We discovered a shaded gem in the Verde Valley to park our fifth-wheel for two months this summer. It’s not a secret gem, as the park was bustling all season with short term guests as well as monthly residents who call Zane Grey RV Village home for half the year. Several of the long term residents created magical spaces with plants and rugs and laser lights that shine up into the trees at night. It makes the park truly enchanting.
Zane Grey RV Village is sporting a new sign at its entrance to reflect new ownership just last year. The meticulous managers and camp hosts work hard daily to groom each site and to meet the campers’ needs. They sell propane, camping supplies, even quarters for the laundry room. Every Saturday they host a coffee and donut social and potlucks on special occasions. Friendly folks stop often to chat about anything. We felt at home here from day one.
The Zane Grey’s location at about 3,200 feet elevation is surrounded by mountains. On most days, the temperature here was about 10 degrees cooler than in the Phoenix Valley. The greatest relief came from the afternoon rains of the monsoon season. On warmer days, it was easy to relax in the shade of giant sycamore trees that line the center of the park. Coveted shade provided by huge black walnut trees, red alder, and pines, create a serene beauty.
Our parked RV nestled next to a row of mature mulberry trees providing us afternoon shade from about 2pm on. I found my favorite method of relaxation at Zane Grey was to watch the tall cottonwood trees rustle in the afternoon breezes. Its hypnotic effect allowed us to enjoy what we termed, “full camp mode.” In this mode we often strolled along the trail by the West Clear Creek disturbing the lizards from their perch.
On our first early morning walk we came upon a half a dozen deer having breakfast in the field. Several evenings we cooked on the BBQ at the ramada and played a few games of corn hole. Full camp mode also allowed us to have long conversations with other campers creating friendships that will last long after we go home.
Verde Valley bursts with a variety of places to explore. We toured several of the valley’s wineries and discovered wonderful varieties of wine as well as a few friendly locals who love where they live. We uncovered the nightlife of Old Town Cottonwood where motorcycle riders cruise the streets with their goggle-wearing dogs riding on the back in a basket.
Day trips to Sedona and Prescott filled our weekends along with surprising discoveries such as the little town of Cherry and Mortimer Farms. We even had time to take in a couple games at the bowling alley in Cliff Castle Casino called Shake, Rattle, and Bowl. We listened to the tales of Park Ranger Brian, a man passionate about the history of Fort Verde and its preservation. On several occasions, we traveled less than an hour to Flagstaff to visit some of our favorite pubs. Our adventures only scratched the surface of many more places to go begging us to return here again soon.
The park’s name sake wrote several descriptive western novels reflecting his love for Arizona’s magnificent geography. During the 1920s, the American author spent time fishing and hunting around his family’s cabin located in a remote area on the Mogollon Rim. Outdoorsy folks continue to visit this area to hunt and fish as well as hike and ride their ATVs which makes Zane Grey RV Village the perfect base camp.