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Dead Horse Ranch State Park

Don’t let the name confuse you – There’s nothing “dead” about Dead Horse Ranch State Park. It’s a quiet place to get away from it all, but it’s also is teeming with all kinds of animal and plant life. Here are three reasons why you should check out this Arizona state park.

Dead Horse Ranch State Park:
Top 3 Reasons to Visit

1 | It’s Gorgeous

When most folks think of Arizona, they picture the low, hot desert of Phoenix or the southern part of the state. They see cacti and tumbleweeds. While the desert has its own unique beauty, Dead Horse Ranch State Park is located in the high country full of tall pine trees and wildflowers. It offers high country beauty at its best.

Dead Horse Ranch State Park

Dead Horse Ranch State Park

Dead Horse Ranch State park is located at 3,300 feet above sea level in Coconino National Forest. The forest is perfect for camping, hiking, enjoying the lake, and taking in the views of the arid terrain. There are many ways to enjoy the unique beauty of this high-country desert oasis, including on horseback rides.

2 | Coconino National Forest Hiking Trails

One of the best reasons to visit Dead Horse Ranch State Park is its hiking trails. The trails really give you a chance to escape the hectic pace of the modern world and enjoy pristine natural beauty barely touched by humankind.

Dead Horse Ranch State Park Mountain Biking

Dead Horse Ranch State Park Mountain Biking

The park offers a mix of over 20 miles of trails, some doubletrack and some singletrack, but none with motorized vehicles. There are four trailheads that take you up into the high desert forest. One of its trails is a leg of the bigger Lime Kiln Wagon Road, a historic trail that extends from Cottonwood to Sedona. Cyclists can enjoy the trails too, which are rated from intermediate to expert.

3 | Wildlife Up-Close and Personal

One of the attractions that draw people to the pristine beauty of Dead Horse Ranch State Park is its many animal inhabitants. The park is known for its great fishing, but if you want to just observe animals in the wild, there are great opportunities for doing so.

It’s not uncommon to catch a beaver relaxing in the lake or a jackrabbit on its way to attend to some business. The forest area around the park is home to deer, hawks, cottontails and plenty of other desert wildlife. Over 300 species of birds either call the park home or fly through during their seasonal migration.

Dead Horse Ranch State Park: Things to Do

The park is located at the heart of the Verde River in one of the country’s few riparian corridors. This is why it offers such a unique terrain and sampling of flora and fauna. Fishing is popular here in the river or a lagoon that’s stocked with fish. There are picnic areas and barbecue areas where you can enjoy a stopover in the park.

The campsite at the heart of the park is modern and well-maintained, quiet but with plenty of facilities to make your stay convenient. The trails that wind all over the park are also well-maintained.

There are many things to do at Dead Horse Ranch State Park, but the best of all is to just take in the natural beauty and pure Arizona air.

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