Wildlife is abundant on the Upper Verde River Wildlife Area, and the lush riparian corridor provides an important migration corridor for numerous migratory bird species.

  • Wildlife Viewing

The Upper Verde River Wildlife Area (UVRWA) consists of 1152 acres, including diverse topography dissected, ranging in elevation from 4,200 to 4,600 feet. Prominent cliffs rise 100 to 300 feet above the river in some segments. The UVRWA has been designated as an Important Bird Area through Audubon’s IBA program, and is home to one of the most diverse populations of native fish species in Arizona, including the endangered spikedace. This stretch of the river has been designated as Critical Habitat for this species by the USFWS.



From State Highway 89 in Paulden, take Verde Ranch Road east (USFS 635) approximately one mile. Make a sharp right, cross the railroad tracks and make a sharp left. After crossing the railroad tracks take the first dirt road to the right. Stay on this road for approximately three miles until you reach the Verde River canyon. Vehicle access is prohibited; the property is currently managed for walk-in access only.


The UVRWA riparian vegetation is characterized as mixed broadleaf deciduous, dominated by Arizona ash, boxelder, Arizona walnut, and netleaf hackberry. Tamarisk is occasionally interspersed with native tree species. Goodding’s willow, red willow, and Fremont cottonwood are also found. Low floodplain terraces are dominated by large stands of desert willow, while highest terraces are vegetated by velvet mesquite. The lower Granite Creek supports a well-developed narrowleaf cottonwood riparian forest.


Common birds in the area include bald eagles, belted kingfishers, southwestern willow flycatchers, red-tailed hawks, peregrine falcons, yellow-billed cuckoos, common black hawks, and golden eagles.


Common mammals include mule deer, javelina. elk, American black bears, pronghorn, striped skunks, raccoons, badgers, beavers, coyotes, gray foxes, bobcats, and mountain lions.

Amphibians and Reptiles

Red-spotted toads can be found in the area.


The Upper Verde River Wildlife Area is managed by AZGFD.

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