Self-proclaimed as "The Biggest Little Town in Arizona" since the 1920s, Cottonwood is in Arizona's Verde Valley. At 3,300 ft (1,000 m) elevation it's spared the heat of the low desert and the cold of the high plateau. It's surrounded by mountains and forest, with late-1800s mining and settlers' history.
Cottonwood is in northern Arizona at the junction of Arizona State Routes 89A (AZ 89A, ) and 260 (AZ 260, ), south of Sedona and northeast of Prescott, and about 100 mi (160 km) north of Phoenix (about 2 hour drive) and 60 mi (97 km) south of Flagstaff (just over an hour drive).
From Phoenix and Flagstaff, you can take I-17 to Camp Verde and exit onto Arizona State Route 260 (AZ 260) that connects Camp Verde with Cottonwood.
Along AZ 89A, the route is very scenic, through forest and red rock canyons. Large vehicles are not recommended along 89A due to the many hairpin turns and elevation changes.
AZ 89A has scenic and historic designations: between Prescott and Jerome, it is known as the Mingus Mountain Scenic Road. Between Jerome and Cottonwood, it is known as Historic US 89A, officially named the Jerome-Clarkdale-Cottonwood Historic Road. And from Sedona to Flagstaff, the route is known as the Sedona-Oak Creek Canyon Scenic Road.
There is a park (with dog park), a river, Old Town (with tourist attractions, restaurants and bars).
- 1 Dead Horse Ranch State Park. 7AM-7PM (park), 7AM-4:30PM (visitor center & store). Hiking, biking, horseback riding, fishing, wildlife viewing. Day use: $7/Vehicle (1-4 adults), $3 (individual, bicycle); camping: see Sleep section.
- 2 Riverfront Park, 1284 E River Front Rd, ☏ . The largest municipal park in Cottonwood. There is a dog park, disc golf and a walking trail along the river.
- 3 John Bell Railroad Museum, 300 N Broadway, Clarkdale (at the Verde Canyon Railroad Depot). 8AM-5PM. Free entry.
- 4 Tuzigoot National Monument, 25 Tuzigoot Rd; Clarkdale (go north on Main Street and follow the signs for Tuzigoot Road), ☏ . Open daily, 8AM–4:45PM. A Pueblo ruin from a thousand years ago. $10; free for children 15 and under.
- 1 Verde Canyon Railroad, 300 N Broadway, Clarkdale, toll-free: , firstname.lastname@example.org. A passenger line heritage railroad running between Clarkdale and Perkinsville. The 4-hour excursion follows the Verde River, crossing bridges and passing through a tunnel amid the Prescott National Forest and Coconino National Forest. From $99/person.
- Camping in Dead Horse State Park, toll-free: (877-MY PARKS). Campsite reservations available online. $30-35/night with electricity; $20/night without hookups..
- Blackhawk Loop: 17 non-electric campsites, exclusive for tents; RVs/campers/vans not permitted.
- Cooper's Hawk Loop: 27 campsites.
- Quail Loop: 43 campsites.
- Red-Tail loop: 36 campsites.
- Cabin camping in Dead Horse State Park, toll-free: (877-MY PARKS). Cabin reservations available online. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 10AM. $60/night; $5 reservation fee; $50 cleaning fee; $10 pet charge; $20/night tent charge.
- Head southeast on AZ 260 towards Camp Verde and I-17, for quicker routes to points north (Flagstaff) and points south (Phoenix).
|Routes through Cottonwood|
|END Prescott ← Jerome ←||W E||→ Sedona → Flagstaff|
|END Jct ←||N S||→ Jct N S → Camp Verde → Payson|