Dead Horse Ranch State Park

How have I missed this park in all the years I have lived in Arizona? Maybe it was the name. No, we saw no dead horses. We saw plenty of wonderful opportunities to warrant a return trip or two.




Elaine and Charlottes met up with us. They had been there earlier in the week and their photos motivated us to go and check this place out. So how does a park get a name like this? The story goes that in the late 40s a family was looking to buy a ranch. They took their kids with them and at one of the ranches there was a dead horse on the road outside the ranch. Later, when the kids were asked which ranch they liked the best they all wanted the ranch with the dead horse. That is the name given to the ranch by the family and it was kept by the Arizano State Parks in 1973 when it acquired the land (condition of sale by the family).

According to the brochure you can pick up at the Visitor Center, the park covers 423 acres and its unique ecosystem is comprised of the Cottonwood and Willow riparian gallery forest (one of less than 20 such riparian zones in the world). There are campgrounds of all types, excellent facilities (including showers), room for large picnics and trails galore. There are three lagoons, hikes by the river, horseback riding . . . 

Enjoy the rest of the show. Oh, the little town up in the hills below is Jerome!
















I suspect that this park is very popular in the summer. Many spots already had reserved signs posted for this weekend. Probably more people than I want to cope with, but during the week it should be just fine. Or, I can find out where to rent a canoe and just get away from them!!

We will all go back. We are still looking for an endangered rose and I want some dragonfly photos. The reflections are lots of fun and I'll bet some of the hikes down to the river would provide a lot of photo opportunities.

Thanks for sharing our day.