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Camping in Camp Verde, Arizona -A Memorable Stay at Zane Grey RV Park

A photo collage of a trip to Camp Verde, AZ.

Our recent adventure took us to the beautiful Zane Grey RV Park in Camp Verde, Arizona, thanks to an invitation from our dear friends Dale and Linda. This trip had been on my wish list for a while since we drove by the park every time we visited my parents' cabin. Seeing the inviting atmosphere from the road always piqued my curiosity, and I was thrilled to finally experience it firsthand.

Arrival at Zane Grey RV Park

As we pulled into the driveway, we were greeted by a charming little office building surrounded by large, majestic trees. The majority of the RV spots were nestled among these trees and bushes, offering a sense of privacy and tranquility. The outer spots even had grassy areas behind them, perfect for relaxing or playing with pets. The park has numerous amenities, including a playground, fire pits, a dog park, showers, horseshoe pits, and hiking trails along the serene Verde River.

Once we settled into our spot and unhooked our RV, we headed over to visit Dale and Linda. It was wonderful catching up with them and meeting their other friends who make this park their annual getaway. It’s easy to see why they return year after year—this place transmits relaxation and charm.

Exploring Camp Verde and Beaver Creek

The next day, we decided to explore Beaver Creek, a spot my parents had highly recommended. We checked the directions and discovered several routes to get there. Opting for the scenic route through historic Camp Verde, we made our way to Rezzonico Park, which the map indicated was the location of Beaver Creek.

Rezzonico Park was quaint, featuring a trail that led down to the Verde River, art sculptures, and a Star Park for stargazing. The river looked inviting, but we refrained from swimming due to the cold water. Instead, we decided to explore other river access points in the area.

Our first stop was Bignotti, a day-use-only area. Despite the rough road, the journey was worth it. The beautiful rocky mountains and shady hiking trail made for a picturesque outing. The sound of the river was incredibly soothing, and I could have stayed there all day.

Next, we saw a sign for “Skidmore and Prairie Day Use-River Access” and followed the road to Black Canyon Recreation Area. Initially, the trail ended at a rocky cliff, but we found another path that led down to the river. This spot was less shady than Bignotti but more accessible for setting up chairs and fishing equipment.

Discovering Old Town Cottonwood

After our river explorations, we visited Old Town Cottonwood, a charming town with an array of shops and eateries. We had lunch at a small park, enjoying the delightful sight of children playing.

On our way back we checked out White Bridge since it was close to the RV park. This park was small, but had picnic tables, grills, and a hiking trail down to the Verde River. The hiking and fresh air had worn us out, so we took a refreshing nap upon returning to our RV.

A Day at Fossil Creek

Our final day brought us to Fossil Creek, with Dale and Linda joining us. (Note: Advance permits are required to park in the Fossil Creek permit area from April 1 to October 1.) As we approached the first checkpoint, we encountered a herd of cows and cowboys on horseback—a rare and fascinating sight in this area. A park ranger explained that ranchers rent the land for their cows, and such scenes occur only a couple times a year.

This was our first visit to Fossil Creek, and we were excited to explore it beyond the online photos. The road was rough, but the stunning views made up for it. It was both sad and inspiring to see the regrowth following a forest fire a few years ago. After another permit check, we reached parking Lot 4, “Fossil Creek Bridge,” and began our mile-long walk down the road to see the waterfall. During the walk, you could see parts of the river from the road. 

Just to let you know, there are 8 parking lots you can reserve at Fossil Creek. Lot 1, “Dixon Lewis,” is the closest to the actual waterfall, making it the most convenient for those who want a short walk to the main attraction. Lot 2, “Irving (Flume Trailhead),” and Lot 3, “Homestead,” offer access to other parts of the creek but require a longer walk to reach the most scenic spots. Lot 4, “Fossil Creek Bridge,” where we parked, also requires a mile-long walk down the road to get to the waterfall. 

Unfortunately, a search and rescue operation closed parking lots 1 and 2, so we headed back to our truck. At our parking lot, we followed a trail and it led us to a beautiful spot with small waterfalls to enjoy our lunch. The water was cold, but I couldn't resist dipping my feet in. Even though we couldn’t see the main waterfall, our time at Fossil Creek was still magical.

On our way back, we took a winding road past the second park ranger and discovered a camping area. However, we didn’t venture further due to time restraints.

Wrapping Up Our Trip

Back at the RV park, we decided to dine out in Cottonwood. Dale and Linda recommended Bocce, a fantastic pizza place. We indulged in delicious meatballs, a Panzanella salad, and pizza, ending our meal with dessert at Strada Bocce. It was the perfect way to wrap up our trip before heading back to Glendale the next day.

Departure and Reflections

The next morning, we woke up to smoke from controlled burns in the area. While the smoke was a bit unsettling, it was time to head home. We packed up, said our goodbyes, and left with a promise to return to Zane Grey RV Park. There’s still so much more to see and experience in this beautiful part of Arizona.



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