Dead Horse Ranch State Park, Cottonwood, Arizona

Dead Horse Ranch State Park, Cottonwood, Arizona

Opinion: Highly Recommended.

History of Park’s Name:  The story of the park’s name begins with the Ireys family, who came to Arizona from Minnesota looking for a ranch to buy in the late 1940s.  At one of the ranches they discovered a large dead horse lying by the road. After two days of viewing ranches, Dad Ireys asked the kids which ranch they liked the best.  The kids said, “the one with the dead horse, Dad!” The Ireys family chose the name Dead Horse Ranch and later, in 1973, when the Arizona State Parks acquired the park, the Ireys made retaining the name a condition of sale.

– From the park website

Amenities: Kayaking, canoeing, fishing, picnicking with/without reservable ramadas, camping (equestrian, RV, tent & group), equestrian trails, hiking trails, and mountain biking trails.  There is also a Ranger’s Station, gift shop, and a Trail Horse Adventures rental facility.

Dates of Stay: April 1-3, 2017

Overview of Sites: 100 large RV pads with potable water and electric hookups – all sites range in length but the park can accommodate all RVs, drive through and back-in sites, some level sites, concrete pads, and interior roads are paved. Each site has a picnic table, fire ring, and charcoal grill. There are also 17 non-electric tent campsites and 8 one-room cabins for rent.

Laundry:  No laundry on site.

Restrooms:  Very small, clean and well-stocked restrooms/showers

Rate: Rates range from $30.00 to $35.00 per night for sites with electricity and water.

Our Site/Phone/TV: Site 11 – Verizon and AT&T worked for phone, no wifi in the park (we were told there is wifi at the Starbucks in the Safeway in town), numerous over-the-air television channels

Elevation/Landscape/Terrain: It is located in the busy town of Cottonwood, Arizona and lies next to a six mile stretch of river known as the Verde River Greenway State Natural Area. The park sits at an elevation of 3,240 feet and is a very lush landscape. (It is very different than the desert landscapes we have been in recently.)  We were told, life along the river changes with the seasons, I bet it’s beautiful when the leaves change in the fall.

Lighting/Noise: No obtrusive lighting or noise at night. However, we arrived on a Friday night and the park was full.  We did hear our neighbors.

Favorite Camper Site:  None

RV Reservations:  Reservations are made by visiting or by calling 520-586-2283, 7 days a week, from 8 am – 5 pm MST.  A non-refundable fee of $5 is required.  Reservations must be made 24 hours in advance.

See our blog entry here.