Thursday, July 2, 2009
RAPTOR HILL Dead Horse Ranch State Park A hike up Raptor Hill drives home the important impact the Verde River has on the surrounding landscape. Climbing the arid hillsides above the river, startling contrasts between the high desert scrublands and the green river gorge below assault the senses. The abrupt transition from a moist, burgeoning oasis to a parched lunar-scape happens in just 500 feet of vertical hiking. From high points along the trail, the ancient ruins of Tuzigoot National Monument and remnants of 20th century mining operations dotting the mountainsides frame unobstructed views of the Verde’s rare and fragile ribbon of life. HIGHLIGHTS: Visual vantage points above the Verde River LENGTH: 6 miles round-trip RATING: moderate ELEVATION: 3,350’ – 3,850’ GETTING THERE: From the park entrance, follow the main road to Flycatcher Road (2nd road on the left) where there’s a “Tavasci Marsh” sign. Follow this road less than a mile to the signed parking area. Information: Visit pr.state.az.us/Parks/parkhtml/deadhorse.html or call (928) 634-5283 Fee: There’s a $6 day use fee per vehicle.