Verde River Greenway - Dead Horse Ranch State Park (Sedona)
Hiking in Dead Horse Ranch State Park along Oak Creek Canyon near Sedona, Arizona.
Western Sedona is often overlooked by hikers, even though it shares many of the same lovely hiking characteristics as Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona proper. The Dead Horse Ranch State Park makes a compelling argument in encouraging hikers to check this area out. There are multiple trails to enjoy in this area. The hike we took was an easy stroll along the Verde River.
After paying the entrance fee ($7 per person as of August 2023) from the Owl Road parking area, head south on the closed dirt road towards the Verde River. The trail forks at the river. Turn left here and follow the well worn trail as it parallels the Verde River. This sandy trail (called the Verde River Greenway trail) passes a number of lovely shady Arizona riparian trees as the lazy Verde river flows by. It is a very pleasant area to walk through. When the trail starts to bend North away from the Verde River, you'll reach the East Lagoon, a man made lake popular for picnicking and fishing. Follow the trail along the South edge of the lagoons as it now heads West back to the parking area.
The train continues to another lake known as West Lagoon. You'll walk along the south east edge of the lake, leaving the lake at its southernmost point when it heads back towards the river. Turn right (JCT_1 on the map) and continue along the trail back to the parking area.