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Verde Hot Springs in central Arizona

September, 2000.

Verde Hot Springs in central Arizona is the site of a former resort, one that hasn't seen paying customers since the 1930's. What's left of the resort is the concrete foundation built around a number pools containing 104 degree water.

Verde is a great day trip from Sedona, which is where we were staying. While not that far away from Sedona, if you are thinking of making this trip you'd do well to have a sense of adventure. The last 20 miles of the trip involve a challenging drive down a 1 1/2 lane car-destroying gravel road, a drive that took close to an hour in my Avis-rented Grand Am. The few vehicles that passed me were all trucks - they must have a had a good laugh at somebody driving a car down this road. If I was to do the trip again I'd probably rent a Jeep, which would also come in handy for touring around the desert mesas that surround Sedona.

After a seemingly endless drive I parked at a campground alongside the Verde river, then proceed to hike the last mile to the hot springs. As I left my car I passed a "Nudity Prohibited" sign with the word "not" spray-painted between the two words. As you walk through the campground there are signs that point you to the hot springs. The hike isn't that difficult but it does involve crossing the river. If you are crossing in the right place the water is about knee high. It took me a couple of tries to find the right place - luckily the water was pretty warm. When I reached the hot springs there were about 6 people there, all nude. I shed my clothes and slid into the hot water. This was my first visit to a hot spring. Sitting in the natural hot water was an amazing experience. Visitors to the spring keep it very clean. I alternated between sitting in the hot pools and sunning myself on the concrete deck.

Some things to keep in mind if you decide to visit. There are no facilities so bring plenty of water and whatever food you will need. A pair of water sandles will come in handy for crossing the river. Also, the springs do get some textile visitors. While I was there a family canoeing down the river stopped at the hot springs. While they were not phased by the rest of us they did opt to stay in their swim suits.

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