An eMagazine about wheelchair-accessible events, sports & locations in Arizona

Dead Horse Ranch State Park

First things first: The dead horse is long gone. This is a very clean and accessible park. I couldn’t even smell the carcass.

Located on the edge of a really cool little town called Cottonwood, at 3,300′ elevation, the park is in the high desert region. The park is part of the Verde Valley, and is next to the Verde River. Its easy to see why the early Indians loved the Verde Valley. It’s sorta like an oasis in the desert. There’s huge shade trees that probably where here 300 years ago when migrating tribes discovered the place. Thirty minutes away is Montezuma’s Castle.

The state park has three little ‘lagoons’ they stock with all types of fish. There is a nice trail around the fishing holes and numerous steel piers extend out into the water. These little piers are wheelchair accessible and really well designed for hauling in fish. ThereĀ are shade trees every where and numerous picnic tables and ramadas. The Lower Lagoon has a larger pier and human-powered boats are allowed.

We barely covered any of the earth packed trails. The ones around the lake are great. We trekked down another that followed the creek, but never found to get near the creek. The park has numerous trails going in between the various camping sites.

An interesting feature at the park is the row of 8 cabins you can rent for $50 a night. They are basically sleeping quarters . Cabin #5, (aka The Eagle Cabin) has wheelchair access. Each cabin has 1 full bed and a set of bunks. They have a small table inside, but not much else. They do have have electricity and there’s public bathrooms (with roll-in shower) near by. There is a BBQ on the side of the cabin. I like the concept as its something between camping and staying at a hotel. The location of these cabins leaves a little to be desired, as the view isn’t scenic compared to other spots in the park, and its quite a walk to the fishing holes. The other bummer is that campers or motor homes can’t stay nearby so depending on how your friends roll, you could not ‘camp’ with them. But if your friends too grabbed a cabin, it would be fun. The cabins, and the entire park are pet-friendly.

What makes Dead Horse Ranch State Park most attractive is the weather. It’s never going to be scorching hot, and never too cold. It’s a year round place to roll around.

Link to Dead Horse Ranch State Park web site

The lagoons have flat wide dirt trails that go around the lagoons. There is shady trees and picnic ramadas as well.

Each lagoon has 6-10 piers that perch over the water. The pier offers good wheelchair access for disabled anglers.

Cabin #5 had good wheelchair access. The public bath room is 30 yards away.

Its pretty tight inside the small cabins.

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4 Responses »

  1. Wow! I’ve always wanted to check out Dead Horse Ranch, but thought it might not be very accessible. Glad to hear that I was wrong. Will surely head up there in April, 2011 for the next Verde Valley Birding Festival, at Dead Horse Ranch. Stay tuned to and for details.

  2. You missed some additional features. The campgrounds have four raised tent platforms where you can set up a 12×12′ tent and slide from the seat of your wheelchair to inside your tent. Those sites also have electrical access that has pavers around for W/C access.
    The ramadas have paved ramps and there is a nice path that connects the cabin area to the main campground area that is w/c friendly. There have been many Eagle Scout projects in the park that have helped with access. And, some camping sites have raised fire pits.
    There is a boat ramp that has w/c access when the river is flooding. (I’ve used it several times with my kayak!)
    OK, so I am a volunteer there and plant flowers and pull weeds. And I look for ways that access can be improved. It’s a piece a heaven that I can enjoy every day before I go into work. Birds are ever changing and the views are great. I actually think the views from the cabins is great. Lots of shade and quite.

  3. Thanks, Joan, and it’s very true . .. i didnt get to visit the entire park. I wish I had run in to you there as well. Please feel free to further contribute anytime!


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Accessing Arizona is primarily designed for people who are looking for wheelchair accessible events, locations and activities. If you have paralysis (paraplegic or quadriplegic), Muscular Dystrophy, Spinal Bifida, or if you are an amputee, Accessing Arizona has information about an active lifestyle.
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