Camp Verde’s Scenic Trails

Hiking Trails in Camp Verde

The Town of Camp Verde lies along 18 miles of the Verde River and has access to 205 miles of hiking trails. The recently completed Mail Trail from Camp Verde to Payson, 50 miles of rugged trails used by the mail trail riders to carry the mail from Camp Verde to Payson from 1884 to 1914.
camp verde hiking trails
According to several sources, it took the riders 11 to 18 hours to make the 52-mile one-way trip, leaving the Wingfield Store at 2 a.m. The length of the ride and time it took was dependent on who had mail, what it was and the amount of snow, rain or swollen rivers the rider had to contend with.

The Trial Head location for the Mail Trail is on Highway 260 at the . mile post marker. The trial head can accommodate about 15 – 20 horse trailers. From this location, you will cross 7 miles of Mud Tank Mesa and then drop into Fossil Creek Canyon, a 1,600 foot drop in elevation and then of course come up the other side into Strawberry. Here you can leave you horse trailers or continue on to Payson.

For more information call Camp Verde Chamber of Commerce @ 928.567.9294.

The Mail Trail

The project began in 1998 when Camp Verde resident Howard Parrish read an article on the last mail rider of the trail, another Camp Verde local named Tuffy Peach. Parrish knew some of the people mentioned in the article and decided it would be fitting to try finding the old trail and re-establish it for horse riders and backpackers.

With a common bond between Bill Stafford, recreational supervisor for the Coconino National Forest and Lynn Reddell, a Camp Verde resident and on the state’s trail committee, the three set out on the long journey leading to official recognition.

The mail trail started in Camp Verde at the Wingfield store, which for a number of years served as the town’s post office. “The trail follows the general route,” Parrish said, “in some places we believe it is right in the rider’s tracks and in some places not. It’s definitely close.” The first mail route into the Verde came by way of Prescott in 1873. It was not until 1884, when a post office was established in Payson (formerly Union Park), that the route was extended to the east.

According to several sources, it took the riders 11 to 18 hours to make the 52-mile one-way trip, leaving the Wingfield Store at 2 a.m. The length of the ride and time it took was dependent on who had mail, what it was and the amount of snow, rain or swollen rivers the rider had to contend with.

Many of the details about riding the mail trail come from Tuffy Peach, whose real name was Clinton Calloway Peach, the last rider and another Camp Verde resident, though he was originally from Strawberry.

Peach said he often had so much mail slung over the saddle horn he could hardly see the trail ahead. When the mail load got too big, as was the case when the Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward catalogs came out, he would enlist the assistance of a pack mule. Delivering the mail was a very different business then than what it is today. Although he was not supposed to, Peach often delivered other sundry items to cowboys and ranches in the remote canyons under the rim.

His daily load would often include items such as spools of thread, medications and more often than not, whiskey. It was a service Tuffy says he never charged for. He would make the run three times a week, working for room and board plus a dollar a day.

The Copper Canyon Trailhead Becomes Reality

The Copper Canyon Trailhead is finally coming to fruition. The trailhead is adjacent to the historic site of the notorious saloon that was once located just outside the boundaries of Fort Verde. In its time the Horne Saloon served as a recreational opportunity of its won for enlisted men station at the fort. The trailhead will serve as a gateway to a series of combined trails that go up Copper Canyon and connect with the General Crook Trail and other trails in the area.

The trail will be a combined-use trailhead. Portions of the trail will be open to mountain bikes, horseback riders and hikers.