There is a trail for everyone in Camp Verde. Whether you are hiking with the family, or doing a solo trip, each trail near or in Camp Verde offers beautiful scenery, a chance to observe birds and other wildlife, and to explore the various flora in and around the Verde Valley.
The following trail selection gives a taste of the outdoor opportunities that the Verde Valley has to offer.
Apache Maid Trail
Branching off the north side of the Bell Trail, about two miles from the trailhead, Apache Maid Trail leads hikers out of Beaver Creek Wilderness and onto the high plateau above. The trail ultimately leads to the fire lookout atop Apache Maid Mountain, but most hikers stop once the reach the plateau as the last 7.5 miles of the 10-mile long trail are often difficult to follow and there is no permanent water.
Unquestionably one of the most visited and scenic trails in the area, the Bell Trail wanders along Wet Beaver Creek and its many deep and shady pools. Originally built to move cattle between the high country and the Valley floor, it is also the likely path by which the first Spanish visitors entered the valley in 1583, looking for gold.
Bull Pen Trailhead
Located at the base of West Clear Creek Canyon, the 7.5-mile Bull Pen Trail wanders along the creek for several miles before exiting the canyon on the north side at Blodgett Basin. Remote and beautiful, West Clear Creek will not disappoint those looking to leave civilization behind. Prepare to wade the stream at several locations and keep an eye out for thunderstorms and flash floods.
Chasm Creek Trailhead
Steep, rugged and listed in several trail guides as “Difficult,” the Chasm Creek Trail leads into Cedar Bench Wilderness, one of the least visited of Arizona’s many wilderness areas. It is widely believed that Chasm Creek was the entry point for one of the earliest visits to the Valley, when in 1864 Territorial Governor John Goodwin came to the Verde River looking for a spot to locate the state capitol.
Cold Water Trail
Many authors have speculated that the Cold Water Trail was originally used by the military to transport men and supplies between Fort Verde (originally Camp Lincoln) and Fort McDowell. But there is little evidence to prove that was ever the case and, given the rough country through which it passes, more than enough evidence to prove it would have been nearly impassable. The 5.4-mile long trail begins at Brown Springs, south of Camp Verde, and climbs 2,500 feet to the Forest Road 68 on the Verde Rim.
Copper Canyon Trailhead
Copper Canyon Trail is a multi-use trail that runs from the Verde Rim to the Valley floor. Accessible to OHV’s, horseback rider, mountain bikers and hikers, the trail follows the same path used by thousands of early settlers. A new trailhead located just off Salt Mine Road is equipped with picnic ramadas, restrooms, and OHV loading ramps.
Grief Hill Trailhead
Grief Hill was one of the earliest entry points for settlers and military units coming from Prescott, bound for the Verde Valley. Treacherous and steep, it was also the site of several ambushes by Yavapai and Apache warriors attempting to stem the invasion of their homeland. The actual trail goes east from the trailhead, rounding Hull Hill before heading up into the Black Hills.
The historic Mail Trail follows the route once ridden by mail raiders delivering mail to and from Camp Verde and Payson. The same route was used as early as the late 1860’s as a path from Fort Verde to Camp Reno on the Tonto Basin. The trail covers a section of that path from State Route 260 south to Fossil Creek. Bring water.
Nelson Place is the preferred entry point to Pine Mountain Wilderness Area and a favorite for hikers and backpackers. It is accessed via Forest Road 68, also known as the Dugas Road, just ten miles south of Camp Verde off Interstate 17. The trail leads from Nelson Place, the last spot with reliable year around water, before ascending to the 6,814 summit of Pine Mountain. If you go in the spring, be prepared to witness an invasion of ladybugs, which often blanket high points along the rim.
This six-mile long trail is another one of the difficult trails leading into the rugged but spectacular Cedar Bench Wilderness Area. Rising over 2,000 feet in 6 miles, the seldom used Oxbow Trail traverses the Gap Creek Drainage, a year around stream, on their way to the Verde Rim.
Ryal Canyon Trailhead
Ryal Canyon Trail is located at 2425 S. Salt Mine Road, and accessible off Oasis Road at State Road 260. This 3 to 6 hour round trip hike is for those looking for a fierce workout. Steep climbs and rocky terrian make up this five mile hike, but you’ll be rewarded with beautiful views of the San Francisco Peaks, Sedona, Camp Verde, and the Verde River greenbelt along the way. Hike this trail during Spring, Fall or Winter; limited shade will make it difficult for Summer.
Towel Creek Trail
Towel Creek Trail is one of the few trails in the area that accesses the Verde River. Taking off from Fossil Springs Road (FR708), nine miles from its junction with State route 260, the trail follows a jeep path a couple of miles before descending Towel Creek to the river. Hikers are rewarded with the view of an ancient Sinaguan cliff dwelling on the north side of the trail, just prior to reaching the Verde River.
Verde Rim Trail
The Verde Rim Trail runs along the spine of the 6,000-foot elevation ridgeline, looming south and west of the Verde River. The eight-mile trail runs from Pine Mountain north towards the Cedar Bench Wilderness and offers spectacular views of the rugged country through which the lower Verde River passes, as well as the Mazatzal Mountain to the east and the Bradshaw Mountains to the west.
Walker Basin Trail
Walker Basin is currently under consideration as a federally protected wilderness area. The trail, which takes off just east of Forest Road 618, south of the V Bar V Heritage Site, follows a historic cattle trail starting about 4,000 feet before ascending a 5,300 foot plateau. Walker Basin Trail is accessible by vehicle from either end offering an opportunity to hike it one way if you make arrangements drop a vehicle or get someone to pick you up.
Located just off 89A at the summit of the Black Hills, Woodchute Trail leads to the 7,834-foot summit of Woodchute Mountain, the highest peak in the Black Hills. The trail is level until reaching Woodchute Tank, where is begins a steep assent to the top of the flat-top peak. When it eventually winds out of the forest you are treated to a bird’s-eye view of the Verde Valley, the Sedona red rocks and the distant San Francisco Peaks.