Go Take a Hike: Dedication for Verde Valley's new Cliff Rose Trail (with photo gallery)
COTTONWOOD -- Representatives of four Verde Valley communities plus preservation, equestrian advocates and others were on hand Monday to formally open a new Cottonwood trailhead, the Cliff Rose Trail off the side of the Mingus Avenue Extension.
The trailhead originates on property owned by Yavapai County within Cottonwood City jurisdiction and both governments contributed to the development, according to Supervisor Chip Davis.
Davis explained that the land where the trailhead was built is part of 360 acres of land the county originally bought as part of the Mingus Avenue Extension project to protect the endangered Cliff Rose.
Bob Rothrock of the Verde Valley Land Preservation said it was the VVLPI coordinator, Steve Estes, who was browsing maps and realized there was a potential for a trailhead since the open county-owned land connected to forest land.
He said, "Any time you get a new trail, it is a good day. Go take a hike."
The city contributed materials, mill and fill and the county provided the labor. It took about six months to complete the project, but Davis says, there is more to come. While a pedestrian gate exists, an equestrian gate has yet to be installed and there is one glitch.
The forest service recently blocked the trail on the north end.
The trail is seen as making a connection to the Lime Kiln Trail, the 15-mile historic leg that links Dead Horse Ranch State Park with Red Rock State Park in Sedona, a project started by the Verde Valley Horseman's Council in the 1980s.
After 15 years of effort, Diane Lovett and Fran Whetten convinced the Forest Service to endorse the project.
Cottonwood Mayor Diane Joens predicted that the trail would get a lot of use.
Davis says the long-term vision anticipates trail connections two and from the river and national and state park properties.VERDE VALLEY -- Most of the established trails in the Upper Verde Valley are in the Prescott Forest on Mingus Mountain but more are planned. In the lower Verde, the trails are often east of the urban areas on Forest Service land.
Charles Scully is a long-range planner with the City of Cottonwood who has also been working for years on trail systems in the Verde Valley. He admits it is slow work with local, state and federal agencies involved, but hails the work of the Regional Trails Concept Plan. That plan was originated by the now-defunct Cocopai Resource Conservation and Development agency and kept moving by the trails committee of the Verde Front, a long-range development initiative of the Prescott National Forest.
Scully says an upgraded trailhead was established last year for the Black Canyon Trail originating off FR#114 near Ogden Ranch Road in the Verde Village area.
That trail is not to be confused with the Black Canyon Trails Coalition project. Their project, which originates in Black Canyon City and has the backing of District 2 Yavapai Supervisor Tom Thurman, follows a historic sheep-driving trail and is proposed to eventually connect with Sheep's Crossing of the Verde River here in the Verde Valley.
The West Mingus Trail hub is proposed to be centered near the old shooting range off West Mingus Avenue and Allen Springs Road and disperse in several directions.
Scully says there is also interest in improving the historic Grief Hill trail, which originates off Cherry Creek Road and climbs through the Black Hills.
A Coconino Forest environmental review has been assessing the restoration of the historic Coneville Stage Trail through Cornville.