Did you have a nice Howlween? I hope you got lots of treats! What’s better than candy, especially since I can’t eat it? Finding a great new place to hike! Yes, me and I family discovered yet another neat gem that isn’t too far away.
Dead Horse Ranch State Park is located in Cottonwood, Arizona, which is about an hour north of us. If you live in other parts of the city, you might need to add about a half hour. It’s a straight shot up I-17 north to the Cottonwood exit onto the 260 west toward the town of Cottonwood.
Stay on 260 until 10th and turn right. You will follow signs for the Dead Horse Ranch State Park, ultimately taking another right on Dead Horse Ranch Road. At the entrance to the park, you will need to pay $7 per vehicle. Dogs are permitted on leash, and there are human restrooms.
In fact, this is a park, so there are lots of human restrooms, picnic tables, fishing spots and even camping. The park sits alongside the Verde Valley River, so it has water. I could smell it as soon as we pulled in!
Visiting in the fall is perfect as the temperatures are cooler. However, there are tons of big cottonwood trees, so you would have shade even in the hot summer months. I would watch out for snakes then, though, due to all the marshes.
We walked by lots of tall grasses and enjoyed some fall color along the lagoons. We met some nice humans and other dogs, and quite a few folks were catching. No fishing going on…they were getting nice big ones! Apparently, they just stocked the lagoons. Check the schedule on line to plan accordingly if you want to fish.
We found the story about how the park got its name interesting. As we were walking, mom shared with us how a family from Minnesota came to Arizona in 1940 looking to move. Just like my folks, they gave unique names to each place they visited so they could recall it later. Upon arriving to this one ranch, the Irey’s family saw a dead horse along the road. At the end of their tour, the parents asked the kids which ranch they wanted, and they said, “the one with the dead horse.” The name stuck, and when the land was acquired by Arizona State Parks in 1973, the family insisted the name stay. There you have it! I kept an eye out but saw no dead horse.
I did, however, love all the water! Some of it was full of algae, so mom wouldn’t let me swim in it, but we found where the Verde River feeds in, and that was fresh. Ah! I love a good swim.
After our two-mile loop, we found a covered picnic table and had our lunch. We enjoyed views of Jerome and Mingus Mountain, both of which I have been to. What really impressed us about the park was the tranquility. Although it is very close to the town of Cottonwood, you would think you were out in the middle of nowhere. I suspect we aren’t the only ones who never heard of this park before, so it has remained a local spot.
Now you can go discover it for yourselves…just don’t all go at once. Dad forgot the hammocks, and this would have been an excellent place for naps. I found myself dozing off and then slept the entire way home. Oh, the life I lead. Have a great week.
My mom, Lorraine Bossé-Smith, is kind enough to help me share my Great Adventures, big and small. My mom is a motivational speaker, corporate trainer, executive recruiter, business consultant, coach, fitness expert, and author of nine published books. More importantly, she’s the best doggy mom ever!
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Get outside! You never know what you’ll discover, and our paths just might cross. Happy tails!