Verde Valley RV Resort – Thousand Trails – Cottonwood Arizona

We had an early start leaving Yuma at 8am on Monday October 19. Acey’s mileage 66,950.3 and Thor’s 73,928. The first part of our drive was relatively flat again – so Linda took the wheel for 2 1/2 hours.

Jim drove after we had lunch and we started noticing a lot of cactus!

We stopped at a Rest Area at Sunset Point. There is a sundial monument there – dedicated to the Arizona Department of Transportation employees that died while serving the state of Arizona. Our sister-in-law Charlene worked for Caltrans and our son Chris works for TDOT – so we found this especially interesting.

It could be a nice place to see a sunset!

We drove through some mountains.

The road leading to the park looked desolate!

We arrived at the Thousand Trail park and found a 30amp site with full hookups at about 4pm. We will be in Cottonwood for 2 weeks.

It is pretty dark here at night, and Cottonwood actually has a dark skies ordinance (11p – 7a) – so we thought it would make for perfect conditions to see the Orionid Meteor shower on the night of Oct 20 – but we could just barely even see Orion, let alone any meteors (because of the “light pollution”). So it goes!

We found that we were just a little over a 2 hour drive to see the Grand Canyon, so off we went on Wednesday! Linda visited the Canyon way back in 1962 with her family. In 2002, Chuck wanted to see some of the National Parks out west after he graduated high school – we did a large circle tour from Las Vegas, beginning with a “detour” to Alpine to see Bill & Charlene and visit the San Diego Zoo. We stopped at Zion, Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands and finishing out with the Grand Canyon! We picked a great day for our visit this time!

It is hard to fathom how the Colorado River carved out this vast canyon.

There will never be a photograph of the Grand Canyon that can adequately describe its depth breadth and true beauty. (Stephanie Payne)

Thursday, we visited the small hilltop town of Jerome. Elevation – about 5,000 feet! The mountain is marked with a big J for Jerome!

We visited here with Bill and Charlene in 2018 – and had a great lunch at the Hilltop Deli – which, sadly, is only opened on the weekends now (darn virus). We liked the little humor on their sign, but were disappointed!

We visited several of the shops. One had a wide variety of kaleidoscopes – the largest dealer of such on the world!

The rich copper mines that were there made Jerome home to over 10,000 people back in the 1920’s – but the town is now a tourist destination with a population of about 450.

Prescott was not far away, so we went to check it out rather late on Saturday.

Trip Advisor had some intriguing photos of Watson Lake and the Granite Dells – not far from Prescott. We found a hiking trial thru the rocks and did some exploring.

We walked around downtown Prescott – this sign was a bit different – darn virus!!

One of the shops had some interesting art to show our son Chris who loves trains!

Beautiful Sedona was also not far from Cottonwood. We have been there twice before, and headed out on Tuesday! On the drive to Sedona, the landscape was quite colorful

Our first stop was at the Chapel of the Holy Cross. This place had been a dream of Marguerite Brunswig Staude for many years; inspired by the Empire State building in 1932. Lloyd Wright, the son of Frank Lloyd Wright, assisted her in planning the design. The chapel was completed in 1956. This tells the story of how it came about:

The chapel sits at the base of a 1500 foot cliff

The 90 foot cross is neatly embedded in the rock face!

This is the rock behind the chapel

Even though the chapel is not that far up, the view from the overlook is beautiful!

Courthouse Rock and Bell Rock loom in the distance.

Inside the Roman Catholic chapel is a very large and ornate bronze crucifix which is a fairly recent addition (2018).

Our next stop was a short hike around Bell Rock

Courthouse Rock is right beside Bell Rock

It was a great day to be outdoors! We got a bumper sticker for Thor. Especially when the Jeep is towed behind Acey, we tend to drive about 60mph.


We continued on to find Snoopy Rock.

Can you see Snoopy? His feet are pretty big compared to the head…

The rocks around Sedona are so colorful!

We returned to Prescott to picnic and hike at Watson Lake Park – admission is free on Wednesdays.

All Trails rated the hike around Watson Lake as “moderate”, which it probably averaged out to be – the first three fourths of our 4.87 mile hike was fairly flat and easy. The last part was a bit challenging for us old folks!

This was the map of our hike from my Apple watch.

Part of the loop trail was a rails-to-trails – the former rail bed for the Santa Fe, Prescott and Phoenix Railway

The scenery was really awesome!

Once we got into the Granite Dells – it was a bit treacherous. The first three fourths of our hike was an easy walk, but the last fourth was rather extreme for our (Linda’s anyway) skill level.

We were a bit tired after the hike – but it was worth it! Beautiful!

Linda recalled that there were some Compsons in Arizona, and she had 2 old email address from 2003 and managed to get in touch! We drove over to Payson on Thursday to have lunch and meet up with Pam (Compson) and Chris Cross. Pam’s grandfather was Jim’s uncle. If you ever meet another Compson, chances are we are related!

The landscape on our drive is remarkable! Arizona has a great variety of colors and textures in the scenery!

At this higher altitude, large trees were plentiful!

and smaller ones too

we saw rocky cliffs like these all over the areas we had driven.

And rocks seem to “grow” just about everywhere! We drove down a dirt road looking for a trailhead but didn’t find it…

We visited Montezuma’s Castle on Saturday. Early American settlers assumed the structure was Aztec in origin and named it after Montezuma. It was actually Southern Sinagua farmers that built this five-story, 20 room dwelling between around 1100 and 1300. We had been here 2 years ago when we stayed in Sedona with Bill and Charlene!

The castle had been open to the public until 1951 – a cut-away diorama showed what the interior probably looked like.

Nearby was Montezuma’s Well

Oddly, there are no fish in the well! But many leeches can be found. The water is supercharged with carbon dioxide from the underground springs that feed into the well.

The Southern Sinagua also built dwelling places in the area, some into the cliffs above the well, more on the surrounding areas.

A bit further away was Tuzigoot – the remnant of a Southern Sinagua village – crowning the summit of a long ridge rising 120 feet above the beautiful Verde Valley.

We got a great view of the beautiful Verde Valley!

On Sunday, daylight savings time had ended, but being in Arizona, we didn’t have to change our clocks! Sunday School and church at Stephens Valley was an hour later for us when we tuned in. We made preparations for us to head out to Benson Arizona on Monday.


6 thoughts on “Verde Valley RV Resort – Thousand Trails – Cottonwood Arizona”

  1. Bill and I are so enjoying your travels. Cool to see the places that the four of us went to as well a couple of years ago. Water levels everywhere sure tell all 🙁
    Continue to be safe enjoying the world. Memories aplenty for you guys.
    Linda you have been doing an OUTSTANDING job with this blog. Your descriptions, pictures, humor…all of it is AWESOME!

    1. The creek at Montezuma’s Castle was dry – seems like there was water flowing when we were there with you…. Thanks for the kudos on the blog – it is taking longer than I had hoped but its fun to document our travels!

  2. I’m enjoying your travelogue. You were so resourceful to find and record so much water in that ‘Arid zone. Ah, got to find out more about Montezuma’s castle and the Singua farmers. Stay safe and enjoy!

    1. Most of the “rivers” and “washes” are dry – it was interesting to find out that Montezuma’s well has 1.5 million gallons flowing into it every day from an underground spring! Where does all that water come from?!

  3. Jim & Linda,
    So much in here and I am loving every bit of it. Ever thought of tour guide as a second career? 🙂 Be safe.

    1. Thanks Mitiku!
      We are enjoying our travels and I try to make the blog interesting! Glad you are enjoying traveling along 😊 Hope to see you in March!

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