Wednesday, May 19, 2010

EAST VERDE RIVER WALK

EAST VERDE RIVER WALK Tonto National Forest As most access points for the East Verde River along Houston Mesa Road remain closed due to the 2009 Water Wheel Fire (as of May 2010), it’s still possible to (legally) experience the cool swimming holes, lush riparian vegetation and reed-rimmed beaches of this perennial waterway via the pullouts along the road to East Verde Estates north of Payson. Well-known among the locals, this place attracts droves of visitors in search of shady picnic spots and refreshing swimming holes--especially on weekends. Hiking in this area is a make-it-up-as-you-go venture, requiring bush wacking, wading, and trudging through soft sands. Although this part of the East Verde isn’t nearly as spectacular as the Houston Mesa strip where amazing waterfalls flow year-round ---for now, this is as good as it gets. LENGTH: optional easily 2-miles one-way RATING: easy—but rocky and sandy, wading ELEVATION: 4,900 feet BEST SEASONS: March -November GETTING THERE: From Payson, go north on SR 87 to the turnoff for East Verde Estates located between mileposts 257 & 258. Turn left and continue 0.2 miles to a parking lot on the left where there’s a restroom and picnic tables. Additional parking is available in a lot that veers right just yards from the SR 87 turnoff. INFORMATION: Payson Ranger District (928) 474-7900