The Verde River is one of the Southwest’s last free flowing rivers, running 170 miles from its headwaters in the Big Chino Valley to its confluence with the Salt River, east of Phoenix. Along with providing water to millions of Arizonans, the river is home to dozens of species of mammals, reptiles, birds and fish, including several that are threatened or endangered.
The Verde River and the web of irrigation ditches that trail along its banks nourish a mile-wide greenbelt, which defines Camp Verde in ways that no other natural feature comes close. It and its tributaries, Oak Creek, Wet Beaver Creek and West Clear Creek, is the reason humans have made the valley home for more than 10,000 years. Today it is fueling an agricultural renaissance as well as becoming a recreational asset.
Over the last 25 years, the Verde River’s reputation as a destination for canoers and kayakers of all levels of expertise has grown. The 18 miles of river passing through Camp Verde consists of a series of deep pools and riffles, perfect for beginners. For those who prefer a more exhilarating ride, Camp Verde is the jumping off spot for a 41 mile long Wild and Scenic stretch, running south from Camp Verde to the Sheep Bridge upstream of Horseshoe Lake.
The Verde River is accessible to day users, boaters and overnight campers along the entire stretch passing through the Verde Valley. Please respect private landowners and only use the sites included on the Verde River Greenways’ Paddle Guides and American Rivers’ Blue Trails mobile-friendly Verde River Map
Places to Visit
White Bridge Picnic Site
White Bridge Picnic Site is a developed picnic area with toilets and picnic tables located on the southeast corner of the junction of State Route 260 and the Verde River. Operated by the Forest Service, White Bridge is a popular launch site for boaters headed to Beasley Flat or Clear Creek access points. It is also a popular site for fishing and nature viewing. Overnight camping is not permitted. Facilities include four picnic tables with pedestal grills, a ramada and toilets, along with a paved ramp leading to the Verde River.
Verde River Hot Springs
The Verde River Hot Springs is the remains of an extensive hot-spring resort, with several pools still available for bathing. Verde Hot Spring was at one time a thriving resort complete with hotel and several baths. Today, all that remains is the foundation for the resort, one main pool, and several more in the cliffside. The main pool is located on the foundation of the resort, overlooking the Verde River. The water in the main pool is about 98 degrees F and there is enough room for several people. The pool is also quite deep, allowing for bathing without having to crouch down as with many other springs. There is a small concrete-block room with a pool of water inside. There are also pools of hot-spring water in the cliffside, where small caves have been cut. The Coconino National Forest maintains a popular dispersed camping area near the springs.
Verde River Boating Guide
The links below take you to a three-part boating guide for the Verde River. Please keep in mind that the Verde River is susceptible to seasonal flooding, which can result in considerable changes to its course. Check with the Forest Service regarding current conditions.
American Rivers Blue Trails Mobile Guide
The Verde River is home to more than just fish. Dozens of mammals — including Beavers, White Tailed Deer, Otters — and Birds — like Black hawks, Western Tanagers, Bald Eagles –make the Verde River home. You can see many of these animals and birds year round.
Kayak down the Verde!
The Verde River is open for recreational activities including kayaking, canoeing and rafting. The 12 mile stretch from White Bridge to Beasley Flats is a favorite among locals.