Posts Tagged ‘Verde River’

Verde River Greenway

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

This weekend:  There will never be a better time to hike Skunk Tank featured in Day and Overbight Hikes – Tonto National Forest.

Don’t be fooled by my misadventures – it’s actually a cool hike.

On the subject of misadventures that turned into cool hkes, we’ll continue on the behind-the-hike series for 5 Star Trails in Flagstaff and Sedona.

Verde Greenway hikes (both of them)

HIKE DATE: May 11 2010


START TIME: 9:15am

END TIME: 2:15p


OFFICIAL MILES: 3 & 4 miles respectively

After I hiked Lime Kiln Trail [], I camped in Dead Horse Ranch State Park [], and did what would become the two Verde Greenway hikes that next day. (My partner for LKT had driven home after the hike).

I actually did 3 versions of Verde Greenway, the first being inside Dead Horse Ranch. That was a nice little stroll through the giant cottonwoods, but it was less than 3 miles round trip (and I still got lost – so probably shorter than that) and not quite cool enough to stand alone.

With some advice from the DHR gift shop, I stumbled upon the Jail Trail, and that led, literally, to everything that followed.

My observation (from somewhere in the front matter) that the more prominently posted the leash law is the more likely locals are to ignore it came from an incident at this park.

I’d liketo tell you more about the Jail but I am currently 0-6 for being in “downtown” Cottonwood when the visitor center is open. The functional downtown of Cottonwood, so you know, is the intersection of AZ 89A and AZ260. That’s where all the major retail chains are located. The historic downtown, though, makes for much better stroll.

The south and north hikes (I did them in that order) were originally conceived and hiked as a loop. Connecting those loops, though, involved about a hundred feet of possible trespassing, and my publisher is quite scrupulous about those things. So scrupulous, in fact, that I shouldn’t even describe the route in this blog (which is hosted by the publisher).

So it became two separate hikes, which worked out better anyway. The book needed more easy hikes, and the connecting route across DHRSP was not five star.

As far as I know, these trails are undocumented outside of my guidebook. I haven’t done an exhaustive search – there are a LOT of Sedona hike guides out there – but none of the usual suspects covered it.

Once again, camera incompetencies impaired video notes, but a few survive, as the You Tube clip below demonstrates.

You Tube Clip

Verde River Trail

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

[Part of our ongoing series of Behind-the-Hike for Day and Overnight Hikes in the Tonto National Forest]

Coming out of the Verde Valley was the closest I came to being in serious trouble in all my guidebook hikes. You know that “example” last post about fltering water from a catrtle pond in a desperate attempt t stave off heat exhaustion? This hike. But we’ll start at the beginning.

Verde Trail #11

“Northern seven-mile section climbs away from the river, and is easy to
travel.”  – USFS

Well, as we shall see, that all depends…

HIKE START: 17 June 2008; 11:40am

HIKE END: 18 June 2008; 5:20pm



This was the last hike of my 10-day run to finish the guidebook, and the next-to-last hike I actually did. With deadline looming, I took my vacation week and plotted out a course that would net me 8 hikes in 10 days – and it almost worked! Most of those hikes are in the central mountains or the Mogollon Rim.

So I woke up that morning in my hammock at the Pine TH, did some laundry at a trailer park in Pine, ate breakfast at the hotel in Strawberry, and rolled on down Fossil Springs Road.

I prodded my poor Buick down 5 miles of FR 194 until I finally ran out of nerve and parked it at the intersection with FR 540, and humped the remaining distance to Twin Buttes TH. I wisely left a couple of gallons of water in my car.

Typical trail conditions on Cedar Bench

Typical trail conditions on Cedar Bench

I love – love – juniper scrub country, but after 7 miles of it, I was actually kinda glad to start seeing chaparral.

My notes declare – in hindsight – that I should have stayed on the dirt path and gone down to the Verde. I did, in fact, take the trace route down to Fossil Creek, where I slapped together a bit of camp, and discovered that one of my wading shoes had fallen from my pack. Undetered, I spent the last hour of remaining daylight splashing about barefoot in the creek, ignoring the voice in my head that warned a foot injury down here becomes a survival scenario.

Coming down towards the Verde River

Coming down towards the Verde River

Finishing my DVR notes, I discovered that machie’s memory was blank. Every DVR note from the past seven hikes had been somehow obliterated! So I spent a few hours that night shooing bugs out of my headlamp as I desperately tried to write down in my pocket notebook every detail I could remember about the previous seven hikes.

I confirmed a principle I had long suspected the truth of: If you can’t remember it without notes, it probably won’t make it under word count anyway.

Also: Transcribe your DVR notes at the first opportunity! Like in the car after the hike.

Also: Don’t take your DVR into the drugstore. I suspect the anti-theft system will wipe out memories. Even in Pine.

I hauled a sleeping bag down for nothing. (In my defense, I had needed it every other night for the past nine days). It didn’t get down below room temperature until well after midnight.

I wasted the cool hours of the following morning in a brutal bushwhack trying to find a route along the shore (or, as it turned out, over a butte, and then over a rocky cliff) to the Verde River trail proper. I foolishly thought such a dircet route would be less annoying than the field of burrs I had originally descended through.

If you ever feel the urge to scramble over boulders in a 40 lb pack – resist it. Stay on the damn trail. GAFDE.

I found the trail, then the Verde River, and spent a good hour flopped out in a little swimming hole there until I knew I had to get going.

[Here is where I’d insert photos of both the banks of Fossil Creek and the bank of the Verde so you could compare and contrast, but I’m out of space again. I do however, have an album on Facebook with more photos.]

On my way back up, I flirted with heat exhaustion.  was too hot to eat more than half an energy bar all the way up, but, as we alluded too, I was thirsty enough to drink almost anything.

Bull Tank is the name of where I spent some time filtering green slime through a handkerchief into a Nalgene bottle. Happily, Auqumira kills everything! That was a long wait to drink chemically-shocked slime, but I was glad to have it.

I was even happier making it back to the car, where the means to make a gallon of warm Gatorade awaited.

The original plan was to camp at that very spot, and finish the run with Fossil Springs the next day, but I was done – and so were my boots.

Other notes:

* The banks of the Verde are known habitat for Southwest Bald Eagles, and officially closed to traffic from December through June. However, I have been told by Ken Jacobsen, who manages the nest-watching program, that the Verde Trail receives so little traffic that hikers are not a concern to the nest-watchers.  Still, if you see a nest, camp somewhere else.

* The Forest Service publishes a Guide to the Verde – mostly for boaters, but with some useful info for every user – and free. The part I described is around River Mile 20. The Verde River below this portion is called the Graveyard of Canoes by local boaters. Just so ya know.

* Your morning temperature at Twin Buttes TH is likely to be your overnight low down by the river.

*Don’t do this hike in June.

* You can fish on the Verde (with an AZ license) but you cannot fish on Fossil Creek.

* I found my other wading shoe on my way back up.

* I will, someday, do the whole Verde Trail – despite my travails on this first attempt. North – south – I got that much right, anyway.