Centrally located between the Grand Canyon and Phoenix to the north and south, and Sedona and Prescott to the east and west, Dead Horse Ranch State Park is an RV campers' dream. Nearby, campers can venture off and visit Tuzigoot National Monument or spend some time gearing up or going out in the neighboring town of Cottonwood.
RV campers will appreciate the well-paved roads, large pull-offs, ample parking, and scenic views of the Verde River. Once you set up camp and head out to explore, you will find three beautiful lagoons on the southeast side of the park as well as miles of trails to hike or bike. If you are ready to saddle up and get a feel for the old west, head over to Trail Horse Adventures within park boundaries for a guided equestrian tour.
Touted as one of Arizona's top campgrounds, Dead Horse Ranch State Park boasts plenty of tent camping and cabin sites, as well as over 100 RV sites, most of which include potable water and electrical hookups. Camping loops have modern restrooms with hot water and showers available at no extra cost to registered guests. Do take note, use of generators is prohibited throughout the park, and while there is a dump station, sites do not offer sewer hookups. The park is pet-friendly, although owners are required to keep them on a tight leash.
RV Rentals in Dead Horse Ranch State Park
Transportation in Dead Horse Ranch State Park
Dead Horse Ranch State Park has very easy access roads. With one way in and one way out, there is no way you are going to get lost inside the park. Right after the ranger station there is a large RV pull-off next to the dump station that can accommodate any length. Continuing on, there is plenty of parking throughout the park, including two lots in the north section providing trail access, and eight in the southern section of the park near the river day use area and lagoons. Most of these lots have large RV parking as well.
The park entrance is off of North 10th Street, which is easily accessible from North Main Street in Cottonwood. The road is a dead end, but there is a large turnaround area in case you miss the park entrance. That is unlikely though, as the ranger station is well marked and one of the only turnoff points along the road.
Pay attention to height restrictions, as campers have reported that some sites do have specific limits as to what they can accommodate in that regard. Ask for those details when you arrive. Otherwise, both pull-through and back-up sites are large, level, and very easy to get in and out of.
Campgrounds and parking in Dead Horse Ranch State Park
Campsites in Dead Horse Ranch State Park
Camping at Dead Horse Ranch
The park is open year-round and camping is allowed throughout the year. You can choose from over 100 sites available for RVs and tents, divided among several loops. In the upper camping area to the north of the park, Cooper's Hawk Loop and Red-Tail Hawk Loop are set up for RV camping. Both have electrical hookups and both also allow tent camping. Blackhawk Loop, the northernmost section, is reserved for tent camping only. The Quail Loop is close to a number of hiking trails.
RV campers will find sites that are very level, large, and clean. There are both back-in and pull-through sites, and while most are open and exposed, a few do offer some shade. Most pull-through sites can accommodate 40-foot motorhomes and trailers up to 65 feet. Do beware, height restrictions should be strictly adhered to, and while RV sites have electrical and water hookups, there are none with sewer hookups. Campers have access to a dump station, west of the park, right after the park entrance and the Ranger Station. You'll also be able to use the fire ring or grill and picnic table at your site.
There are also eight, one-room log cabins in the south of the park on Camping Cabin Loop, each of which is set up with both heat and A/C. If you choose to stay in a cabin, reservations are required and may be made up to 365 days in advance. Also, if you're bringing a pet, you must let them know when setting up your reservation. Pets are only allowed in a select few cabins. Extended stays are limited to 14 nights in any 30-day period.
All camping areas have modern, ADA accessible restrooms nearby with hot water and showers.
If you end up rolling in after-hours, you can snag a vacant site on a night-by-night basis. Head into the ranger station the next morning and clear things up, they may be able to help you set up a reservation for a longer stay.
Seasonal activities in Dead Horse Ranch State Park
Haul it in on your trailer and launch. While there are some boating restrictions, Dead Horse State Park is generally a very boater-friendly park. Back your boat up to one of three lagoons located within the park and enjoy the cattail-lined waters while surrounded by lush green vegetation. There is plenty of wildlife to discover, and traffic is generally pretty light. For some tranquil lounging and peace and quiet, Dead Horse Ranch State Park provides a welcome sanctuary for boaters.
Dead Horse Ranch State Park is home to a wide variety of fish, including rainbow trout, largemouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish, green sunfish, and crappie. Catfish and trout populations are seasonally supplemented by the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Anglers are welcome to enjoy fishing in both the park lagoons, as well as the Verde River, which winds its way throughout the park. Be sure to adhere to fishing guidelines and help secure this sustainable practice.
Many local volunteers and government agencies work together to maintain some of Arizona's finest recreational trails within Deadhorse Ranch State Park. Pound the path with packs on backs while you take in the scenery and experience the gorgeous trail system. Whether you are feeling ready to take on the 15-mile Lime Kiln Trail or go for a jaunt on the half-mile Forest Loop, you are sure to remember the well-worn paths lined with trees and grass.
If you rolled in with the horse trailer and your stallion is ready to saddle up and stretch those legs, then you are all set to ride out on the trails. If not, head over to Trail Horse Adventures and schedule a guided equestrian tour. The stunning 15-mile Lime Kiln Trail connects Dead Horse State Park to Red Rock State Park and is one of the most sought-after rides in the country. Much of the area is designated as a National Treasure, so take in the scenery with the wind whipping through your hair. Enjoy the ride!
With all of that travel and fun, you're sure to work up a hearty appetite. You and the family can fuel up and veg out while picnicking by the water. Toss out the throw blanket or drape a linen over a picnic table at one of the park's many ramadas and take part in this favorite American past time. After you indulge and imbibe, cozy up to a book by the campfire and listen to the cordwood crackle. You'll love enjoying a relaxing picnic during your RV vacation to Dead Horse Ranch State Park.
Get out those two wheels from the rig and get ready to tear up the trails on your mountain bike. The over 20 miles of trails in this system are in Coconino National Forest as well as Dead Horse Ranch State Park, so no matter how ambitious you feel, you can keep on pedaling until the wheels fall off. With both double-track and single-track sections, riders can feel safe and comfortable on these non-motorized, shared-use trails.