Visit Arizona's Scenic Verde Valley

Verde Valley and Verde River
••• The Cottonwoods Line the Verde River. ¬©Elizabeth R. Rose

Verde Valley Basics:

Location: The Verde Valley is located in the areas surrounding Interstate 17 north of Phoenix and south of Flagstaff, Arizona.
Locator Map
Verde Valley Regional Map

Verde Valley for Visitors:

The Verde Valley is lush because of the Verde River and is a great place to relax with a picnic, happen upon an eagle's nest, or just soak in the small town atmosphere. Compared to Phoenix, the Verde Valley is sparsely populated with less than 65,000 folks, living on 46 square miles of land.

Many small farms and ranches enhance the rural lifestyle. It's a great place to visit for Native American ruins and history as well as more current Wild West history.

John McCain Ranch Location:

Many don't know about the beauty of the Verde Valley, but Senator John McCain and his family certainly do! The McCain ranch is located in Cornville. Locals tell me it's up Page Springs Road and is a very large property with immense lawns. Some refer to the area of McCain's seven-acre property, which is at the end of a dirt road, as Hidden Valley or Page Springs, but because it's within the ZIP code 86325 it's considered part of Cornville.

If you want to get a sense of the beauty that McCain enjoys, visit Page Springs Winery which is in the vicinity and sit on their deck enjoying a glass of their excellent wine.

Verde Canyon Railway:

I fell in love with the Verde River as I enjoyed a leisurely trip on the Verde Canyon Railway.

You, too, can take a train trip through a beautiful canyon in central Arizona. The Verde Canyon Railroad (formerly the Verde Valley Railroad) of Arizona was originally built to support Arizona's richest copper mine, located in Jerome. Now visitors enjoy the Verde Canyon Railway excursions to enjoy a relaxing trip, view the natural surroundings and participate in the railroad's special events.

Sedona:

Oak Creek runs through Sedona and provides a bit of the same feel as the Verde River, but Sedona is a completely separate destination. With it's famous Red Rocks and mysterious vortexes, Sedona attracts visitors from all over the world and doesn't have the small town country feel of the rest of the Verde Valley. More on Sedona.

Native American History:

The people that settled this Valley came for the water and the rich life along the river. Visitors can enjoy the massive "Montezuma's Castle," cliff dwellings, drive a little farther north and hike in to see Montezuma's Well and take a side trip to Tuzigoot National Monument with some great ruins to explore and a visitors center.

Verde Valley Wine Trail:

The beautiful Verde Valley of Arizona, with towering cottonwood trees and ever-changing skies, is a far cry from the hustle and bustle of better known wine areas such a California's Napa-Sonoma Valleys. Travel along northern Arizona's Verde Valley Wine Trail and you will discover some new restaurants and wineries and find yourself slowing your pace and easing in to a state of relaxation. More on the Verde Valley Wine Trail.

Historic Jerome:

Jerome is a hillside mining town overlooking the Verde Valley.

According to AZJerome.com, Founded in 1876, Jerome was once the fourth largest city in the Arizona Territory but eventually became a ghost town! In 1967 Jerome was designated a National Historic District by the federal government. Today Jerome is a thriving tourist and artist community with a population of about 450. A great way to wander the streets of Jerome is to attend the town's First Saturday Art Walks.

Clarkdale:

Clarkdale is a cute little Verde Valley town and is home to the Verde Canyon Railway. Clarkdale is known as the gateway to the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Area in the beautiful Verde Valley. It was founded as a place for copper miners to house their families.

The Verde Valley is Green, Lush and Peaceful:

Arizona's Verde Valley is a place to go to get away from the cacti and desert scenery and enjoy springs, streams and lush cottonwood trees.

It's a bit different... no big cities, a small town America atmosphere and historical tales to tell.

I enjoy the Verde Valley because it's... well... green! I've seen eagles while riding the Verde Canyon Railroad and have reflected on the lives of the Sinagua as I walked along the paths of Montezuma's Castle. It's a place to go to relax... to recapture the feel of a more simple time.

If you want a little excitement, the Yavapai-Apache Nation owns Cliff Castle Casino.

If you like Wild West history, you'll find it in the Verde Valley. Camp Verde tells the tales of the cavalry and white settlers coming to Arizona and hosts re-enactments.

Attractions such as the Out of Africa Wild Life Park and the Verde Canyon Railroad draw visitors.

The Verde Valley is a place that you might just pass by as you drive north from Phoenix, but as I have found, it's worth a few days to explore and enjoy.