The Verde River Watershed in Central Arizona, and in particular the Verde River Valley, is a hot destination for birdwatching and outdoor recreation. It is home to one of Arizona’s premiere birding festivals, the Verde Valley Birding and Nature Festival.
This birding trail map highlights some of the best and most accessible birding spots associated with the Verde River Valley.
Thanks to Susie Beach, Dena Greenwood, Randy Miller, and Barbie Hart for their expertise and time, making the production of this map possible.
The Verde Valley Is Important for Birds and Birders
The Verde River, lifeblood of Central Arizona, is one of the last rivers in the Southwest that flow year-round. Along its course, it journeys through majestic red rock and basalt canyons, supporting one of the country’s rarest habitats: the cottonwood/willow gallery forest.
The middle stretch of the Verde River courses through the well-watered and aptly named Verde Valley – Verde means green in Spanish. The Verde Valley is unique since many of the tributaries that begin in higher terrain emerge in the valley as perennial streams flowing through the communities of Clarkdale, Cottonwood, Sedona, Cornville, Lake Montezuma, and Camp Verde.
The Verde Valley’s waterways connect diverse life zones from 3,000’-6,000′ including pine-fir forests, oak woodlands, pinyon-juniper forests, Sonoran desert scrub, and riparian. The Verde River’s vast watershed is habitat for one of the largest concentrations of resident and migratory birdlife anywhere in the Southwest.