Sunday, January 30, 2022

Our Last Couple of Days in Cottonwood, AZ and the RV Park

Cottonwood, AZ   Thousand Trails Verde Valley RV Park. High: 60's, Low: anywhere from high twenties to low forties at night. Site: G10

T-Mobile mifi signal: terrible  AT&T iPhone hot spot: not bad, but slow

Forgot to mention our RV park in detail! Thousand Trails Verde Valley is in the city of Cottonwood, AZ. Nestled in the mountains around Cottonwood and 25 miles from downtown Sedona, famous for beautiful red rock formations. There are 340 sites here. 

The park is a series of tiered drive in and down a steep hill going past different sections. The coveted section is at the top with the most incredible view--"M" section. Levels M, K, I, and J are the best for view. The main road is very good here, no potholes like so many Thousand Trails parks!

The view from the highest level

Our membership lets us stay here for free, BUT you have to pay 10 dollars a day extra for electric in the higher leveled sections. Mid sections are 5.00 a day extra for electric. As you proceed down the hills into the valley, you encounter many more sections, a total of nine, and the further down you go, the more crowded the sections become and the sites spaced closer together. At the bottom of the valley in the closer sites, you do NOT have to pay for electric. There are 62 new sites with full hookups. We are in "G" section, one of the newer sections--we get to look at gray, sandy rocky hills and pay 5.00 extra for electric in this section. BUT--the sites in this section are HUGE and spacious. 

mid section
There is a pool here, it was not open, but the hot tub was. There's a nice basketball court, shuffleboard, mini golf, horseshoe pits, a game room, a nice large meeting hall, two lodges and propane service. The propane service is run very efficiently. They actually have a staging area, and Mondays thru Fridays, from 11:30-12:00, you pull into the propane parking lot and get in line. The price was VERY reasonable--2.99 a gallon. We paid 4.00 a gallon in Elkhart! There was never much of a wait at all while we were here. They accept packages here for a fee of 2.00, so we had our mail forwarded here to get caught up. The Verde River runs along the east side of the park. According to the park map, there is an RC (remote control) run here, if that's your thing. By the way, there is NO laundromat.

hiking trail IN the park

What we love about this park is it is fairly close to Sedona and amazing hiking trails. There are even narrow hiking trails here in the park. They are very uneven, narrow and rocky. It's mountain hiking! Or hill hiking. Wear good hiking shoes, as the rocks slide around. Sparky got a great workout walking from our site (G section) to the top of the hill where the office is located, back down to our site every day, about a mile hike, remembering you are at 3240 feet in elevation. Take meandering trails around the hill to get to the top and you can get more exercise in. Regular biking trails are not in evidence, but there are plenty of mountain biking and hiking trails close to the park and further out in Sedona. 

walking around the three lagoons, beautiful!
Sparky hiked Dead Horse Ranch State Park trails several times just for a different scenery change from the desert. Walk the three lagoons the park for level trails. Lots more trees, greenery, and water there. Lots of cool ducks at the lagoons--the ring necked duck, which does NOT have a ring around its neck, contrary to what you might think! But it does have the coolest looking bill! If you are interested in more trails closer to Sedona, Red Rocks State Park has some great ones and then the Sedona area itself has AMAZING hikes!

Ring necked duck-no ring!

As far as the RV park's location, the Red Rocks are to your north, Mingus Mountains to the west, and the Hackberry Mountains to the south. The famous ghost town of Jerome is close by, and there are several wineries.

There are some really great restaurants here in Cottonwood. We've mentioned Crema--a great breakfast place with heavy southwestern influence on the menu, but pricey, The Belfry Brewery, also mentioned before, (Sparky is all about the local eateries, explains E.) The Red Rooster for breakfast, tasty but expensive, (big ole burrito--15.00!) and the Tavern Grill--terrific food--and that's our favorite! We did not try Sedona restaurants as the town has been super crowded with tourists, and the eateries are not socially distancing, from what we can tell.

Sparky went for one last hike...She tried to do Fay Canyon, a 2.6 mile heavily trackfficked trail-- on a Saturday. Forget that! Cars lined up for MILES on the roads leading to that trail and several more in the vicinity. She turned back to come home, but then saw a few cars at a more obscure trailhead, so she stopped and talked to a couple of mountain bikers. They told her to take the trail they just came off of, as it is a shared trail for hikers and mountain bikers. It was called Canyon of Fools. Here's the start of the trail, through a dirt "canyon". 

The idea is that you'd be foolish to be in this area after heavy rains or storms. The trail evens out and the dirt sides go away and it starts to look like this:

The views were spectacular--as they always are in Sedona with beautiful skies and fair temperatures. The trail was up and down but only slight changes in elevation. There were more hikers on the trail than there were bikers, but you still had to listen for the whiz of the bikes coming down as it is a single track trail in most places. Sparky did about 3 miles and could have done more, but wanted to be sure to get back with plenty of daylight just in case she took a wrong turn somewhere. (That scenario has happened more than once that I know of, says E.) Trail is marked, but not as much as a regular hiking trail, and as long as you are paying attention to the well worn bike trail, you should be fine. This could easily be a five mile hike or more as you can take loops of the side trails--the Yucca, and the Mescal spurs.

Sparky was amazed at how mountain bikes could traverse VERY pointed big rocks right in the middle of the trail, and rocky step like portions in the single track. She would think you could puncture a tire easily, even with special tires. Maybe they have the Kevlar inner protection safeguards, as she has read about. It sure as heck would be a jarring ride! But it looked like fun.
Canyon of Fools trail

And that about sums up our two weeks here in Sedona. We were planning on returning to Sedona after a week in Mesa, but because the temperatures are so cold at night here-- consistently, freezing or lower--- we think we might be headed to Yuma after Mesa instead. And--Sparky would be able to see her youngest brother, Charlie, if we do! Eldo is tired of being in the cold! We shall see...Stay tuned and you will find out where we went. We are going to miss this area despite the cold. So many more hikes to be done. Check out Trip Advisor's top ten hikes in Sedona, if you are interested. We hope to be back here next year in March, when temps won't be quite so frigid at night.


  1. The Sedona Area was always one of our very favorite stops coming or going. Just beautiful. Great pics Jeannie.

  2. Thank you, Janice! I loved it more this time than I did when we were here for a family reunion many years ago. Probably because I got to explore more and see more of it. Those pink jeeps make me smile...(the pink jeep tours).