Near Cottonwood, the Dead Horse Ranch State Park has a diverse trail network for hikers, bikers and equestrians.
Forest Loop: A 0.5 mile loop. Multi-use. Starts and ends in the River Day Use Area. Circles around and through a diversely forested area and provides river access by way of short narrow side trails.
Lime Kiln: A 2.1 mile trail, one way. Multi-use. This trail follows a portion of the historic Lime Kiln Wagon Road. Originally the Lime Kiln Trail, then a road, provided access to a Kiln that was constructed in the 1800s. This Kiln was used to burn limestone to create lime, which is an ingredient of the mortar needed to construct fireplaces and chimneys. Soon after the construction of the kiln, the road to the kiln was extended and used as a route between Sedona and Jerome. The remains of the kiln can still be seen beside the trail. The Lime Kiln Trail is also the southern leg of a multi-use trail loop that includes the Thumper Loop Trail* of 2.5 miles and the Raptor Hill portion of 2.5 miles. Average mountain-bike time is approximately 1 hour to complete the loop.
Mesa: A 0.5 mile loop. Interpretive. Trail can be accessed from all areas of the park. It circles on top of the hill west of the North Campgrounds and provides overlooks of the valley.
Tavasci Marsh: A 1.5 miles one way trail. Multi-use. Access from the West Lagoon parking lot or the Mesquite Day Use Area. Follow along the historic Hickey irrigation ditch through a canopy of Ailanthus and Mesquite trees.
Hicky Ditch: A 0.5 mil trail, one way. Multi-use. Access from the West Lagoon parking lot or the Mesquite Day Use Area. Follow along the historic Hickey irrigation ditch through a canopy of Ailanthus and Mesquite trees.
Quail Wash: A 0.25 mile trail, one way. Hikers, stairs, and bridges prevent equestrian use. Access from West Lagoon parking lot or the Mesquite Day Use Area. Plant diversity and flowing water in the wash make this trail popular.
Lagoon: A 0.25 mile loop. Hike, bike. Accessed from any of the lagoon parking lots, this trail allows you to take a stroll around the lagoon. We do request that horses not be taken around lagoon banks.
Verde River Greenway: A 1.5 mile loop. Multi-use. Access from the West Lagoon parking lot or the VRG interpretive building. The trail weaves through some of the best nesting habitat in the area, a bird watchers paradise.
Riverfront: A 0.75 mile trail, one way. Multi-use. Trail is accessed from either the south end of the Dead Horse Ranch State Park Bridge or from Riverfront Park. The trail runs along the south side of the Verde River and is good for walking.
Dead Horse Ranch is situated amidst an abundance of life along the Verde River. A six-mile reach of the river is known as the Verde River Greenway. Its unique ecosystem, the Cottonwood / Willow riparian gallery forest, is one of less than 20 such riparian zones in the world.
To reach the trailhead from I-17 take (exit 287) Hwy 260 to Cottonwood. Hwy. 260 intersects with 89A/Main Street. Turn left on Main Street and proceed to North 10th Street. Turn right (north) on North 10th Street. Continue on North 10th across the Verde River Bridge to the park entrance.
Check out Blazin M Ranch across the street from the park.
Overall, Dead Horse Ranch State Park is the 7th most popular horse trail of all 49 horseback rides in Arizona.