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About the Verde Valley

Regional Setting

The Verde Valley includes about 714 square miles located in the geographic center of Arizona, about 100 miles north of the Phoenix metropolitan area. The Verde River runs through the valley from northwest to southeast and is augmented by flows from Sycamore Canyon, Oak Creek, Beaver Creek and West Clear Creek. The area is unsurpassed in its variety of physical beauty with the red rocks and Mogollon Rim to the north and east and the Black Hills and Mingus Mountain dominating the western and southern portions of the valley.

The City of Cottonwood is located adjacent to the Verde River at elevations ranging from 3,300 feet to 3,900 feet above sea level and experiences a mild climate which, together with its proximity to an abundance of natural amenities such as the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Dead Horse Ranch State Park, Tuzigoot National Monument and the historic mining communities of Clarkdale and Jerome, continues to attract steady growth and tourism.

Historic Old Town

We encourage you to spend some time shopping and dining in Old Town where you’ll find a variety of unique and eclectic shops, fine eateries and tasting rooms that will surely put a smile on your face. The Arizona Republic has even named Old Town Cottonwood "A Culinary Hot Spot"! Visit the Old Town Association site for more details.

Land Ownership

Nearly 80% of the land in the Verde Valley is National Forest. The Coconino National Forest is generally located north and east of the Verde River while the Prescott National Forest is south and west of the River. The region includes 20 square miles of State Trust Land most of which is located along state highways between Cottonwood and Sedona and between Cottonwood and Camp Verde. Only about 17% of the Verde Valley is privately owned.

Recent History

The City of Cottonwood incorporated in 1960. During this period area roads were improved , particularly the Highway 89A "Bypass" and SR 260 to serve the needs of the Phoenix Cement Plant located in Clarkdale. This facility supplied the cement for the Glen Canyon Dam project near Page. During the early 1970's about 4,500 lots were platted outside the Cottonwood City Limits by Ned Warren - the Queen Creek Land & Cattle Company. These lots, known as Verde Village, have limited infrastructure but have been built upon over time and few vacant parcels remain today. Commercial projects and road improvements continue and a large project to add several lanes on Hwy 260 from I-17 is underway to accommodate the many visitors we have from around the world. About 50% of our visitors drive up from Phoenix to enjoy our cooler weather, scenery, wineries and several other entertainment options. 

Since 2001 the City has pursued the acquisition of the private water companies serving the area and with those acquisitions the City of Cottonwood has become a full service municipality.

Cottonwood has experienced a major expansion of the Verde Valley Medical Center, development of new residential projects such as Cottonwood Ranch and many commercial and office projects.

Completed Projects

One of the most exciting is a “State of the Art” Cottonwood Community Recreation Center. This center provides a wide range of indoor recreation activities, while serving all age groups and abilities within the community.

Population Growth

The Verde Valley has experienced significant population growth in recent years - 51% between 1990 and 2000, and 82% between 1990 and 2015. The table below shows the areas population increases from 1990 to 2015.