The Verde River
The Verde River is one of the Southwest's last free flowing rivers, running 170 miles from its headwaters in the Big Chino Valley to its confluence with the Salt River, east of Phoenix. Along with providing water to millions of Arizonans, the river is home to dozens of species of mammals, reptiles, birds and fish, including several that are threatened or endangered.
The Verde River and the web of irrigation ditches that trail along its banks nourishe a mile-wide greenbelt, which defines Camp Verde in ways that no other natural feature comes close. It and its tributaries, Oak Creek, Wet Beaver Creek and West Clear Creek, is the reason humans have made the valley home for more than 10,000 years. Today it is fueling an agricultural renaissance as well as becoming a recreational asset.
Over the last 25 years, the Verde River's reputation as a destination for canoers and kayakers of all levels of expertise has grown. The 18 miles of river passing through Camp Verde consists of a series of deep pools and riffles, perfect for beginners. For those who prefer a more exhilarating ride, Camp Verde is the jumping off spot for a 41 mile long Wild and Scenic stretch, running south from Camp Verde to the Sheep Bridge upstream of Horseshoe Lake.
The Verde River is accessible to day users, boaters and overnight campers along the entire stretch passing through the Verde Valley. Please respect private landowners and only use the sites included on the Verde River Greenways' Paddle Guides and American Rivers' Blue Trails mobile-friendly Verde River Map
American Rivers Blue Trails Mobile Guide Open or Close
The American Rivers Blue Trails Verde River Guide features a mobile-friendly interactive map that highlights river access points, hazards, and points of interest. Learn about upcoming events, local wildlife, and the river’s unique ecosystem.
Verde River Boating Guide Open or Close
The links below take you to a three-part boating guide for the Verde River. Please keep in mind that the Verde River is susceptible to seasonal flooding, which can result in considerable changes to its course. Check with the Forest Service regarding current conditions.
Verde River Hot Springs Open or Close
The Verde River Hot Springs is the remains of an extensive hot-spring resort, with several pools still available for bathing. Verde Hot Spring was at one time a thriving resort complete with hotel and several baths. Today, all that remains is the foundation for the resort, one main pool, and several more in the cliffside. The main pool is located on the foundation of the resort, overlooking the Verde River. The water in the main pool is about 98 degrees F and there is enough room for several people. The pool is also quite deep, allowing for bathing without having to crouch down as with many other springs. There is a small concrete-block room with a pool of water inside. There are also pools of hot-spring water in the cliffside, where small caves have been cut. The Coconino National Forest maintains a popular dispersed camping area near the springs.
Verde Valley Kayak & Canoe Rental Open or Close
Pick up canoes in Camp Verde and spend a weekend camping at Blue Ridge Reservoir or other places in Northern Arizona. Or kayak the verde river in Camp Verde or Cottonwood near beautiful Sedona Arizona. Guided river tours or shuttle service available or pick up boats and do your own river run and shuttle. Single-seat kayaks are just for a 24 hour period and 2-person kayak or canoes are available for $50 for a 24 hour period. Each additional kayak or canoe is only $25. Each additional day is only $25/per boat. Shuttle or guide service is only $30/per group.
We use a beautiful family friendly section of the Verde River in Cottonwood that lasts 2 and 1/2 to 3 hours - or spend time swimming or enjoying the beaches along the way and make a day of it. We also use a 5 - 6 hour stretch for all day ventures when the river flow allows.
White Bridge Picnic Site Open or Close
White Bridge Picnic Site is a developed picnic area with toilets and picnic tables located on the southeast corner of the junction of State Route 260 and the Verde River. Operated by the Forest Service, White Bridge is a popular launch site for boaters headed to Beasley Flat or Clear Creek access points. It is also a popular site for fishing and nature viewing. Overnight camping is not permitted. Facilities include four picnic tables with pedestal grills, a ramada and toilets, along with a paved ramp leading to the Verde River.
Wild and Scenic Fossil Creek Open or Close
Fossil Creek, one of two “Wild and Scenic” rivers in Arizona, seems to appear out of nowhere, gushing 20,000 gallons a minute out of a series of springs at the bottom of a 1,600 foot deep canyon. Over the years these calcium laden waters have laid down huge deposits of a material called travertine. That rock-like substance encases whatever happens to fall into the streambed – forming the fossils for which the area is named. Most people come to Fossil Creek to sunbathe, wade, hike and birdwatch. It’s also a great place to take photographs. The lushness of the riparian area strikes a sharp contrast to the brittle desert that surrounds it. While you’re here, keep an eye out for javelina. These collie dog-sized wild pigs are plentiful in the area.
Wild and Scenic Verde River Open or Close
The Verde River is one of Arizona’s only two Wild and Scenic Rivers, yet it remains relatively undiscovered as a recreational resource. That doesn’t mean this clear desert stream has little to offer. It’s an excellent place to fish for a number of species including trout, which the Arizona Game and Fish Department has begun stocking on a put and take basis. The Verde is also becoming more and more popular for recreational boating. Some stretches provide scenic canoeing among long pools and manageable riffles. Other sections become exciting whitewater runs during the spring snow melt or after late summer thunderstorms.