Sycamore Canyon

Northwest of the valley, the exceptional beauty of Sycamore Canyon is available for those willing to spend an hour driving well-maintained dirt roads.

The sun's rays through clouds light up a portion of sycamore canyon from Sycamore Point
Photograph by Ron Chilston | | All Rights Reserved

Sycamore Canyon Wilderness encompasses the second largest canyon in Arizona’s red rock country and was designated a wilderness area in 1972. A lesser known, but equally scenic, cousin of Oak Creek Canyon, Sycamore Canyon Wilderness contains more than 50,000 acres of colorful cliffs, soaring pinnacles, and one of the world’s rarest habitats, a desert riparian area.

Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Location & Trails

Trails in the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness
Sycamore Canyon Northeast Trail System on the Coconino National Forest Flagstaff Ranger District.
Sycamore Canyon Southeast Trails on the Coconino National Forest Red Rock Ranger District.
Trails on the western side of Sycamore Canyon Wilderness on the Prescott National Forest.
Sycamore Rim Trail on the Kaibab National Forest.

Managed by four separate ranger districts of three different National Forests, this wilderness has plenty to offer. Wildlife viewers will enjoy trying to spy black bears, mountain lions, ringtail cats, and javelina, along with enjoying the singing of canyon wrens and hermit thrushes. Hikers and backpackers have a choice of 15 trails to explore. Try to find the picturesque lair of another of the canyon’s historic residents, the American cowboy, on Taylor Cabin Trail. The Sycamore Rim Trail (Kaibab National Forest) skirts the canyon’s upper reaches through an area of secluded pools and tall forests, while Parson’s Trail meanders up a fertile desert riparian area, a habitat as rare as it is productive.

Wilderness areas are rare, wild places set aside by Congress where the land is allowed to retain its natural state, serving as a natural haven for humans to escape modern civilization and for nature to be itself. To help minimize human impacts in wilderness and maintain its character, several laws and regulations have been put in place and we ask visitors practice “Leave No Trace Ethics.”

Attractions: Wilderness solitude, trails for hiking and horseback riding, red rocks, pinnacles, buttes and arches, photography & wildlife viewing, swimming, and fishing, history (Native American ruins, historic cabins).

looking at sycamore canyon from the vantage of sycamore point
Photograph by Ron Chilston | | All Rights Reserved

Clemenceau Heritage Museum

Yet another must see is the Clemenceau Heritage Museum in Cottonwood.
The Clemenceau Heritage Museum preserves and displays the artifacts and heritage, written, oral and living, of the Verde Valley. The Clemenceau Public School was constructed in 1923-24 by James, (Rawhide Jimmy) Douglas of the United Verde Extension Copper Company.

Photo by Beaches on Location

The Clemenceau Heritage Museum opened in November 1991, occupying former classrooms of the Clemenceau School. It was (and is) a labor of love and dedication on the part of the Verde Historical Society, whose members put in countless volunteer hours to make the museum a reality, and who continue to staff and maintain it, ensuring the continued preservation of the history of the Verde Valley.

The town of Clemenceau was originally named Verde. It was founded in 1917 by James Douglas as a company town to house workers for his nearby United Verde Extension (UVX) copper smelter. Since other towns by the same name already existed in Arizona, the post office requested the name be changed. It was renamed Clemenceau after French Premier, Georges Clemenceau, a good friend of Douglas.

In addition to houses for the workers, the town offered a company store, clubhouse with tennis courts, bank, boarding house, drugstore, gazebo, and a fine school, which also served children of nearby Cottonwood.

UVX’s copper mining declined in the 1930’s. By the end of 1937, the smelter closed, and the town began losing its businesses and most of its population. When Cottonwood incorporated in 1960, Clemenceau and the Clemenceau Airport were annexed, becoming part of the City of Cottonwood.

With the exception of the school, the bank/post office and a few of the support buildings for the smelter, nothing remains of the original town of Clemenceau.

A small map of the Clemenceau Heritage Museum

Hours of Operation:
Tuesday & Wednesday
9:00 am – 12:00 Noon
Friday & Saturday
11:00 am – 3:00 pm

The office may be contacted on Tuesday mornings 9:00-12:00

Dead Horse Ranch State Park

Dead Horse Ranch State Park is located adjacent to and across the Verde River from the community of Cottonwood.

Fishing from the dock at Dead Horse State Park

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 1940’s. 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 Arizona State Parks acquired the park, the Ireys made retaining the name a condition of sale.

Dead Horse Ranch State Park celebrated its official grand opening with a dedication ceremony held on June 1, 1977.

the Dead Horse State Park Trail System Map

Park and Facility Hours
The park is open year-round.
Gates close at dark. Seasonal hours may apply.

Day Use
7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. daily

Visitor Center/Park Store
8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. daily

Park Entrance Fee
Per vehicle (1-4 Adults): $7.00
Individual/bicycle: $3.00

Holiday Hours
8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Christmas Eve:
8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Christmas: Closed

Blazin’ M Ranch

blazin m ranch western frontier town and dinner show poster with roping, a feed and singing!
The Blazin’ M Ranch offers a barn full of fun!

The Blazin’ M Ranch is located at 1875 Mabery Ranch Road in Cottonwood, about 5 minutes from the Verde Canyon Railroad. The Blazin M Ranch is a must see for the entire family! Step back in time for a great outing that’s sure to be enjoyed by adventurers of all ages including dinner shows and so much more.

The Blazin’ M Ranch has provided visitors to Arizona an Old West experience to remember. Featuring a mouth-waterin’ BBQ chicken and ribs chuckwagon supper followed by a toe-tappin, knee-slappin’ hour-long Western stage production by award-winning musicians, it is a must-do attraction during your visit to the Sedona/Verde Valley region.

Arrive in plenty of time before dinner to enjoy the Western town featuring a museum, Old-Tyme photo studio, shooting gallery, ropin’ lessons, tractor pull, saloon and Western shops that line the boardwalk.

a map to blazin m ranch in cottonwood az

The gates of this Frontier Town open at 5:00pm. You’ll find a real western saloon, axe throwing, bull riding, wagon rides, shopping, ropin lessons, and other fun activities for people of all ages!
At 6:30pm, we ring the dinner bell and serve up a delicious Chicken & Rib Dinner with home-made biscuits, prickly pear coleslaw, and a baked potato, all served with Iced Tea, Lemonade and Water!
Then at 7:30, after a scrumptious dessert, the lights dim, and the Western Stage Show begins! The Blazin’ M Wranglers play an array of western hits, including songs by Chris Stapleton, Jerry Lee Lewis, Kenny Rogers, Bob Willis & The Texas Playboys, and a few of their own!