navigation bar

Verde River, Arizona
Report by Marc W. McCord

Verde River, Arizona

navigation bar River descriptions categorized by state First Aid and general safety information Southwest Paddler on-line store Southwest Paddler Yellow Pages listings Environmental issues and concerns Photos of rivers and surrounding areas Trip reports with photos How to advertise on Southwest Paddler Advertiser Index Internet links to related information and services Southwest Paddler visitor comments General disclaimer Product Reviews Federal and state navigation laws Credits for contributors Web Campfire

SOAR Inflatable Canoes - Somewhere On A River

The Verde River forms at Sullivan Lake, where Big Chino Wash and Williamson Valley Wash merge south of Paulden in the Big Chino Valley of Yavapai County, then flows south by southeast about 170 miles to its Salt River confluence just northeast of Scottsdale and Phoenix. Along the way, it passes through parts of three national forests (Prescott, Cococino and Tonto), the cities of Cottonwood, Clarkdale and Camp Verde, and lands belonging to various tribes of the Apache Nation, private landowners and the State of Arizona. It is a perennial stream in a state known for its "dry" rivers, but it is not always boatable, and may have navigable flows in some reaches when others are too low to paddle. Its waters come from snowmelt in the mountains around the three forests, as well as seasonal monsoons. Surrounding lands are vastly disparate in nature, ranging from densely-forested upland plateaus to canyons to desert lowlands, each with its own diverse plantlife, animals, birds and fish. Beginning about 70 miles below the headwaters is a reach of 40.5 miles that is designated as "Wild and Scenic" by the US Congress, where the river and surrounding lands are perpetually protected against development and overuse.

The character of the Verde River ranges from easy Class I flatwater to canyons with Class IV to V rapids and waterfall drops. Convenient (and I use the term loosely, because some local roads are less than ideal for vehicular traffic) access points provide paddlers with many choices for trips of various lengths and degrees of difficulty. Campers will find a very remote place to enjoy nature's beauty. The area is rich in outdoors recreational opportunities that include river running, camping, hiking, mountain biking, hunting, fishing, animal and bird watching, nature photography and other activities. The headwaters are a few miles southwest of Flagstaff and just a little further northeast of Prescott. There are three dams on the Verde River, at Sullivan Lake, Horseshoe Reservoir and Bartlett Reservoir, with about 125 free-flowing miles between Sullivan and Horseshoe and another 19 miles between Horseshoe and Bartlett. The river can be hazardous at low flows and at high flows, so careful attention should be paid to river conditions before beginning a downriver trip. Specific characteristics of the river are discussed for various reaches, as described at the links below.

Click the links below for information regarding the section of the Verde River and its tributaries where you want to paddle.

[ US Hwy 89 to Perkinsville ] [ Perkinsville to Beasley Flat ] [ Beasley Flat to Childs ] [ Childs to Horseshoe Reservoir ]
[ Horseshoe Reservoir to Bartlett Reservoir ] [ Bartlett Reservoir to Salt River ] [ East Verde River ] [ Sycamore Creek ]

Southwest Paddler
Click to return to the Southwest Paddler Homepage
Home Page
Southwest Paddler


Arizona Rivers Index
Canoeman River


Guide Services
Canoeman.com
Return to the canoeman.com homepage
Home Page

CobraGraphics - Web Designs with a Bite!

Send E-mail This web page designed, created and maintained by
Marc W. McCord dba CobraGraphics
© March 4, 2003. All rights reserved.
Last updated January 1, 2015

Copyright © 1997-2015, Marc W. McCord dba CobraGraphics. All rights reserved. Southwest Paddler, CobraGraphics and Canoeman River Guide Services are trademarks of Marc W. McCord dba CobraGraphics. The textual, graphic, audio, and audio/visual material in this site is protected by United States copyright law and international treaties. You may not copy, distribute, or use these materials except for your personal, non-commercial use. Any trademarks are the property of their respective owners. All original photographs on this web site are the exclusive property of Marc W. McCord or other designated photographers and may not be copied, duplicated, reproduced, distributed or used in any manner without prior written permission under penalty of US and International laws and treaties.