My friend and I ran the river with an inflatable and hard shell kayak between Beasley Flats and Childs in late March 2020 at 3000- 4000 cfs. Diverging river channels at many sections throughout the run make it difficult to determine the main channel without significant scouting. Choosing the wrong channel leads to a fast ride through brush and trees or worse. Mean looking keeper across most of the Verde Falls with a large boulder in the middle of the river below the falls, completely covered with water and with a hole below. Lined both of our kayaks around Verde Falls. Assisted two rafters in extracting their raft from brush after they flipped at the falls. Chased down a kayak which got away from another boater who flipped at the pre-falls. On the other hand, observed a paddler in an inflatable kayak run the falls on the extreme river left. The high flows create many rapids which are not discussed in the USFS Verde River Guide. In summary, at high flows and given the remote location, take your time, scout the rapids and be prepared for sweepers and trees in the channels.
On Tonto National Forest's website, find
"Verde River Guide" ...a 25-page packet of maps and rapid descriptions. http://www.fs.usda.gov/attmain/tonto/specialplaces
Wilderness run is fun, scenic but not clean. Must make eddies and careful route picking skills required in at least 4 spots in the 60 miles. A mistake could mean wrap, pin, loss of boat or worse. Be careful. Not a run for occasional class 3 boaters, especially given the remoteness.
The Verde runs low and steady throughout the winter, then crests with spring snowmelt usually in April. Boatable flows also occur sporadically during the July-September "Monsoon" rains.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.
Big Pink (lost my shoe)
Big Pink (Broken Yoke)
HOT SPRINGS (River Douche Dave)
Punk Rock @ 1200cfs
Verde above Punk Rock
Verde Falls +/-1280 cfs
moenkopi hysiding punk rock
Moenkopi 10-footer after the falls corridor
Moenkopi Riverworks high-water alert
Verde river pre-falls in a 14 footer
verde river prefalls in a 10 footer
prefalls at 2200 in a 10 foot mini me
Prefalls on the Verde
Hal Brooks on Verde Falls at 266 cfs
Below Verde Falls
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
The Tonto National Forest is revising their forest-wide Management Plan for the first time since 1985. On December 13, 2019 they officially released the Draft Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Assessment (DEIS) for a 90-day comment period ending on March 12, 2020. Forest Plans are vitally important as they are the blueprint for resource management and they provide an opportunity to secure better protections for rivers and their surrounding landscapes. As part of the plan revision process, the Forest Service is required to rely on public input to inform management direction, plan components, and new designated areas. Read on to hear about the public meetings that are happening this week!
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