FR500 Verde River Hiking Access

Scout Route
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FR500 is a side road off Fossil Creek Road about ten minutes southeast of Camp Verde, Arizona and the I-17. This is a low desert (hot) area of Arizona that will be nicest in the spring- or if you plan to hike down to the Verde River in summer for backcountry camping and swimming in the holes and riffles and "The Falls" on the east bank of the Verde River. Like all the good swimming holes in the Verde Valley and below the rim, these are harder to get to and involve hiking. There are no services, so bring your own kit- especially water. Don't attempt the hikes into the floodplain while it's raining or flooding; that is dangerous.

The road and its side trails lead to overlooks and hiking access to the "protected" Wild and Scenic Rivers portions of the Verde River. The main trail FR500 is in decent condition and is a poorly maintained gravel road that is suitable for beginners with stock equipment. The side trails 9242 and 9244, can be used to access hiking trails and the river, and are in much worse condition with some rock shelves, width problems, and pinstriping from the brush. Stock vehicles may struggle with the side trails; high clearance and 4x4 are recommended for those. This area is grazed by cattle and sheep, and many portions are closed due to historical overuse, so mind your Motor Vehicle Use Map and obey the posted closures.

You can camp along this entire trail and along the spurs.