5/6/2009 9:55:00 AM Ride the river at Beasley Flat
If You Go ...
What: Beasley Flat Recreation Site
Where: Off Salt Mine Road in Camp Verde
Things to do: Boating, floating, fishing, picnicking
Contact: (928) 567-4121
Road signage on the way there is nearly nonexistent, but that has never kept locals from beating a trail to Beasley Flat for fun on the river.
A recreation spot in Prescott National Forest, Beasley Flat is a favorite boat-launching spot for canoeists kayakers and rafters headed for Childs and beyond. It is also a key place to come off the water from those who put in upriver at Camp Verde.
The extensive limestone flat is worth exploring and lines the west bank while on the east ancient natural caves in the Verde Formation look down on the river. These formations were once populated by the Sinaguans, who left the area around 1400.
Besides being a river access point, the area has several sheltered picnic tables with grills, a walking trail, toilets, interpretive plaques, a parking lot and lots of wildlife. As the presence of heron will tell you, this is a good fishing spot.
It is a day-use only area.
Beasley Flat is along the section of the Verde River that was designated a National Wild & Scenic River back in 1984. The Scenic River area, in fact, starts just above Beasley Flat. Because it pre-dated the designation by many, many years, the site has remained open to all public traffic while access to other Wild & Scenic rivers has been limited.
The picnic area was reconstructed with State Lake Improvement Funds, which also require it to remain open to the public. All the better for local boat enthusiasts.
Just getting to Beasley Flat is a beautiful drive of nearly 12 miles from State Route 260. The road winds through rural residential areas and forest land.
From 260, just south of the bypass, turn west on Salt Mine Road. Two miles down the road you will pass the old salt mines on the right, which you may explore at your leisure. Eight miles later the paved road turns sharply to the left (FR 529) and on the other side of a cattle guard becomes dirt. Keep going about two more miles until the road ends at the Beasley Flat parking lot. There is a loop drive down to the launching area.
For more information about Beasley Flat and riding the river, "A Boater's Guide to the Verde River" is available at www.fs.fed.us/r3/prescott/.