Cities and Towns
Besides the stunning natural beauty and diversity of the Verde Valley, the Valley is blessed with a delightful mix of cities, towns and unincorporated communities. With a history of non-Native American settlement dating back to the latter part of the 1800’s, many of the communities have deep roots in the Valley. While initially, the economic basis for this settlement was agriculture and ranching, this evolved into mining as the 1800’s turned into the 1900’s. This was followed by population growth, which led to a more diversified economy, and these communities became regional centers for commerce and tourism.
Located at the southeastern end of the Verde Valley, this town of 11,000 is located on the Verde River. With a history of ranching and agriculture, Camp Verde now enjoys a thriving tourism business. Visitors come to see the historic Fort Verde, Montezuma Castle National Monument, and enjoy the gaming at Cliff Castle Casino. For more information about Camp Verde, please see the Town of Camp Verde’s website or the Camp Verde Chamber of Commerce’s website.
Founded in 1912 as a mining town developed to support one of the most successful copper mines in America, this progressive town of 4,000 now is home to many retirees and also the Verde Valley Campus of Yavapai College. Clarkdale is the home for both Tuzigoot National Monument and the popular Verde Canyon Railroad that takes visitors on a scenic ride through upper Verde Canyon. For more information, please see the Town of Clarkdale ’s website.
Often referred to as the service center of the Verde Valley, Cottonwood has a population of 12,000 and is located on the Verde River. Besides hosting the Valley’s regional hospital, Verde Valley Medical Center, it has a variety of retail shops and big box stores designed to meet the needs of the valley’s residents. Old Town Cottonwood has undergone a recent revitalization, with wine tasting rooms, boutique shops, restaurants, and other local businesses enhancing the historic downtown. Visitors make year round use of the popular Dead Horse State Park for camping, hiking, fishing, and birding. For more information, please see The City of Cottonwood ’s website or the Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce’s website.
This small town of 440 is located on a hillside above the Verde Valley. With copper and silver deposits known since the Spanish Colonial era, it was the site of huge mining operations. Jerome, which once had a population of around 15,000 Jerome in the 1920s and was once known as the “wickedest town in the West”, is now a quiet, picturesque tourist spot, with art galleries, unique shops, and more. For more information, please see AZJerome.com or the Jerome Chamber of Commerce website.
Recognized as one of America’s most beautiful locations, Sedona is one of Arizona’s premier tourist spots, with an estimated 4.5 million visitors annually. A city of 11,000 with a strong artistic flavor, it is nestled among dramatic red rock cliffs. It hosts a renowned film festival and welcomes visitors from around the world who come for hiking, shopping, mountain biking, spa retreats, and New Age experiences such as vortex tours. For more information, please see the City of Sedona ’s website or the Sedona Chamber of Commerce ’s website. The Forest Service’s Red Rock Country website has information on recreational opportunities.
While much of the population of the Verde Valley resides in incorporated cities or towns, there are a substantial number of people who live in unincorporated communities. It is these communities that give the Valley such a wonderful rural feeling. While many rural residents work in nearby towns, there still remains an active farming and ranching presence. In recent years, this has been supplemented by a vigorously growing wine industry that grows it’s own grapes in the Arizona sun.
Some of the unincorporated communities are:
Cornville and Page Springs
Located on scenic Oak Creek, these two communities serve as bedroom communities for nearby Sedona and Cottonwood. The Audubon Society has designated this lower section of Oak Creek as a nationally Important Bird Area. An excellent place to do some birding and see native fish being raised is the Page Springs Fish Hatchery, operated by Arizona Game and Fish.
Lake Montezuma, Rimrock, and McGuireville
These three communities straddle Interstate I-17 approximately 20 miles south of Sedona. Montezuma Castle National Monument is nearby and provides visitors with an excellent example of Sinagua architecture. Also located here is Montezuma Well, which is a limestone sinkhole out of which flows some 1,400,000 gallons of water per day. This site is sacred to the local Yavapai people and is preserved as part of the National Monument.
Big Park – The Village of Oak Creek
Located a few miles south of Sedona by way of a scenic road with spectacular red rock views, this community consists of homes as well as tourist facilities such as hotels, restaurants, and golf courses. It is conveniently located to many of the most attractive hiking trails in the Sedona area. For more information on trails and more recreation opportunities, see the Forest Service’s Red Rock Country website.