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  • Writer's pictureTim Chandler

Washington Park: Easiest Trail, Highest Return

If you're staying with us at the guest house we've likely already mentioned Washington Park during our check-in conversation. It's one of the hikes we tell people can't be missed during their stay - and a place we visit to hike with the dogs and enjoy the unique climate and all the beauty Central Arizona Rim Country has to offer.

Notes and Recommendations for Washington Park

There's lots of websites, resources, and maps that'll tell you how to get to Washington Park, and we provide a map at the house in bnb cabin in Whispering Pines as well -- but what should you expect and where should you go once you've found the parking lot?

Some of this depends on the family or friends you're traveling with, since much of what you'll want to see is a hike/walk from the parking areas. Prepare before you go, as there are no facilities or restrooms available once you get to the trailhead/surrounding area.

The Bridge

Easily accessible from the parking lot during most of the year, there's a metal and wood bridge than spans the E Verde River as it crosses the beginning of trail. While not the only bridge in the areas, if you're not a hiker or have limited mobility the bridge is almost always a makable and easy walk, situated only about 40 yards from the parking lot right after the trailhead signs marking Washington Park's trailhead and the Arizona Trail.

The bridge was just put in in the last few years and makes for wonderful family photos and/or selfies, and offers a view of the E Verde as it runs through the forest. What it doesn't offer is a great view of the falls, which are located just south of the bridge but isn't easily spotted from the viewing angle the bridge offers.

The Falls

Follow the river or the trail North from the bridge as you hike and you'll see a ton of waterfalls and pools along the way, but one of the larger falls in the area is just south of the bridge. The best view of the falls is from below, so as you near the bridge watch for trails that lead down to the right of the bridge. You may have to rock hop and it could be slippery, but it's usually not too bad and the greenery and view from below are well worth it.

The High Line Trail

Once you cross the bridge you'll face a choice as you merge with the High Line trail. Choose left to walk up and along the E Verde River through dense forest. Several places offer views of the water and small water falls, views of the Rim, and often javelina and other animals. The trail will continue up and eventually let out into meadows and more trail choices. Choose to go right from the bridge and you'll follow a beautiful mountain trail (again, this is still the High Line trail) with switch backs that climb to amazing views of the surrounding hillsides. We love both directions - it depends on what you're after. Right is often less crowded but doesn't loop.

We've offered many pictures above, and hope the quick notes here are useful!

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