Paddle Down the River Mild

Laid-back kayaking in central Arizona

If death-defying isn’t your speed, you’ll be happy to know that this adventure starts with a rubber “Ducky Kayak” and potentially ends at a bar. And “potentially” has nothing to do with the Verde River’s ferocity—just the fact that you have a choice of where your journey ends.

Sedona Adventure Tours offers an assortment of low-maintenance packages that includes Paddle to Pints (you wind up at a pub in Cottonwood), Water to Wine (the destination is the Alcantara Vineyards & Winery, also in Cottonwood) and Saddle to Paddle (ride horses at Rimrock, then raft). The wife and I wanted to build our own day (including the nearby Out of Africa Wildlife Park), so we opted for the basic three-hour guided tour.

Especially given that we had our 9-year-old in tow, it was a good call. The guide, who grew up in the area, was the perfect combination of knowledgeable, affable and imperturbable. He provided the narrative as if we were in a slideshow, pointing out birds, trees and ancient Indian cliff dwellings that our urban eyes might have otherwise missed. And he patiently gave us tips for navigating the periodic rapids and low-hanging branches along the river.

True, there is a spot called Butterfly Bend, but all is not embarrassingly easygoing along the Verde. There are enough challenges for the inflatable kayaks (especially if you’re in a tandem Ducky with a wee one) during the 5-mile trip to make you feel like you’ve earned that beer or wine. For us low-thrills adventurers, that’s all that counts.

$88 per adult, $77 per child (includes ground transportation), 45 W. Hollamon St., Camp Verde, 877-673-3661. Visit to see other packages and prices.

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Best of the City 2013: Nominate Your Favorites Now

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Vegas Seven’s fourth annual Best of the City competition is on! From the best mechanic to the best TV anchor hair, we want to recognize the things that make our city great, and we need your help. Now through June 25, tell us your picks in the categories below by leaving a comment on this page, on our Facebook page, or by email at We’ll combine your choices with those of our staff and local experts to come up with the winners, which we’ll announce in a special double issue at the end of July.



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