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Verde River Kayaking Clarkdale - Photo Credit Ellen Jo Roberts

Verde River Kayaking: An Unforgettable Adventure in Clarkdale

The Verde River, a lifeline of the Verde Valley, offers a unique kayaking experience that’s both exhilarating and serene. Situated in the Verde Valley, just a short distance from the charming town of Clarkdale, AZ, this free-flowing river is a haven for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Verde River kayaking offers a chance to discover the breathtaking scenery and diverse wildlife of this desert oasis whether you are new to kayaking or an experienced paddler.

The Verde River: A Natural Wonderland

The Verde River, free-flowing through the heart of the Verde Valley, is home to an incredible diversity of wildlife. As you paddle through its cool, shallow waters, you may spot beavers, otters, and a variety of bird species, including bald eagles. The river’s banks are lush with cottonwood and willow trees, providing a vibrant contrast to the surrounding desert landscape. The scenic beauty of the river, combined with the joy of paddling through, creates memories that will last a lifetime.

The river is also popular for fishing, with anglers often catching bass, catfish, and trout. Whether you’re kayaking or fishing, the Verde River offers a tranquil escape into nature.

Verde River Kayaking – Photo Credit Ellen Jo Roberts

Discover Clarkdale Kayak Co.

Clarkdale Kayak Co. offers guided kayak tours that promise an unforgettable adventure. They specialize in providing visitors with a safe, fun, and educational experience on the Verde River. Their tours take you through a scenic stretch of the river, where you’ll encounter breathtaking views and a diverse array of wildlife. Their certified guides are experts in navigating the river on a top-of-the-line hard-shell kayak. Additionally, they offer shuttle service to and from the river.

Clarkdale Kayak Co. offers three different tours to cater to different skill levels and interests. Their most popular tour starts and finishes in the historic town of Clarkdale and it takes you through various fun little chutes and riffles between scenic and tranquil pools. This tour is suitable for all ages.

The Paddles to Pints tour concludes with participants enjoying the finest craft beers at Smelter Town Brewery. This experience is available for participants aged 21 and older.

They also offer a self-guided kayak tour where you will be able to go through the river at your own pace.

Booking a tour with Clarkdale Kayak Co. ensures a hassle-free experience, complete with all the necessary equipment, guidance, and safety gear.

Verde River Access Points (RAP) for Independent Kayakers

For those who prefer to explore the Verde River without a guided tour, Clarkdale offers two public access points to the river – The Tuzigoot River Access, and the TAPCO River Access. These locations provide convenient entry to the river and are ideal starting points for your kayaking adventure and a variety of other recreational activities.

Verde River Access Clarkdale Sign

The Lower TAPCO RAP opens up to a stunning section of the Verde River corridor, providing a picturesque entry point for your adventures. Meanwhile, the Tuzigoot RAP, situated on Arizona State Park property, is part of the Verde River Greenway State Natural Area, offering another fantastic location to begin your exploration of the river.

Tips for a Great Verde River Kayaking Experience

Before setting out, it’s essential to check current river conditions and ensure you’re adequately prepared. The Forest Service website provides valuable information on river hazards and conditions, helping you plan a safe trip. Additionally, while permits are only required for groups of over 75, it’s always a good idea to review the regulations on the Forest Service website to stay informed.

  1. Safety First: Whether you’re exploring on a hard-shell or inflatable kayak, a single or tandem kayak, always wear a life jacket and ensure your kayak is equipped with safety gear. Check the weather and river conditions before heading out.
  2. Proper Footwear: Flip flops may be convenient, but sturdy water shoes or sandals with straps are better for navigating the riverbanks and rocky areas.
  3. Hydration and Snacks: Bring plenty of water and some snacks to keep your energy levels up during your trip.
  4. Respect Nature: The Verde River is a protected habitat. Avoid disturbing wildlife and always pack in what you pack out.
  5. Wine Tasting and More: After your kayaking adventure, explore the local attractions in Clarkdale. The Verde Valley is renowned for its wine-tasting tours, adding a delightful end to your day on the river.

Beyond the River: More Adventures Await

A Verde River kayak adventure in Clarkdale can offer much more than just paddling. After your time on the water, explore the hiking trails that wind through Clarkdale, or venture into the nearby Mingus Mountain area and the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness for breathtaking views and hikes. Bird-watching enthusiasts can enjoy Tavasci Marsh, a haven for various bird species. History buffs can visit the Tuzigoot National Monument to learn about the region’s ancient cultures. Last but not least, for a unique perspective, hop on the Verde Canyon Railroad and enjoy a scenic train ride through the stunning landscapes of the Verde Valley.

Verde Canyon Railroad Train Ride

Plan Your Verde River Kayaking Adventure Today

Kayaking on the scenic Verde River in Clarkdale is more than just a recreational activity; it’s an adventure that connects you with the wild beauty of Arizona’s desert landscapes. Whether you choose a guided kayak tour with Clarkdale Kayak Co. or embark on a solo expedition, the Verde River offers endless opportunities for exploration and fun.

For more information on tours visit Clarkdale Kayak Co. For more Verde River information, visit the Town of Clarkdale Government website. Prepare to paddle, explore, and create lasting memories on the Verde River.

Photos by Ellen Jo Roberts

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