I have made my way to Camp Verde, Arizona, in the heart of the Verde Valley and the Yavapai-Apache lands.
This week I am exploring parts of the Verde Valley that have re-opened and hopefully do some hiking.
I am camping at a very nice RV Park called Distant Drums that has easy access to the interstate.
I also have friends in another campground here so I won’t be doing too much alone.
**** Jerome, Arizona
Jerome is known as the largest ghost town in America.
Founded in 1876 with a current population of 500 living residents and countless wandering spirits, this town, nestled on Cleopatra Hill, has seen some wild west times.
Often referred to as the “wickedest town in the west” it was once home to saloons, brothels and opium dens.
Jerome’s first occupants were mainly miners. Miners of copper, silver, gold and zinc. Some of those miners have never left this old western ghost town.
At an elevation of 5066 feet, Jerome overlooks the Verde Valley below.
There is an old cemetery that sits on a ridge on the outskirts of town known as Jerome Hogback Cemetery and on this day my friend Karly is with me.
The cemetery is supposed to have almost 400 gravesites, but I would say there were only 40 that you could actually see.
The cemetery is really unkempt and there are only a handfull of plots that had actual markers on them.
Most of the sites were enclosed with metal fencing. I read this was probably due to wild animals digging up the remains.
The cemetery is the resting place for the tragic deaths of miners and families of Jerome.
Gunfights, mining accidents, murders and other tragedies like measles in children took the lives of most.
Many infants were buried here in unmarked graves. Often the undertaker was the father.
It has been said that when visiting the cemetery one can hear disembodied voices or footsteps of someone walking up behind them. Unfortunately we did not hear or see anything.
Seems very sad that the souls that lay here in this cemetery have no identification or reminder of their existence.
There were though some pretty wildflowers in such a desolate place.
May the souls here rest in peace.
Jerome has seen its share of hardships, from ravaging fires and landslides, it has always rebuilt.
At one time Jerome was the 4th largest city in Arizona with a population of 15,000.
Before the mines closed in 1953, Jeromes was home to many Americans, Mexicans, Croatians, Irish, Spainards, Italians and Chinese.
Downtown Jerome is full of artsy shops, wine cellars and places to get something good to eat.
Lunch was at the Bordello and it was delicious! I had the angus burger with fried egg and sweep potato fries.
Great read on the Sliding Jail.
Today Jerome is a haven to writers, artists and musicians.
The Jerome Grand Hotel was originally the United Verde Hospital. The hospital was in operation from 1927 through 1950.
The building sat unused for 44 years until Larry Altherr purchased it and renovated it into the Jerome Grand Hotel opening its door in 1996.
The hotel is popular for its many hauntings and draws ghost hunters from all over.
This furnace is on display next to the police station on Main Street.
Although I wasn’t privy to any paranormal experiences, I had a great day in Jerome.
Definitely a must see place if you visit the Verde Valley.
**** Village of Oak Creek
Located in Red Rock State Park is the quaint Village of Oak Creek.
Below is Bell Rock with an elevation of 4919 feet.
Below is Courthouse Butte with an elevation of 5454 feet
To the west of Bell Rock is Yavapai Vista Point, where a lot of green is in the middle of the first picture. The other two are just different angles.
Heading into Sedona Karly and I visited the Chapel of the Holy Cross.
These pictures are of the area surrounding the Chapel of the Holy Cross.
The top picture is called Snoopy Rock as it looks like Snoopy laying on the top of his dog house.
The scenery and red rocks were amazing and changed as the sun did.
In Sedona there is an overlook at the airport which is on top a mesa and you could see Capital Butte, Sugarloaf Mountain, Coffeepot Rock and Chimney Rock.
I was totally in awe of the beauty from the overlook.
**** Oak Creek Canyon
As I left Sedona and headed north through Oak Creek Canyon I was able to pull off safely and get a picture of the canyon(top) and the bridge (bottom) before I crossed over.
It was great to see so much green!
The drive through the canyon was twelve miles long.
There were cars and trucks parked in spots all along the route with people finding fun in the cool pools of water from Oak Creek below.
Around every turn there were new buttes and mesas to be seen.
After twelve miles, I turned around the girls and I stopped at a roadside market where Native Americans were selling jewelry that they had made.
Heading back down through Sedona I stopped at the Hike House and ran into this cowboy!
**** Camp Verde
Camp Verde happens to be the home of the worlds largest Kokopelli.
Karly and I took a short walking tour through historic downtown.
Here is the Rock Jail circa 1933.
Then and nows;
Boler’s Bar, circa 1933
Verde Valley Mercantile Company, circa 1917
Sutler’s Store/Wingfield Building/Camp Verde State Bank, circa 1871 – 1916
Stage Stop and Boarding House, circa 1875
Dance Hall, circa 1915
Camp Verde Grammar School, circa 1914
Camp Verde is home to Fort Verde, occupied by the US Army and built in 1873, the fort was an active military base during the Arizona Indian Wars and abandoned in 1891.
Unfortunately the site was closed during my time here so I could not tour it.
Montezuma Castle National Monument is a well preserved cliff dwelling in Camp Verde and it too was closed during my time here.
Cottonwood is just west of Camp Verde and has a very interesting “old downtown”.
I did stop in to see what the Hippie Emporium had to offer! It was groovy man!
Another small town in the Verde Valley is Clarkdale.
There is a historic railroad that takes visitors for a three and a half hour tour through the valley, but again closed.
Tuzigoot National Monument is also in Clarkdale. The remanant of a Southern Sinagua village built between 1000 and 1400.
Also closed but I did manage to get a few pictures from down below.
After all the disappointments of sites being closed, I did find a nice water hole on the Verde River.
**** Hiking Day!
Cathedral Rock is rated difficult in the Alltrails app. It is a 2 mile out and back trail with an elevation climb of 741 feet.
As I make it to the plateau this was the view.
I just love how the old Juniper Tree clings to the side of the mountain.
Hiking past the plateau and over a rocky area you come to a crevasse to get to the next section.
This hike is challenging as you maneuver over many rocky formations.
At the top!!!!
Yes that is me out on the cliff!
Views from the trail end.
But wait! There is more! As you work your way around the pillars there is more to see between and up and over.
The pillars were great!
Many crevasses in the tall pillars.
Hiking/Climbing around to the other side of the pillars gave you a totally new view.
I got off the beaten path for a look at these gorgeous columns.
Looking out over the valley towards Camp Verde.
Looking out over the valley towards Sedona.
I have had a fun and relaxing trip here to the Verde Valley.
Hanging out with friends and just taking in all the beautiful scenery has made this a very memorable trip.
I start my next adventure inthe morning! I will look forward to sharing those with you soon!