Verde Valley Tennis
The Verde Valley has two towns of substantial size, Cottonwood and Camp Verde, as well as the smaller Clarkdale, Cornville, Rimrock, and Lake Montezuma. Tiny Jerome is perched at 5066 feet overlooking the Verde Valley from the west.
Cottonwood has twelve tennis courts that are open to the public free of charge.
The four courts at the Cottonwood Recreation Center (map) are in good condition, and you can usually get a court there without waiting. Lights are available for a modest fee. Some of the courts are reserved for a few hours each week for groups that play regularly together. Signs on the doors indicate those hours and whom to contact if you want to join in.
The eight courts at Mingus Union High School (map) were in the fairly good to fairly poor condition captured in this photograph until a major upgrade in the fall of 2016. They may be the best courts in the area now, but the school grounds are locked when no classes or activities require students to be there, and the tennis teams usually fill the courts in the spring; therefore, few players other than students are likely to use the courts. The renovation may have greatly upgraded the lights, but the school grounds will rarely be accessible for the general public at night.
Camp Verde has one free, public court, at Butler Park (map). It's in fairly good condition, and you will usually find it available except for a few hours each week when it's reserved for lessons. A few low spots on the court collect deep puddles that can take two days to dry in cooler weather and several hours in the summer. The court has good lights.
Clarkdale, Cornville, and the other smaller towns, sadly, have no public tennis courts, and none of the towns in the Verde Valley have clubs, resorts, or neighborhood associations with courts that the public can use.
The Verde Valley doesn't have as many great hikes as Sedona, but the Verde River and the various creeks that feed it are surrounded by lush vegetation that contrasts dramatically with the surrounding desert, and fairly short climbs up the mountains surrounding the valley offer quick changes in scenery and panoramic views.
Camp Verde has an extensive network of National Forest jeep trails that are outstanding for biking, many of them quite smooth, largely flat, and, with a few exceptions, rarely used. On 90% of the trails, you can bike for hours without seeing another person. Camp Verde's open terrain affords sweeping views across the Verde Valley to the surrounding mountains. The most detailed National Forest maps show some of the trails, and you can spot them via online satellite images.