Located in the heart of Arizona, Jerome makes an ideal base for exploring northern Arizona. Directly above Jerome, Mingus Mountain is a beautiful forested wilderness, with picnic areas and incredible hiking trails. Immediately below Jerome, the wide expanse of the Verde Valley is home to interesting and historic towns which offer entertainments, museums, and modern shopping facilities. Northwest of the valley, the exceptional beauty of Sycamore Canyon is available for those willing to spend an hour driving well-maintained dirt roads.
There are many interesting shops, galleries and wineries in Jerome. Some of the other attractions include the Gold King Mine & Ghost Town, just 3/4 of a mile past the Jerome Fire Department on Perkinsville Rd. If you are a photographer or interested in old vehicles and rusty parts with old wooden buildings, this is the place for you!
The Douglas Mansion has been an eye-catching landmark in Jerome since 1916, when James S. Douglas built it on the hill just above his Little Daisy Mine. This former home is now a museum devoted to the history of the Jerome area and the Douglas family. The museum features photographs, artifacts and minerals in addition to a video presentation and a 3-D model of the town with its underground mines. There are more displays outside along with a picnic area offering a beautiful panoramic view of the Verde Valley.
Just down the hill in Clarkdale is the Arizona Botanical Gardens. They have been selling cactus for more than 20 years, whether it’s native outdoor cactus or cactus for inside the home. It’s the only cactus store like it in Northern Arizona!
The Verde Canyon Railroad is also located in Clarkdale. From their website: “From the moment you step foot on one of our meticulously refurbished train cars you and your family will feel like you’ve been transported to a simpler, more leisurely time before all the distractions and annoyances of our modern world. Breathe deep, order a drink and relax as you glide along on a 4-hour, 20 mile journey through 100 years of history while still enjoying modern creature comforts like climate control, comfortable seating and thoughtful decor.”
Tuzigoot National Monument is also located in Clarkdale and can be found on the road to old town Cottonwood. From the Sinagua culture who built this pueblo centuries ago, to the out of work miners who helped excavate in the 1930’s, to the folks who still hold the site sacred today, Tuzigoot is about people.
The Blazin’ M Ranch in Cottonwood is a must see for the entire family! Step back in time for a great outing that’s sure to be enjoyed by adventurers of all ages including dinner shows and so much more.
Dead Horse Ranch State Park is also located in Cottonwood, in close proximity to the Blazin’ M Ranch. The story of the park’s name begins with the Ireys family, who came to Arizona from Minnesota looking for a ranch to buy in the late 1940s. At one of the ranches they discovered a large dead horse lying by the road. After two days of viewing ranches, Dad Ireys asked the kids which ranch they liked the best. The kids said, “the one with the dead horse, dad!” The Ireys family chose the name Dead Horse Ranch and later, in 1973, when Arizona State Parks acquired the park, the Ireys made retaining the name a condition of sale.
Another must see is the Clemenceau Heritage Museum in Cottonwood. The Clemenceau Heritage Museum preserves and displays the artifacts and heritage, written, oral and living, of the Verde Valley. The Clemenceau Public School was constructed in 1923-24 by James, (Rawhide Jimmy) Douglas of the United Verde Extension Copper Company.
Out of Africa Wildlife Park is located on Highway 260, between Cottonwood and Camp Verde. Out of Africa Wildlife Park strives to educate and entertain, to provide an exciting and engaging opportunity to love and respect creation and Creator. It is a place where family and friends gather to experience oneness with animals and each other during safaris, tours, walks, observations, and shows of wild-by-nature animals in their own, natural splendor. There’s also a Zipline!
Legendary Sedona lies about 40 minutes north of Jerome, with unbelievable scenery to enjoy along the way. Sedona’s monumental red rocks are world famous, and the town has become noted for its fine restaurants, upscale shops, and alternative healing practitioners. Jeep tours and hot-air balloon rides are just two ways to view the beautiful landscape.
Less than an hour to the south of Jerome, over a safe yet breathtaking mountain pass, lies Prescott, the County Seat of Yavapai County. This is as close as you are likely to find to an authentic Western town. Its downtown is hilly and delightful, with ornate Victorian homes on every tree-lined avenue. Be sure to check out the Courthouse Square, and its famous Whiskey Row, where many a barroom brawl and heart has been won and lost.
Even Phoenix, with its cultural attractions and world-class Desert Botanical Gardens, is only a 2-hour drive away. Jerome’s unique, centralized location makes it an ideal starting point for many explorations.