One of the most refreshing and astonishingly beautiful swimming holes in the Verde Valley is located in Sycamore Canyon on the outskirts of Clarkdale, Arizona. It is half way up the Parsons Trail and the water is clear and deep. Along one side there is a dramatic 200-foot canyon wall with red-rock ledges for diving and sunbathing. Lush cottonwood trees and willows provide shade.
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Sycamore Canyon is the second largest canyon in Arizona (after the Grand Canyon). It is a 56,000-acre protected wilderness area—from its forested rim near Williams to its desert mouth in the Verde Valley. A number of trails provide access to its scenic and fragile landscape. Forest Road 131, for example—just off the road to Tuzigoot National Monument—is 11 miles to the Parsons Trail trailhead.
Make sure you are equipped with plenty of water, electrolytes, protein bars and sun protection. The most difficult part of the Parsons Trail is right at the beginning, when stone steps drop rather abruptly, (about 200 feet) to the canyon floor. After that, the trail is flat and relatively easy to follow. It meanders along the banks of Sycamore Creek, a riparian area lush with plant and animal life and crosses the creek three times.
The terrain changes continuously from open wind-swept areas to woods that form a canopy over the trail. The road keeps pace with the landscape changing from embedded river rock to soft beach-like sand.
When you reach the destination the beauty is almost otherworldly. The rippled water casts dancing reflections on the soaring canyon walls and the shadows of trees on the far bank gives the otherwise clear water a greenish tint. It’s the perfect place for a picnic and spending a lazy afternoon swimming, skipping stones and relaxing.
On the way back we will stop at a local establishment for cocktails and a meal before returning to Phoenix around 5 PM.
There is no fee for this event but please register on the Desert Adventures website.
We will meet between 7:30 to 7:55 AM at the Home Depot parking lot at 35050 N North Valley Pky, Phoenix, AZ 85086 and then leave at 8:00 AM Sharp
From Phoenix, take I-17 north to Exit 287 (RT 260) near Camp Verde. Go west on RT 260 then turn left at RT 89A. Continue straight onto N. Main St. through Cottonwood.
Past Cottonwood, follow the signs toward Tuzigoot National Monument where you will turn right. After you cross the Verde River Bridge, turn left on Sycamore Canyon Rd. Go about 11 miles down this dirt road (along the Verde River) and park at the trailhead sign. Its 2 hours and 92 miles from Home Depot to the trailhead.
Google coordinates 34.864082, -112.069266Contact Monte @ 602-818-1388