Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Arizona is close to Cottonwood in the Verde Valley in central Arizona. The park encompasses 423 acres at an elevation of 3,300 feet, making it an ideal place to view wildlife and fish in the fall, winter and spring. Visitors who come to the park in the summer find that the early morning temperatures are more comfortable, although wading the Verde River offers a cool retreat from the warm summer sunshine.
The Dead Horse Ranch State Park has overnight camping where guests can stay for 14 consecutive days. The park has large RV sites, tent sites and group camping facilities. Campers can use the free showers and restrooms at the park. Most of the camping sites have electricity and the park prohibits running generators. The maximum length for RVs or truck campers is 65 feet. Each of the camping areas within the park have sites that are ADA compliant. Fires are permitted within the park in designated picnic areas and campgrounds. Campers must bring their own or purchase it locally. The state prohibits gathering dead wood within Dead Horse Ranch State Park. Fires may be completely prohibited in this park when fire danger is high. The state can ban outdoor smoking and barbecues, as well, during dry periods.
Campers who prefer a little more luxury can rent one of eight camping cabins. These one-room log cabins have a fire ring outdoors, a picnic table, bunk beds and a table with chairs indoors. Visitors must furnish their own linens. The cabins include a ceiling fan and have electricity. Reservations are necessary for the cabins, and guests must pay a deposit to hold the cabins.
This park has a number of hiking trails of varying length and difficulty. The Dead Horse Ranch State Park allows horses on some of the trails. The Verde River Greenway is two-mile long trail that hugs the banks of the Verde River where hikers can view the diverse wildlife that live in and around the river. Many species of birds overwinter in this park. The wildlife in the region includes coyotes, javelina, white-tailed deer, bobcats, skunks and mule deer. Rattlesnakes are also present and care needs to be exercised when the weather is warm. Rattlesnakes like riparian habitats and the Verde River provides food and shelter for the snakes.
The fishing in this part of Arizona is good, aided by the state’s stocking activities. Species in the river and lagoons include rainbow trout in the winter months, channel catfish, largemouth bass, bluegills, trout and crappie. Anglers must get a fishing license issued by the state to fish in Arizona’s rivers and lakes. All kinds of watercraft are allowed on the river, although motorboats face some restrictions with regard to the areas they can access.
The park is open all year long for camping and the state recommends reservations. The park can be crowded in the spring, so campers need to make sure that they can find a spot. The state has a 14-day limit for stays within any 30-day period. The park’s phone number is 928-634-528-3675.