Tuzigoot River Access Point
Tuzigoot River Access Point (RAP)
15 E Tuzigoot Road, Clarkdale, AZ
Tuzigoot RAP (the Tuzigoot River Access Point) is located on property owned by Arizona State Parks and is part of the Verde River Greenway State Natural Area. This is a Day Use area, which operates year-round during daylight hours.
About Tuzi Rap
Arizona State Parks began acquiring property around the Tuzigoot Rap in 1986 and made its most recent acquisition in 2004, resulting in a total of 78.38 acres at the site. In 2012, the Town of Clarkdale entered into an agreement with AZ State Parks to cooperatively manage 69.28 acres of the land as part of the Verde River @ Clarkdale.
The Hickey Ditch Dam, which diverts approximately 15 cfs of irrigation water to Dead Horse Ranch State Park and a few other private ranches is located here, and forms a 2.5 acre upriver pool that is popular with fisherman, boaters and other recreationalists.
Public access to the site is from a driveway that extends 2/10ths of a mile from Tuzigoot Road to an approximately 4-acre parking area. The parking area is located on a lower level of the property (the "lower bench"), within the floodplain, in an area that has been heavily compromised in the past from illegal off-road vehicle use and occasional sand and gravel removal.
Two handicap-accessible parking spaces are designated on the southeast end of the parking area on the lower bench. A handicap-accessible path travels approximately 400 feet from those parking spaces to a viewing platform that overlooks the Verde River. The path leads to an area that is popular for families and other visitors to enjoy the river.
Directly east from the viewing platform lies approximately 13 acres of heavily vegetated riparian area mixed with a 2-3 acre sand/cobble floodplain area. This entire area lies within the floodplain. It provides about 1,300 feet of riverfront access, though much is heavily vegetated and can be difficult to access. 27 acres of land is located on the south side of the Verde River. Accessed only from a private, gated emergency access/ditch maintenance road, this property is part of the RAP, but not designated or developed for specific uses.
A primitive boat landing/launch area is located approximately 500' downriver from the Tuzigoot Bridge, and allows kayakers and canoeists a small landing space and dock with a path that leads up to the parking area on the lower bench. This is a popular landing spot for boaters who launched from the Lower TAPCO RAP or other upstream sites.
The Verde River flows through the Tuzigoot RAP for 8/10ths of a mile, beginning on the west end at the Tuzigoot Bridge and ending on the east end at the Hickey Ditch Dam which diverts water to the Cottonwood Ditch. The Cottonwood Ditch provides irrigation to residential property and some ranch lands, and has one of the oldest water rights on the Verde River (dating to 1877). With a water right claim of 60 cfs (8,000 acre feet per year), there are many times of the year that the entirety of the Verde River is diverted to the Cottonwood Ditch, which severely limits waterflows below the ditch and makes boating undesirable.
Boaters are cautioned that they should be prepared to make slow progress below the ditch, and will face many areas where portage is required. Snags and overgrowth are common barriers for boaters below the Cottonwood Ditch. Those who are unfamiliar with this section of the river are cautioned from proceeding.
The Tuzigoot Bridge, a prominent feature to the north of the Tuzigoot RAP, is owned by that National Park Service. Fishermen often park on the lower bench of the Tuzigoot RAP and fish under the bridge, which is also a winter trout stocking site for the Arizona Game and Fish Department.