What was once the first master-planned “company town” in Arizona has since grown to be a thriving community, exemplifying the beauty of small-town Americana. Located on the banks of the Verde River, the Town of Clarkdale embodies a unique balance between heritage and rural sophistication.
Home to over 4,000 residents within ten square miles, Clarkdale is the largest historic district in rural Arizona. With over 387 registered residential and commercial historic buildings, Clarkdale’s core identity rests in its heritage. History, however, is not the only thing that defines this quaint community. Although small in numbers, the Clarkdale community is mighty in its inclusive culture and mission to create a sense of place unique to the state of Arizona.
Clarkdale amenities include an unmatched K-8 school system, diverse housing stock and unsurpassed outdoor recreational activities. Main Street in Clarkdale provides a glimpse into the past with original structures from the town’s founding in 1912. Today, enjoy great food, explore award-winning copper exhibits nestled in classrooms of the old high school, tasting delightful eats made in a converted caboose, and enjoying local performances in one of Clarkdale’s beautiful public spaces. Kayak down the Verde River, hike through Sycamore Canyon, or mingle at one of the block parties, festivals, free summer concerts or seasonal celebrations that often take place in Town Park.
Spend a day in Clarkdale and immediately get a sense of local pride and community engagement that encourages input, nurtures new ideas and invites all to be a part of sustaining the community for current and future generations.
Arts & Culture (Recommended up to 2)
The Arts & Entertainment District is the strongly beating heart of the historic town. At the end of the district is the famous Clarkdale Town Park, built for the original residents of Clarkdale and still enjoyed today with free concerts and outdoor movies. Explore the town's three museums showcasing work from thriving copper artists plus stories from copper mining days gone by.
One of the world’s most renowned collections of copper art and artifacts, this museum has over 5,000 works of art and architecture - spanning from 3500 B.C. to the present day. Visitors are able to touch the artifacts and even bring their pets!
Every summer, the Clarkdale Downtown Business Alliance hosts a series of free block parties in a celebration of hometown pride; featuring great food, drinks and entertainment by their local businesses and restaurateurs.
What better way to explore the Verde River than to have a local resident show you its most historic and cultural assets? The Clarkdale Kayak Company offers a trip down an exclusive stretch of the Verde River and is a truly local experience.
From June to September, the Town of Clarkdale hosts evening concerts at the gazebo in the historic Town Park. These free concerts cover a wide variety of genres, and typically draw crowds of over 400 to the community.
For over 30 years, Made in Clarkdale has fostered the growth of local artists at all skill levels. It is perhaps most famous for its “Made in Clarkdale Art Show”, an ever-expanding, annual exhibit that features over 50 local artists.
Verde Canyon Railroad takes you on a ride through 20-miles of untouched wildlife, Red Rock beauty and 100 years of history. Watch from the window of your refurbished train car or from open-air viewing cars and enjoy a picturesque setting.
This event highlights the Clarkdale community and the Verde Valley at large with a goal of offering the finest Arizona wineries, breweries, spirits and restaurants while showcasing homegrown products for locals and visitors to enjoy.
History, Heritage, & Tradition (Recommended up to 4)
Clarkdale is a planned community; originally constructed as a “company town” to support the families and workers of Jerome’s copper mine. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998, the town’s historic roots have not been lost on those who have since revived the community after the mine closed in 1953.
Perhaps the most famous historic legend of Clarkdale is the 1928 Bank Robbery. A wild shootout occurred, but who fired the fatal shot? Each year, local community members transition into characters of the past to reenact this historic event.
The Clarkdale Historical Society & Museum is dedicated to preserving Clarkdale’s spirit and has preserved remarkable archives from throughout the town’s rich history. They also host free monthly public tours of the Clark Memorial Clubhouse
Each year the Clarkdale Historical Society & Museum hosts a tour of company houses, built by the United Verde Copper Co. between 1913 and 1930. Locals open up their historic homes and buildings for a guided experience of the town’s history.
Wine & Dine (Recommended up to 4)
Clarkdale's restaurants and tasting rooms provide a cross-section of locals and daytrippers. With options for every palette, visitors can enjoy some of the Verde Valley's most authentic Mexican food, decadent pastries, delicious entrees, and local craft beer and wine; often while taking in the resplendent view of the hills of Sedona.
Open since 1959, 10-12 Lounge is the spot for the best selection of Verde Valley beers, mountainside views, and live entertainment. The lounge works with its neighbor Boat House Bar & Grill to deliver a savory meal.
Chateau Tumbleweed is the brainchild of two husband-and-wife teams. This experienced crew is known to not take themselves too seriously, which is evident in the playful atmosphere of their tasting room overlooking the Red Rocks.
With a dining area that overlooks a beautiful view of the Red Rock mountains, this is a perfect stop on your way into town. Grab lunch on the go, enjoy a refreshing scoop of ice cream, or fuel up before embarking on your chosen adventure.
Serving lunch and dinner, the location offers house-made pizza, burgers, hot sandwiches, or delicious daily entree specials. You can dine in the restaurant, get your food "to-go", or enjoy it next door at the 10-12 Lounge.
This sustainable structure houses a fermentation room, barrel-aging rooms, and a tasting room that showcases award-winning, student-crafted wines. Sales go to the college’s viticulture and enology program and the Southwest Wine Center.
One of Clarkdale’s best-kept secrets, this purple train caboose parked on the corner of Main Street doubles as the region's most coveted pastry shop. Locals line up daily for Violette’s delicious pastries, breakfast, and lunch options!
Outdoor Sports & Recreation (Recommended up to 2)
Clarkdale is not only the gate to the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Area, but also an ideal location for any river excursion down the Verde River; with two river access points for kayak launches, birding and photography. Visitors can take a historic train deep into the canyon, hike along the banks of the river, visit the Audubon’s Important Birding Area at Tavasci Marsh, or tour the ruins of the Tuzigoot National Monument.
Clarkdale is fortunate to house two Day Use points of access to the Verde River that are open year-round during daylight hours. The Lower TAPCO RAP is perfect for picnicking, bird watching, photography or just enjoying the River.
In Sycamore Canyon, you won't find any roads, developed campgrounds or crowds; just 55,937 acres of wilderness marked by colorful cliffs to hike, amazing swimming holes, soaring pinnacles and one of the world's rarest habitats.
This ancient pueblo ruin provides a hands-on understanding of how the Sinagua people prospered in the Verde Valley thousands of years ago. This exhibit is comprised of over 100 rooms dating back to 1000 AD, and over 3000 pieces on display.
Local Lodging (Recommended up to 2)
Spending a few nights in Clarkdale can definitely enhance your getaway to the Verde Valley. Before taking off on a river rafting or wine tasting adventure book a room at one of these unique lodging locations tailored to fit any visitor.
This charming bed and breakfast is run by Nancy and Jerry who both love meeting new people looking to explore Clarkdale. The bed and breakfast offer comfortable accommodations with incredible views of the surrounding Verde Valley.
This 1914 building was originally used as a boarding house for unmarried local miners. Today the building is an apartment/hotel fit for any history buff and visitors looking for a novel experience in Clarkdale.
Visitors can spend a night in one of the 7 rooms this newly renovated 1915 building holds. These spacious accommodations are located in the heart of Clarkdale with easy access to nearby attractions like wineries and Smelter Town Brewery.