Tavasci Marsh Overlook

Round Trip Distance: 0.7 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 3365 - 3402 feet
Cellphone: 3-5 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: Tuzigoot National Monument Visitor Center
Fee: $10/vehicle
Attractions: Marsh overlook

The Tavasci Marsh Overlook trail is located in the Tuzigoot (TOO-zee-goot) National Monument between Cottonwood and  Clarkdale, Arizona. Tuzigoot National Monument protects an impressive set of ancient Sinagua ruins that sit atop a hill above the Verde River with a commanding view of the surrounding area. The marsh gets its name from the Tavasci family that ran a farm there from 1928 to 1991. Tavasci Marsh is listed as an Important Bird Area by the Audubon Society.

The overlook trail begins at the north end of the Visitor Center parking area where the sidewalk passes by the restrooms.

The entire length of the paved trail is wheelchair accessible and consequently well suited for baby strollers.

A good number of interpretive signs provide interesting facts that touch upon the history of the area as well the flora and fauna. Also explained is the nature of the marshes origin which came about as the result of a meander in the Verde River that once ran through the bottom land.

Looking across the marsh from the overlook trail one can catch a glimpse of a wooden platform for another viewing area. The well camouflaged structure reveals the existence of the Tavasci Marsh trail that begins from Dead Horse State Park and runs along the opposite side of the marsh but much closer to the water.

The overlook trail comes to an end at a similar viewpoint where visitors can relax and enjoy the rarity of such a wetland in the midst of the surrounding desert environment. A pair of binoculars would come in very handy to possibly see animals around the marsh. Besides various birds you may be able to catch a glimpse of deer or javelina.

The photos for this post were taken during the winter and although they show a good amount of vegetation most everything has that dry brownish appearance and there are no leaves on the trees. It doesn't take much of an imagination to consider how much more lush the marsh and the grassy slopes along the trail must be during the growing seasons. Winter does have a beauty all its own so no matter what time of the year you find yourself visiting Tuzigoot National Monument you will still be able to have an enjoyable time.

Looking at the beginning of the trail from this direction reveals how it is almost entirely hidden from view from the parking area and the Visitor Center. The Visitor Center itself has very nice displays of artifacts that were taken from the excavation of the ruins as well as a wealth of additional information. Tuzigoot National Monument doesn't include a campground but there is one at the nearby Dead Horse State Park. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.