Kayaking the Verde River

Sedona is most well known for its towering red rocks and all sorts of related activities, but on a recent trip we headed about an hour outside of Sedona to enjoy a different experience: kayaking on the Verde River. We had kayaked in lakes and even in the ocean before, but this was our first time on a river, and it was our favorite kayaking experience ever!

There are a number of different outfitters and tours, but the overall process is the same… you arrive to a common meeting place near the river, the company shuttles you up the river where they have sturdy inflatable kayaks waiting for you, and you do a self-guided float down the river. The river has a nice comfortable current and is perfect for practically all ages (as young as four years old, in a tandem with an adult). Because you are going along with the current, you mostly use the paddles in slow spots or to steer. This means that you don’t need much experience or strength to enjoy the float. It also means that if you are floating with little ones, they can paddle as much or as little as they want.

No need to worry about the river being too wild. This is about as “whitewater” as it gets!

If you are looking to make a day of this trip, there are a few sites depending on your interest. After or before your float, you could visit Montezuma Castle National Monument, a 12th century cliff dwelling. There are also a number of wineries along the Verde Valley wine trail, some of which offer food. This can be a great stop after a few hours of kayaking. And, if art is your thing, head up to historic Jerome for galleries, cafes and an amazing view of the valley from up in the mountains.

Logistics: There was minimal preparation needed for this trip. It was useful to have water shoes/sport sandals for getting into and out of the kayak and quick drying clothes. In the later fall or winter, you’ll want to have at least a sweatshirt or a rain shell to keep dry and in the summer you may just want your bathing suit. Of course, bring drinking water and sunscreen and any other sun protection you prefer to use.

If you’d like help planning a trip to Sedona, including hotels and recommendations for activities, contact me at kristin@familytravelsandadventures.com or (408)533-0080. I’d love to help you discover this beautiful part of the country.

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