Planning a trip?
We usually camp close to home in Colorado, but there are some places that make great week-long vacations! Most recently, we spent a week in Cottonwood, Arizona for the second time. There are lots of things to do here and we could spend another week without exhausting them all!
Check out these great things to do around Cottonwood:
Dead Horse Ranch State Park
We camped at Dead Horse Ranch State Park, which is a nice state park with electric and water at most sites. It is HOT in the summer, but we spent a week there in early December and a week over Thanksgiving with great weather, although cold nights and early sunsets. There is great mountain biking, hiking, wine tasting, dining and shopping all within 10 minutes of this campground!
The sites in Quail Loop have trees and shade, but unseen on the map is a huge street light that stays on ALL NIGHT between sites 36 & 37. Sites 22-25 have nice views and are away from the bright light! We stayed in site 35 and the light was mostly blocked by the camper in site 36. Sites 16 & 17 are nice as well; if your bedroom is at the back of your camper, sites 18 - 21 would be good. Sites 11 - 15 are pull through and have nice views and shade. The Red Tail Hawk Loop has great views, but sites are wide open and have almost zero shade or privacy. Site 56 would be the site I would pick next time in the Red Tail loop and in Quail Loop I would try for site16, 25 or 15.
It is about 15 minutes to Jerome, 20 minutes to Sedona, an hour to Prescott and 20 minutes to Camp Verde, making it a great home base to explore the area.
Hiking in Sedona
Clarkdale & Jerome
The hiking in Sedona is top-notch and worth the drive from Cottonwood. Sedona also offers Jeep tours, helicopter tours, vortex tours, mountain bike tours... you get the picture. Some of my favorite hikes in Sedona (so far) are Soldier's Pass and Cave (great trail that goes past the seven sacred pools), Fay Canyon (short, sweet and family-friendly. Don't miss the side path to the arch!), Bell Rock, and the Hangover Loop trail (Munds Wagon trail to Cowpies to Hangover - spectacular trail for experienced hikers and views in every direction!)
Cottonwood Old Town
Cottonwood itself is located in the Verde Valley and is home to many wineries and some great restaurants. We ate at Merin Vineyards, owned by the lead singer of Tool. You can get a Verde Valley wine passport and there is some great mountain biking in the area. We haven't gone in the summer, but paddling the Verde river is on my to-do list.
Watson Lake in Prescott
Riding bikes in the dells at Watson Lake on the Peavine and Iron King trails was fun in Prescott (Check out Prescott e-bikes to rent your e-bike for the day!) and the drive through haunted Jerome was also worth it.
Clarkdale, just outside of Cottonwood, is home to a delicious French bakery, Violette's. En France, locals can spot a good bakery because it has a long line and that was DEFINITELY the case at Violette's! The pastries are on point. While in Clarkdale, take a quick trip to the Tuzigoot National Monument. Tuzigoot has dog-friendly trails and there is a short family-friendly sidewalk around ruins.
Jerome is a small mining town perched high on the mountain overlooking the valley. Haunted Hamburger has a dog-friendly patio for a good burger while watching the sunset. Many of the wineries in Cottonwood have locations here too, so you can taste even more Arizona wine here - but be clear-headed for the drive back to town!
Out of Africa Wildlife Park in Camp Verde
Camp Verde has the Out of Africa wildlife park and we got up close and personal with Bart the sloth and a nose-picking giraffe. This is a great stop for kids and they offer ziplines, safari tours and animal experiences. When we stayed in Cottonwood, we needed a spot for our pup to play while we visited the zoo. Applewood Kennels was a loving place to leave our dog to play all day! They were very sweet with our pup Milo while we visited other animals!