river. It's near the power plant, so if you follow the sound of the gushing water, you'll find it. You'll cross a wooden bridge that goes over the flumes coming out of the power plant. I believe the same flume from the Flume Trail feeds this plant as well.

After you cross the bridge, you'll come to the first trail sign. Stay on this trail and at around ¼ mile you'll come to a fork in the road where one branch goes right and up a hill. There is a sign at the top of the hill. This is the second marker. When you get to the top, you can see that the sign directs you exactly.

The trail levels out and you'll be walking a road. I don't know where this road comes from or where it goes. You'll pass a corral. Start looking across the river for a couple of Palms and a wall. This is the remains of a resort that was built in 1922. By the 1940's it was closed. There was an attempted comeback, but the hotel burned in 1962. Such a shame, as I think it would be a really neat place to stay. But, in a way, it's not so bad as it's difficult access keeps it crowd-free.

After you spot the palms, look for a couple of Cairns. Go between these and follow the trail to the edge of the river. This is where you will cross. You can cross anywhere, really, but I recommend this because it only gets knee deep. Other places it gets chest deep, and who knows how much deeper. I didn't have an extra pair of shoes, or my trusty Tevas, so I ended up getting my top of the line Montrail backpacking quality boots nice and squishy. They are indeed waterproof boots, but I discovered, and you may think this is just as astonishing as I did, but the boots are apparently no longer waterproof once you go in water that is knee-deep.

Once up on the other side, go left and follow the trail to the hot springs. Now, I must warn the gentle reader at this point. This is a favorite spot for nudists. If you are offended by nekkid folks, turn back now and no one gets hurt. If you are not put off by naked people, then feel free to drop trou and hop in. The water is fine. I chose to change into a bathing suit as I am deeply ashamed of my body like a good Catholic should be. I found a great little place a little past the bathing areas where I could hide and change into a swimsuit.

As a warning, however, it is posted at the campground that nudity is prohibited. I think there is a $250 fine for those discovered in the buff. So, if you want to go that way, you have to roll the dice and take your chances. The people who were going commando out there when I was there didn't seem to worry about getting caught. There was a couple there, clothed, who had their two little boys with them. Technically, for there to be naked strangers around the kids, it's a felony offense. So I'm just saying, be careful. It is remote, but you never know.

Ergo, I have only a few carefully taken photos of the bathing area. This is a G-Rated website, after all.

You follow the same trail out as you came in on.

If you so choose, you can go back toward Strawberry by continuing on Fossil Springs Road after you come up off the Childs Power Plant road. This will take you by the Flume Trail trailhead, and the Fossil Springs trailhead. Both are outstanding hikes and go back to yet another fantabulous spring. Fossil Spring, however, is chilly!
Named place
Named place
Stehr Lake
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