Sunday, October 28, 2018

Wash Walking in Cottonwood and Sedona

Geez, I was doing so good posting here...then we moved down to Cottonwood and all my good intentions to post regularly went out the window!

Prescott sits at around 5,300 feet elevation, so we'd planned to move down to Cottonwood (at 3,500 feet) in October before it starts getting super cold at night. This way we're less than an hour from Prescott to easily continue our home search.

We've been hiking daily in both Cottonwood and Sedona and it seems just about every trail has included a lot of walking in washes. The heavy monsoon season the area experienced this year, coupled with some recent thunderstorms have kept many washes damp and lush with green growth and some major washes have been swept by massive flash flooding.

We're staying at the brand new Rain Spirit RV Resort in Cottonwood, and while our site is definitely too close to the neighbors, the park is clean and convenient to all the Verde Valley has to offer.

View of Dry Creek Wash from the Chuckwagon Trail in Sedona.

So many colorful views in Sedona!

Hans is showing how high the water got in Dry Creek Wash during summer monsoons!

We added the spur to Devils Bridge onto our Chuckwagon loop...
braved the crowds on this popular trail, now I can say "been there, done that".

We can access the Verde River just half a mile from our RV park and follow a trail into Tuzigoot National Monument and on into Dead Horse Ranch State Park for a nice 4+ mile hike.

The Verde River is flowing higher than we've ever seen it.

Enormous old Fremont Cottonwood.

Exposed honeycomb.

Turtle in one of the lagoons at Dead Horse Ranch SP.

Morning reflection on Dead Horse Ranch lagoon.

The Cliffrose trailhead off Mingus Ave. on the eastern edge of Cottonwood has turned out to be a nice place to hike on days we don't want to drive far. Though it doesn't seem like much at first glance, it turns out there are several small trails that head off the main loop and go for miles into the surrounding desert. We've managed a couple of five mile loops and can easily add mileage if we want to.

One gray day not long after a good rain we decided to walk up a wash off the Cliffrose trail.
This wash, like many in the area, has a sudden drop off a limestone ledge as it cuts through the desert.

Another limestone pour over...
sometimes in deep washes they are difficult to bypass, this one was easy to navigate.

The plants are all very happy from all the rain they've received this year.
Abundant animal prints tell us the critters are happy too!

Love all the colors and textures in this landscape!

Grasses soften this section of wash.

We saw perhaps a dozen of these large holes dug under bushes in the wash...I wonder who lives here?

The unassuming beginning of a wash.

There are still patches of flowers scattered throughout the desert thanks to all the water received this summer.

We hiked the Girdner Trail in SW Sedona one day to experience another section of Dry Creek Wash. It was easy to see there had been severe flash flooding during monsoon season.

We could tell this large wash had flooded at least six feet deep...probably more!

All the grass on the left was flattened by rushing water.

One of the first signs of fall we've seen, with six feet of debris washed up against it.

The last hike we did was a repeat of a favorite Sedona hike: Hangover Trail. This time we chose to hike the loop portion clockwise, giving us the steep uphill early in the hike when it was nice and cool. What a difference from the last time we hiked this March with Linda on a very blustery, cold day!

We gain our first saddle and views of NE Sedona open up before us.

Traversing the Hangover.

Nearing our second saddle, Hans stands under a Hangover.

Almost there!

From the saddle it's almost impossible to see the trail we'd just traveled in the line of forest just below the top.

We make our way across the top of the slope on the other side of the saddle.

One more wash to follow as we make our way back to Munds Wagon Trailhead.

Happy trails!


  1. Similar blue skies and red rocks here near Zion. Cant get enough...

    1. Agreed...cannot get enough of this beautiful part of the country!

  2. Is that new RV park located along the road that leads to the Clarkdale Train Station? It was still under construction when we were there early this year.
    I think the southwest AZ will have a superbloom next spring after all the rain and storm.

    1. That's the one. They have some okay sites, but since we were staying a month we got a tight squeeze.

      I hope you're right about the super bloom!

  3. Glad to see you've been out on the trails! I think the Hangover Trail was my favorite of all the places we hiked last March. I may need to come back next year! :)

  4. You are an inspiration to me because you always stay caught up and post such beautiful posts! Glad to see you've been having so much fun on those gorgeous trails. It looks so lush from all of the rains. Good luck with your house hunting!

    1. It is really pretty here this year!

      I wouldn't blog at all if I couldn't be current! I admire your ability to relive it all in great detail after time has passed!

  5. As many times as we've been back to Sedona or southern Utah we always forget how beautiful it is. Love that red rock!

    1. Yes, this area is worth returning to again and again!

  6. It is so great to see all the water in the desert. It has been interesting to watch the storms move through Arizona and miss us here in NV. We watch the dark clouds pass behind us but they rarely ever come this way and hardly ever drop any rain. You found lots of water and green! Love the looks of the Hangman Trail with the great red rock views. How neat to come upon the honeycomb. It looks like it was abandoned. Love the reflection in the lake in Dead Horse:)

    1. You guys would love the Hangover trail!

      We're really enjoying how green it is this year. It's definitely helped them get a leg up on the drought.

  7. Absolutely beautiful photos! The red rock with the blue skies are the best- we're really missing the west. The burrows look like badgers - not someone you want to meet on the trail (although they are beautiful animals)! Amazing to see where the water line was during the flooding - Hans makes a great marker :-))

    1. Interesting, I'd not thought of badgers! I'm thinking skunks perhaps.

  8. Loved this post Lisa! It always makes me smile to see photos of our hometown. I suspect that if the tourist season wasn't so crazy we might still live there. Love the Hangover Trail! Good luck on your continued home search.

    1. Yeah, we'd have considered Sedona if the tourist situation wasn't so bad...also the darn helicopters!