Hike of the Week: Jail Trail near Cottonwood

Mare CzinarNovember 16, 2023
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Jail Trail, Cottonwood 

Debarking from the site of a former jail building in historic downtown Cottonwood, the mile-long, easy trail follows the banks of the river through River Front Park and on to Dead Horse Ranch State Park.  The trail is shaded by thick tangles of willows and enormous cottonwood trees towering over running water, cattail ringed coves and rock-strewn flood plains. 

  • LENGTH: 1 mile one-way
  • RATING: easy 
  • ELEVATION: 3,300 – 3,290 feet
  • BEST SEASON: year round
  • FACILITIES:  none 


  • From Phoenix, travel north on Interstate 17 to the Camp Verde exit 287.
  • Head 10 miles east on State Route 260 toward Cottonwood and Jerome.
  • When SR260 intersects with Main St./SR 89A/Historic 89A, take a left and follow the signs to Old Town Cottonwood.
  • Continue through Old Town to where the road makes a sharp left turn just past Yavapai Street.
  • Look for the “Gateway to the Verde River” archway and park in the lot on the right at 1101 N. Main Street.