Dead Horse Ranch State Park is conveniently located outside of Cottonwood, AZ and offers the public an abundance of reasons to go. With 423 acres, the park hosts a number of scenic hiking & bicycling trails through willow and cottonwood forests, past 3 lagoons, and along the Verde river. The environment provides habitat for mammals (deer, javelina, rabbit, etc.), reptiles, amphibians, and over 200 species of birds. We even saw our first AZ river otter that had come in for some fishing.
The animals aren’t the only ones fishing. The park is popular among fisherman trying to snag a trout of their own.
It’s a great place to contemplate, watch the sunrise or set, enjoy the ducks bobbing for supper, or partake in one’s own picnic. Dead Horse has campsites for RV’s or tents, and cabins for rental. It’s close to the freeway (I-17 / SR-260), and a hidden oasis for wildlife watchers, and outdoorsman alike.
We learned a lot on our visit, and found all the people walking around the pathways to be friendly and kind. We’ll definitely be back for more.
It’s always fun exploring new areas. We had never been to Mingus Mountain, so decided with weather coming in… it was a good time.
The campground is pretty developed, and was fairly full. But it was quiet and had a series of trails behind each campsite offering terrific views of Camp Verde and Cottonwood below.
We recall our friend Gary waxing poetic about Mingus Mountain when he used to hang glide from Mingus. Following massive rain and winds that we endured through the night and into the morning, we encountered a complete white out of low hanging clouds and fog.
We checked out Gary’s Mingus launch site and considered the courage it took to jump off this cliff into the great blue below. Ah, but I must take pause. Gary would admonish me as the ‘uninitiated’ for using such a word. A hang glider pilot does not ‘jump’ off a cliff, he flies. In fact, an experienced pilot approaches it with eagerness and exhilaration.
When we were there it was nothing but clouds – not a good day for hang gliding, but eerie and fantastic nonetheless. It was a nice spot, with beautiful views. We enjoyed the weather and all the moody scenes it provided, making for interesting photographs.
Our trip definitely reminded me that it’s fun and exciting to try new places and new experiences. It’s easy to get stuck in our doldrums of same ‘ol, same ‘ol. We need to get out more to enjoy new and different experiences.