Campground Review: Verde Valley RV Resort, Cottonwood, AZ

IMG_3306Campground Review Summary

  • Name: Verde Valley RV Resort
  • Dates of stay: March 12 – 24, 2018
  • Location: 6400 E Thousand Trails Road, Cottonwood, AZ 86326
  • Type of campground: Thousand Trails / Encore
  • Cost: $42.26/night (retail cost) for FHU pull through site (30 amp)
  • Additional fees: $4/day resort fee included in above
  • Stay limit: varies – see full review below
  • Accepts mail / packages: yes, for $2 handling fee
  • Cell reception: ATT OK, not great
  • Website:
  • Pros: Nice amenities, large resort
  • Cons: membership park, very tight sites, 50 amp sites limited

Full Review

Sedona Arizona has been on both our bucket lists, so it was a mandatory stop in our first year itinerary. However, as I attempted to book a site several months ago, I found that everyone in the world had the same plan! I just didn’t realize that March was such a peak season. (Spring break, duh!) There is only one RV park within the town of Sedona, and we discovered that it books more than a year in advance. I tried every park in the vicinity and Verde Valley RV Resort was literally the ONLY park with availability within 30 miles for our dates. As it was, I wanted 14 days and only could get 12. I took it!

Verde Valley RV Resort is located near the town of Cottonwood, about a half hour drive to Sedona. The park property is ginormous, with four different clusters of RV sites (Sections A, B/C, H and M) and more than 300 sites. Although it is primarily a membership park (Thousand Trails / Encore), they do make some “retail rate” sites available and we were able to snag one.

IMG_3307Upon arrival, we checked in at the security gate and were shown three site possibilities on a map. Basically, it is a “find your own site” kind of park, so we unhooked our toad and drove around to pick the site that was most suitable for our big rig. One of the three sites was already taken, one site had a soft and rutted surface, and the third had a solid and reasonably level gravel surface, so we quickly nabbed that one before someone else could. The sites were arranged head to toe, which put the utilities between every two sites. The problem was that our travel trailer neighbor actually overlapped the electrical boxes by a few inches, narrowing our site. We put the bus as far over as we could without parking on the grass. Fully extended, our slide missed theirs by inches. That is about as tight as it gets. The patio side was ample, but sloped, so we stepped out onto un-level ground. We fit here, but just barely width-wise. Lengthwise, there was enough space to park the truck behind and the motorcycle in front. It was just a bummer that my only view out the dinette window was another trailer’s slide.

The other challenge was 50 amp availability – not. We were only able to get a 30 amp site, which in cool weather was not an issue, since we didn’t need to run all three air conditioner units at any time. I put the water heater and bus heating system on diesel/gas only, and 30 amp worked fine for everything else. And had we actually snagged a 50 amp site, there would have been a surcharge. Water and sewer hookups were fine. Being situated in a valley, we weren’t able to pull many TV stations over the air, so relied on satellite TV during our stay. ATT cell phone coverage was just OK, and data / internet was slow. The campground offered wifi at the lodges, but I didn’t try that.

There are quite a few nice amenities in this park. Since it’s so large, there is a network of hiking trails connecting the various sections. The resort has two lodges for activities, a pool, spa, pool table, pet area, ball fields, shuffleboard, pickleball court, mini golf, dump station, administrative office and store.  Bath houses were clean and well maintained. No trash pickup, but dumpsters were conveniently located. We were here during spring break time, and saw families enjoying the various amenities. Organized activities were scheduled throughout the week, but as usual, we were typically out and exploring during the activity times. We were in “B” section, and at night it was very quiet.

I’ve been researching Thousand Trails membership options for quite some time and this was my first stay at a TT park. There are a myriad of memberships but they basically fall into 3 types:

  • Annual Zone membership: Ranges from $500-700 per year, allows “free” camping at the TT network of resorts, with caveats. You can only book 90 days in advance, can stay 14 days, then have to leave for 7 days before entering another TT  park. It’s a year by year commitment.
  • Elite/Platinum membership:  Substantial initial buy in ($5-8K) with annual dues in $600 range. Allows “free” camping in the network, longer advance booking window, can stay 21 days, and go park to park without  mandatory time out. You are locked in for some period of time.
  • Full time site – Some rigs are obviously permanently located here with additions such as storage sheds, concrete pads and decks. I have no idea what that costs.

There are a hundred variations of these contracts, depending upon when it was issued and whether you buy new or second-hand. There are “add on” memberships that allows access to other campground networks. It’s very complicated and can be confusing.

I can see how this kind of membership could be extremely cost effective. If you have a smaller rig, you want to stay in those parks, and you don’t mind the stay limitations,  you can lower your average cost per night considerably.

However for us, it’s just not going to work. Here’s why:

  • The TT network is limited, and clustered in certain regions. The parks aren’t necessarily where we want/need to stay.
  • We like to plan and book farther ahead than the memberships allow.  We also sometimes want to stay longer than 2 or 3 weeks, and like to have that option.
  • Not all parks can accommodate a rig our size, and even those that do have limited big rig sites. We barely shoehorned into the site we had here.
  • 50 amp sites are limited. A 30 amp site would not work for us anywhere that the weather is hot.
  • The big kicker – everyone finds their own site upon arrival, first come, first serve. Even if we book ahead, there’s no guarantee we’ll find a suitable spot when we arrive, because anyone can park anywhere they want, whether they need a large site or not. With a conventional campground, you can reserve a space that specifically fits our needs. With TT, you take your chances.

So, nope. Not for us, at least not now. We may pay more, but at least we know we’ll have a suitable site at the end of the day, where we choose, as long as we want.

Bottom Line: Tight 30 amp site aside, it was a decent campground with some nice amenities, not too far from the activities of Sedona.


2 thoughts on “Campground Review: Verde Valley RV Resort, Cottonwood, AZ

  1. Pingback: Campground Types | Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

  2. Pingback: Campground Review: Rain Spirit RV Resort, Clarkdale, AZ | Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

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