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Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Verde River

A trip to Old Town Cottonwood just isn't complete without a stroll under the "Gateway to the Verde River" archway that leads to a hike along the Jail Trail. Debarking from the site of a rustic old jail building, which is now home to a quaint tea house, the mile long, easy trail follows the banks of the river through River Front Park and on to Dead Horse Ranch State Park. The trail is shaded by thick tangles of willows and enormous cottonwood trees towering over the running water, cattail ringed coves and rock strewn flood plains. With reliable water and ample nesting spots, this riparian corridor is a productive birding location with hundreds of resident, seasonal and migratory species gracing the property. The hike can be enjoyed year-round as it cycles through the seasons. During the leafless winter months, the riparian corridor is as enchanting as ever with the benefit of bare branches giving clear views of roosting raptors and flocks of red-winged blackbirds. Springtime brings a flurry of chartreuse leaf shoots and fluffy catkins that mature into emerald canopies of cooling shade that last through summer. The balmy days and cool nights of late October turn the leaves into a spectacle of gold and russet. So whether you're visiting Cottonwood for a day of wine tasting, antique shopping or a scenic drive, a walk along the Verde River is de rigueur and the Jail Trail is the easiest path to the water.
LENGTH: 1 mile one-way
RATING: easy
ELEVATION: 3300' - 3290'
From Phoenix, travel north on Interstate 17 to the Camp Verde exit 287. Head 10 miles east on State Route 260 toward Cottonwood and Jerome. When SR260 intersects with Main St./State Rt. 89A/Historic 89A, take a left. When State Rt. 89A separates at the light, stay on Main St./Historic 89A to get to Old Town. Continue through Old Town to where the road makes a sharp left turn just past Yavapai Street. Look for the “Gateway to the Verde River” archway and park in the lot on the right at 1101 N. Main Street.
INFO: Sedona Verde Valley Tourism Council
Birding info:

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