Tag Archives: Verde River


2013 Runoff Best in Last Three Years

While the early forecast of an El Nino season never materialized, the 2013 runoff season nevertheless produced just enough snowmelt to refill the reservoirs to near the previous year’s level on the Salt and Verde rivers going into the heaviest-use period of the calendar year.

And, after two of the driest La Nina winters on record, water managers at Salt River Project aren’t complaining with the 444,788 acre-feet of stream flow accumulated in the first five months of 2013, the January-through-May period that amounts to the year’s runoff season.

“We’re thrilled that the runoff we got this year put us back to where we were a year ago,” said Charlie Ester, SRP’s manager of Water Resource Operations. “That may not sound like a lot, compared to years such as 2010 when we filled our reservoirs, but essentially we have regained all of the water that we used the previous year.”

Thanks to another boost from a better-than-average monsoon season, the reservoirs on the Salt and Verde rivers today stand at 55 percent full with 1.28 million acre-feet stored – exactly the same percentage as one year ago following the 23rd and 16th driest runoff seasons among the 115-year-old records kept by SRP.

Theodore Roosevelt Lake, which holds about two-thirds of the combined water stored on the Salt and Verde rivers, today stands at 45 percent full. Current storage on the Salt River system is 54 percent; the two reservoirs on the Verde River are a combined 62 percent of capacity.

This year’s runoff season, while still below the 30-year median runoff of 534,336 acre-feet, was the most productive since 1,418,960 acre-feet of water was accumulated during the 2010 runoff season — the 20th most productive year on record. The snowmelt runoff in 2012 amounted to only about 196,064 acre-feet, which followed the 2011 runoff total of 222,907 acre-feet.

SRP is the largest raw water supplier in the Phoenix metropolitan area, normally delivering about 1 million acre-feet annually.

Verde Canyon Railroad, Photo: Flickr, Jenny Lee Silver

Chug Along The Verde Canyon Railroad

All aboard! The tracks are calling for an unforgettable railroad adventure on the Verde Canyon Railroad. Travel by locomotive on this four-hour journey, witnessing the exotic and tranquil landscape as you pass the mountains along the Verde River.

From Clarkdale, Ariz., the train follows the Verde River to Perkinsville (a ghost town). The journey chugs along on the same route both ways, departing at 1 p.m. daily except on Tuesdays — so be sure to get there at 12 p.m., sharp!

Providing its guests with a four-hour, round-trip adventure, the train can accommodate more than 400 passengers who can opt for either first class or coach. Choose first class, and you’ll have access to full bar service as well as complimentary appetizers. When boarding, champagne or sparkling cider toast is offered, too.

Discounts available are for members of AAA, AARP, Employee Network, military (retired and active), and the ESM for a 10 percent discount. But, you must call to make your reservation for the discount because they are not available online.

Verde Canyon Railroad offers packages to make its guests’ experience both memorable and affordable. Hotel packages are listed in alphabetical order for your convenience online.

For more information about how to chug along the tracks aboard the Verde Canyon Railroad, please visit verdecanyonrr.com.

Verde Canyon Railroad
300 N. Broadway
Clarkdale, AZ 86324
(8000) 582-7245

Top Picnic Places In Arizona

Top Picnic Places In Arizona

With the weather getting warmer, who doesn’t want to spend more time outdoors? So gather your family and have yourself a picnic.

This spring season, consider having a picnic at one of the following locations:

Northern Arizona

Dead Horse Ranch State Park is located in Cottonwood and covers 423 acres of land that includes 10 hiking trails, 22 campground sites and two picnic areas. Situated near the Verde River, Dead Horse Ranch has abundant flora and wildlife that changes depending on the season.

675 Dead Horse Ranch Rd.
Cottonwood, AZ 86326
(928) 634-5283

Red Rock State Park is another great place to have a picnic. This park’s signature red rocks and lush greenery are the perfect scenery for having lunch outdoors. Red Rock also has many hiking trails: The Coyote Ridge Trail, Kisva Trail, Yavapai Ridge Trail, Javelina Trail and Rattlesnake Ridge, which rises above the Twin Cypress picnic area.

4050 Red Rock Loop Rd.
Sedona, AZ 86336
(928) 282-6907

Slide Rock State Park, named after the slippery creep bottom nearby, is another Sedona favorite for picnicking. Aside from its nature trails, Slide Rock also has a wading and swimming area that’s perfect for cooling off. Its apple barn offers seasonal apple picking, and Slide Rock Market has snacks and picnic supplies.

6871 N. Highway 89A
Sedona, AZ 86336
(928) 282-3034

Eastern Arizona

Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park is located three miles west of Superior. It features Arizona’s oldest and largest botanical garden, beautiful vistas, natural habits, a desert lake, picnic areas and a visitor center. This is the perfect place to admire nature while picnicking.

37615 U.S. Hwy 60
Superior, AZ 85273
(520) 689-2811

Another park that made this top picnic places list is named after one of Arizona’s lost gold mines. Lost Dutchman State Park is located five miles north of Apache Junction and is at the base of Superstition Mountains. Along with hiking and nature trails, picnic facilities and 35 campsites are offered throughout the year.

6109 N. Apache Trail
Apache Junction, AZ 85219
(480) 982-4485

Southern Arizona

Patagonia Lake is a popular spot to have a picnic. Camping sites are offered depending on how much you want to rough it. They range from undeveloped spots to places with running water and electricity. Patagonia includes picnic ramadas, a swimming beach and a boat rental store.

400 Patagonia Lake Rd.
Patagonia, AZ 85624
(520) 287-6965

Roper Lake State Park is another great place for a picnic. There are two sections to the park: Roper Lake and Dankworth Pond. Roper offers a 30-acre lake, a natural stone hot tub, an island, a beach and campsites. Dankworth Pond has picnic ramadas, an Indian village and a playground.

101 E. Roper Lake Rd.
Safford, AZ 85546
(928) 428-6760

Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park is part park, part museum. It has a gift shop, a museum inside the courthouse and a courtyard. The courtyard is a perfect spot to have a picnic after exploring the park and exhibits.

219 Toughnut St.,
Tombstone, AZ 85638
(520) 457-3311

Western Arizona

Alamo Lake State Park is located about 40 miles north of Wenden. The lake is a great fishing spot and is known for its large mouth bass. There are many outdoor activities to enjoy at Alamo Lake, such as wildlife watching, hiking amongst beautiful scenery, and, of course, picnicking. Alamo Lake State Park has an amazing view of the lake and the surrounding mountains.

(928) 669-2088

Encanto Park, also known as Enchanted Island, is a beautiful urban oasis that’s perfect for a family picnic. This 222-acre park offers children rides, pedal boating, a lake and scenic views. Enjoy your picnic under the many ramadas or pick a spot near the water.

1202 W. Encanto Blvd.
Phoenix, AZ 85007
(602) 254-1200

Fountain Hills Park has large oak trees that are perfect for spreading a picnic blanket under. Watch the majestic, world-famous fountain while having lunch. Other features of Fountain Hills Park include a playground, 35-acres of turf, a lake and many picnic tables and benches.

12925 N. Saguaro Blvd.
Fountain Hills, AZ 85268