Facilities available at Dead Horse Ranch State Park. Day use hours are from 8 am to 10 pm; gates close at dark. Seasonal hours may apply and will be posted.
The Dead Horse Ranch Ranger Station offers registration, park information, first aid assistance, and a gift shop. Hours: 8 am – 5 pm every day, except December 25.
Day Use Areas: Modern ADA accessible restrooms with hot water.
Camping Loops: Modern ADA accessible restrooms at each loop with hot water & showers at no extra fee to registered campers.
Cabin Area: Family-style accessible restrooms with hot showers are available to cabin guests.
The Dead Horse Ranch gift shop located in the Visitor Center offers water, fishing bait, books, T-shirts, and a variety of items that will make nice souvenirs of your Dead Horse Ranch visit.
River Day Use Area: Located in the proximity of the Verde River. Trails leading from the River Day Use Area follow the river as well as lead into a lush cottonwood, willow gallery riparian area. The Canopy Trail is ADA accessible providing excellent birding and wildlife viewing opportunities for the mobility impaired. There are two ramadas available for group reservations. Each ramada has a large family-size grill, electricity, and picnic tables. Maximum Group Size for the entire day use area is 200+ people.
Los Alamos Day Use Area: Located under a cottonwood tree canopy between two fishing lagoons — eight ramadas are available for reservation. A dock, launch ramp, fish cleaning station, and modern restrooms are close by. Nearby are trails leading around the lagoons, to the Verde River Greenway and onto the Coconino National Forest. The two lagoons adjacent to Los Alamos total approximately 16 surface acres.
Reservations are taken no more than 12 months in advance.
Raven Loop: A 23 site group campground available by reservation by calling the park directly (928) 634-5283. The loop contains modern restroom facilities providing hot water & showers, a large ramada, and group fire ring. Maximum Group Size: 46 Units.
Reservation Policy and Fees:
- A minimum of 10 vehicles are required to qualify as a group for the Raven Loop Group Campground.
- Raven Loop has a $180 minimum fee. (Includes $25 facility fee and $5.00 reservation fee and 10 camping passes at $15 each.)
- Exclusive use of the site is $375. (Includes the $25 facility fee and $5.00 reservation fee and 23 camping passes at $15 each.)
- Additional vehicles pay the $15 camping fee.
- The $5.00 reservation fee is non-refundable.
- Reservations are taken no more than 12 months in advance.
Site reservations are available by calling the Reservation Center at (520) 586-2283. You can call 7 days a week, from 8 am to 5 pm MST. There is a $5 non-refundable reservation fee per site. You may also reserve campsites 24/7 for this park online
There are over 100 large RV sites available. For after-hours arrivals, vacant sites may be occupied on a night-by-night basis only. Most of the pull through sites can accommodate 40-foot motor homes and truck & trailer rigs up to 65 feet, and include potable water and 30/50-amp service. Generators are prohibited. All loops include modern, ADA accessible restroom facilities providing hot water & showers and are free to registered campers. There is a stay limit of 14 nights in a 30-day period. We can be full in the spring and fall so check online or call 1-2 days in advance to check availability.
Fees: Fees range from $25–30 per night for sites with electricity, and $15 per night for sites without electricity. Campsite fees shall be based upon 2 vehicles per site with no more than one of the vehicles being an RV/Motorhome. There is a $15 per night fee for second vehicles. Fee does not apply to vehicles towed behind a primary vehicle when the primary vehicle remains at the site and the towed vehicle is used for transportation.
Quail Loop: 43 campsites, including one ADA accessible site.
Red-Tail Loop: 36 campsites, including one ADA accessible site.
Cooper’s Hawk Loop: 27 campsites, including two ADA accessible sites.
Blackhawk Loop: 17 non-electric campsites, including one ADA accessible site, reserved exclusively for tents. RVs, including campers and vans, are not permitted. The loop is adjacent to modern restroom facilities providing hot water & showers.
For cancellation policy see Reservation Policies: Terms & Conditions
Camping Cabin reservations are available by calling the Reservation Center at (520) 586-2283. You can call 7 days a week, from 8 am to 5 pm MST. There is a $5 reservation fee per site. You may also reserve Camping Cabins online 24/7
Camping Cabin Loop: Eight one-room log camping cabins are available at Dead Horse Ranch by online reservations . They are tucked away from the other campgrounds, making them an ideal getaway for a weekend or for the week. The cabins are variably furnished with a full size bed, a bunk bed, table & chairs, dresser-drawer, ceiling fan with overhead light, and electricity. Cabins now have heating and cooling! Campers must supply their own linens. Each cabin also has a barbecue and picnic table outside, plus a small individual fire ring. Family-style shower facilities are only a short walk from all of the cabins. There is an electrified ramada with barbecues that can be shared by cabin guests.
Reservation Policy and Fees:
- Cabin Fee: $55 per night. $5 reservation fee.
- Reservations are confirmed by receipt of an application and approval of a credit card (Visa/Mastercard only). Full payment is required at time of reservation.
- Rental rates are charged per night. 14 nights maximum stay length in any 30-day period.
- Reservations may be made up to 365 days in advance.
- Two nights minimum stay on weekends.
- Pets must be declared upon reservation. Pets are only allowed at cabins 3 through 8. There is a pet charge of $5.00 per pet per day.
- Smoking and cooking are prohibited in cabins. Fires are limited to barbecue grilles and the community fire pit.
- Furniture must remain inside cabin.
- Cabin guest must ensure that the cabin is left clean and undamaged. Cleaning and damage fees will be billed to the credit card on file.
- Damage fees will be assessed to cover the total cost of repairs.
- Vehicles: Each vehicle must display a permit on the rear view mirror of their vehicle indicating payment of fees. Maximum 2 vehicles per cabin. RVs longer than 24 feet are not permitted in the Mesquite area and will be assessed the standard camping fee.
- Cabin Occupancy: The rental party must comprise at least 1 person 18 years of age or older. Occupancy is a maximum of 4 adults not to exceed 6 persons total, including children.
- Bedding consists of 1 bunk bed and 1 full-sized bed.
- Tents: There is a tent fee of $15.00 per night. The tent must be declared upon reservation. The tent must be placed within 10 feet of the cabin.
- Check in time is 3 pm. Check out time is 10 am.
- All other policies governing Arizona State Parks shall apply.
For cancellation policy see Reservation Policies: Terms & Conditions
A dump station is available with payment of the $15 non-electric camping fee or at no extra fee to registered campers.
Showers are available at the campgrounds.
Picnic tables are located throughout the park, in both the day use areas and campground ramadas as well as being placed individually in various locations around the lagoons. Unless reserved, picnic tables in the ramadas are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Many ramadas also include ADA accessible picnic tables.
The trails in this system are in Dead Horse Ranch State Park and in the Coconino Natinal Forest. Trail users, the Dead Horse Ranch Trails Coalition, Arizona State Parks Rangers & Volunteers, and the Forest Service have worked together to develop and manage this system for you enjoyment. Bring extra water and get an early start in the summer months. Trailheads are located north of the lagoon area or at the end of Flycatcher road.
Dead Horse Trail System: A non-motorized 20+ mile shared-use mix of doubletrack & singletrack. Four trailheads throughout the park lead up to the high desert of Coconino National Forest. The Lime Kiln Trail leg follows a portion of the historic Lime Kiln Wagon Road. Hikers & equestrians are encouraged to travel counterclockwise on the the basic loop — Lime Kiln, Thumper, and Raptor Trails. Mountain bikers usually find that starting at the Roadrunner trailhead and riding the loop clockwise is more fun. For most cyclists, the trail is rated intermediate to expert. The Lime Kiln Trail follows a portion of the historic Lime Kiln Wagon Road from Cottonwood to Sedona. Learn more about Lime Kiln Trail below. Also learn more about Share the Trail.
Forest Loop: A 0.5-mile loop. Shared-use. Circles around and through a diversely forested area and provides river access by way of short narrow side trails. Starts and ends in the River Day Use Area.
Canopy: A 0.25 mile ADA accessible trail looping under a Freemont Cottonwood tree canopy giving park visitors with limited mobility an opportunity to get off the beaten path. Excellent for bird watching and wildlife viewing. Starts and ends in the River Day Use Area.
Mesa: A 1-mile interpretive loop trail. Circles the top of the hill west of the Red-Tail Hawk Campground and provides scenic views of Mingus Mountain, the Verde Valley, and Dead Horse Ranch. The trailhead is located on the west side of Roadrunner Road south of Red-Tail Hawk Campground loop.
Tavasci Marsh: A 1-mile trail. Shared-use. The trailhead is located at the end of Flycatcher Road.
Quail Wash: A 0.25-mile trail. Hike, bike. Stairs and bridges prevent equestrian use. Plant diversity and flowing water in the wash make this trail popular. Intersects with Hickey Ditch Trail. The trailhead is located at the south end of the West Lagoon parking lot.
Hickey Ditch: A 0.5-mile trail. Shared-use. Follow along the historic Hickey irrigation ditch through a canopy of Willow, Netleaf Hackberry, AZ Black Walnut, & Mesquite trees. Intersects with Quail Wash Trail. The trailhead is located at north end of the West Lagoon parking lot.
Creosote: A 0.5-mile shortcut. Shared-use. Intersects with Hickey Ditch and Quail Wash Trails.
Lagoons: One accessible loop around each lagoon. West Lagoon 0.39 miles; Middle Lagoon 0.41 miles; East Lagoon 0.72 miles. Hike, bike. Accessed from any of the lagoon parking lots, these trails allow you to stroll around the lagoons. We do request that horses not be taken around lagoon banks.
Verde River Greenway: A 2-mile shared-use trail along the river. The trail weaves through some of the best nesting habitat in the area, a bird watchers' paradise. Intersects with Quail Wash and Lagoon Trails. The trailhead is located in the River Day Use area or can be accessed on the south side of the lagoons.
Riverfront: A 0.5-mile trail. Shared-use. The trail runs along the south side of the Verde River and is good for walking. Trail is accessed from either the south end of the Dead Horse Ranch State Park Bridge or from Riverfront Park.
Equestrian Trails: Many of the Dead Horse Ranch trails are shared-use. There are 1 hour and a 2 hour guided trail rides available on the park. The rides take in the Verde River Greenway and provide scenic views of the lagoons, the Verde River and Dead Horse Ranch.
The trails at Dead Horse Ranch State Park are all classified as shared-use, nonmotorized and permit equestrian use with a few exceptions. In 2006, thethe Lime Kiln Trail was completed, linking Dead Horse Ranch with Red Rock State Park. The ride from Dead Horse to Red Rock is 15 miles and follows the alignment of the old Lime Kiln wagon trail. See more info below
Horse corrals are available on a limited basis for overnight use with advance arrangements.
Dead Horse Ranch now has an equestrian concessionaire on the park who leads wrangler-guided trail rides. Take a leisurely ride through the park, past the river and even have a picnic lunch! Visit trailhorseadventures.com for more information.
Dead Horse Ranch State Park offers a variety of bicycling opportunities for all levels of riders. Beginning road cyclists will find relatively flat paved roads with only a few gentle climbs and large parking areas perfect for practicing basic skills. Beginning mountain bikers will find a place to hone new skills on the trails adjacent to Red-Tail and Cooper's Hawk campgrounds.
Experienced roadies can use the park as a launching point for rides throughout the Verde Valley. Intermediate to expert mountain bikers will find fun and challenge on the Dead Horse Ranch Trail System's “Thumper Loop”. Download a map of the Dead Horse Trail System ( 220 KB PDF). Because the park is so close to Sedona, mountain bikers from all over the world come to Dead Horse Ranch to camp and use the park as a staging area for rides on the Red Rock trails of the Coconino National Forest. No other campground in the Verde Valley offers shower facilities - virtually a must after a full day on the trail! Also learn more about the Lime Kiln Trail.
Video: 13-year-old Aaron Jackson of Cottonwood descends "the Patio" on the Thumper Trail's Ocotillo Bend, part of the Dead Horse Ranch State Park Trail System. The rains have had a beneficial effect on the trails, resulting in some of the best riding conditions in over a decade. Video taken March, 2010.
The votes are in! The Lime Kiln Trail connecting Dead Horse Ranch State Park and Red Rock State Park won the 2012 Critic’s Choice Award for Best Bike Ride! For the sixth year, AZCentral.com experts have picked their favorite people, places, businesses, and things to do!
In 2006, the Lime Kiln Trail was completed, linking Dead Horse Ranch State Park (Cottonwood) with Red Rock State Park (Sedona). The Lime Kiln Trail is a 15-mile shared-use, non-motorized and permit equestrian trail.
The Lime Kiln leg follows a portion of the historic Lime Kiln Wagon Road. Originally the Lime Kiln road provided access to a Kiln that was constructed in the 1800s. The Kiln was used to burn limestone to create lime used as an ingredient of the mortar needed to construct fireplaces and chimneys. Soon after the construction of the kiln, the road was extended and used as a route between Sedona and Jerome. The remains of the kiln can still be seen beside the trail. Download Lime Kilm Trail Map ( 245 KB PDF)
Want to learn more about Biking? Park is offering Mountain Biking Basic courses with Park Ranger and expert biker Randy Victory in March and April. Learn More on park home page.
Excellent fishing opportunities for the beginner and experienced alike. Arizona Game & Fish Department stocks the river and lagoons with Rainbow Trout throughout the winter months. The lagoons are stocked with Channel Catfish in the warmer season. Fly-fishing the river and lagoons is becoming increasingly popular. Fish species include Largemouth Bass, Catfish, Bluegill, Crappie, and Trout. Video Clip: Aaron Jackson displays a catfish caught at Dead Horse Ranch State Park's Free Fishing Day.
A valid Arizona fishing license is required for anglers fourteen and older. Licensing information is available online at Arizona Game & Fish, or purchase a fishing license at a local dealer.
Canoeing and kayaking is popular in the river and lagoons. Non-motorized watercraft (oar power only, no sails) are allowed in the lower lagoons. Boating is not permitted in the upper (West) lagoon. A launch ramp and dock are available at the East lagoon. Gas & electric motors must be removed before launching. Children 12 and under are required to wear a personal flotation device (PFD) at all times when boating.
Mammals common in the park include Gray Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), Coyote (Canis latrans), Jackrabbit (Lepus californicus), Cottontail Rabbit (Sylvilagus sp.), Coues or White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus couesi), Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus), Bobcat (Felis rufus), Mountain Lion (Puma concolor), Javelina (Pecari angulatus), and of course, the Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis).
The park is also home to a huge variety of reptiles and amphibians. You can sometimes catch a glimpse of an otter in the river too (watch embedded video).
The lagoons and the Verde River provide excellent habitat for birds. The park boasts an extensive bird list (almost 200 species) and is also home to the yearly Verde Valley Birding and Nature Festival. Dead Horse Ranch State Park is also included in the Tuzigoot Important Bird Area (IBA). Avian species within this IBA include several sensitive, threatened, or endangered birds listed as species of concern.
Download Printable Bird List ( 770 KB PDF)
- Alamo Lake
- Buckskin Mountain
- Cattail Cove
- Lake Havasu
- River Island
- Yuma Quartermaster Depot
- Yuma Territorial Prison
- Dead Horse Ranch
- Fort Verde
- Red Rock
- Riordan Mansion
- Slide Rock
- Verde River Greenway
- Boyce Thompson Arboretum
- Fool Hollow Lake
- Lost Dutchman
- Lyman Lake
- Tonto Natural Bridge