Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cycling in Dead Horse Ranch State Park, Cottonwood, AZ

Entrance to the park, and a shady stand of Quetta pines (Pinus brutia subsp. eldarica, heat/drought resistant)

Hills and trails


A beautiful specimen of Freemont Cottonwood

The Verde River runs through it, lined with trees including many more cottonwoods

Another nice one

Enjoying the much-needed shade on a 105F September afternoon. Had the trails all to myself.

One kind of oasis, a pond in the park

Too sandy for my skinny tires, very loose

I enjoyed riding around Dead Horse checking out the trails and the camping facilities. The trees are stunning, and I plan to return with an actual mountain bike with fatter tires and some bounce to ride Thumper and any other trails I can find. But the high point of this ride was being called "darling" by the woman who took my $3 entrance fee, the price for bicycles. Whatever your age or hers, that never gets old, at least not for me. There are plenty of facilities for getting water here, you could probably even grab a shower if you felt like it. There are spic and span fish cleaning sinks in case you pull any out of the ponds and want to eat em. But probably my favorite part of this park are the many trails that lead through the thick woods down to the riverside. I set off on several, not knowing where they would take me, only to wind up eventually down next to the cool running water. In a dry place like Arizona, there's no better oasis than a cool running stream.


  1. looks beautiful. is this close to home? someone said our state parks are in danger of closing. matbe a toll would be a good idea.

  2. "Dead Horse Ranch;" not the most appealing of images for such an attractive place!

  3. johnny the Verde Valley is a couple hours drive north of Phoenix, same here with our state parks, all kinds of economic challenges with keeping them open.

    Steve, apparently the name was inspired by seeing a dead horse in a field:


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