Verde Hot Springs is an adventure worth trying at least once
Verde Hot Springs
What does a river running at 150 cubic feet per second look like? We were about to find out. As soon as I learned you have to cross the Verde River to get to the Verde Hot springs my spidey senses said "don't do it", but by golly I'm an adventurer, and I have done scarier stuff than this, so I planned to do it. Fear or no Fear.
The Verde Hot Springs is located near Camp Verde, Arizona, and is the location of a long ago burned down resort. It has been on my list since we moved to Arizona almost three years ago. It's one of those places I said 'that looks fun' but didn't really look into what it takes to get there until the night before. Let me just say, it takes a person with driving nerves of steal, water crossing nerves of steal, and good friends who are willing to adventure with you to make this whole thing come together.
It starts with a nice drive up 17 (or down if you come from Flagstaff) to the Camp Verde exit. Take AZ-260 out to Fossil Creek Road turn your right and turn get ready for a bumpy ride. The next is 20 miles is all dirt roads. Next you'll come to Childs Power Road where you will turn right again. I would caution you at this point to make sure you have high clearance vehicle to make this trip. Seriously, they are not joking when they say that. The worst is closest to the Camp Verde campgrounds so be warned.
Once you arrive at the campground you will go right and you can drive to the end where you'll see a wire gate. Park and go through there and hike about a mile. The trail follows the river so it's fairly easy to find. Eventually you'll make your way to a rock with an arrow painted on it telling you to go left and this is where you cross the river.
This is also where I tell you what 150 cubic feet per second looks like. It was doable and about up to mid thigh for me and I'm 5'10" for reference. The current was a little swift but going slow made it manageable also having cheerleaders along for the adventure helped. Alison and Rula made excellent adventure mates.
After you cross you turn left and follow the path to the hot springs. It won't take you long from here. On the final stretch to the springs we received a few warnings about old naked people. Did it stop us? Nope! Should it have stopped us....nah. A few people were enjoying nature in the buff but nothing too shocking.
There are two springs, actually three if you count the weird little square hole that contained murky water and was somewhat terrifying, one is in a room made of stones and the other is open with a gorgeous view of the river.
The hot spring in the room is warmer, about 104ºF. That was my favorite. The walls are covered in artwork from people who came and went through the years. The open tub is DEEP and about 98ºF. Both are very small. Fortunately there were only a few people when we went but as we were packing up a large family appeared making it very tight if we stayed.
After a good soak it was time to head back out. The river crossing was a breeze the second time around. Amazing what doing something just once does for your confidence level. We were rockstars! We decided at the last minute for a side adventure and headed to Fossil Creek. It added an hour to our bumpy dirt road drive but was totally worth it.
Will I be running back to the hot springs? Ummm, maybe? It was fun, but it is a long long long drive on dirt roads. Perhaps we'll stay at the campground next time. Oh, don't forget to grab tacos on your way back to Phoenix. Gabriela's Mexican Food totally hit the spot after that adventure!