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In & Around Camp Verde

Out on the edge of town, you'll find Camp Verde's top attraction -- Cliff Castle Casino, 555 Middle Verde Rd. (tel. 800/381-7568 or 928/567-7900; www.cliffcastlecasino.net), at exit 289 off I-17.

About halfway between Camp Verde and Cottonwood, you'll find Alcantara Vineyards, 3445 S. Grapevine Way, Verde Valley (tel. 888/569-0756 or 928/649-8463; www.alcantaravineyard.com), which, although away from the area's other wineries (which are in the community of Page Springs), is far and away the most beautiful winery in Arizona. The terraced vineyards overlook limestone cliffs and a bend of the Verde River. The wines, primarily big reds, can be quite good. The tasting room is open daily from 11am to 5pm, and there is an $10 per person tasting fee.

In & Around Cottonwood & Clarkdale

Cottonwood, 6 miles from Jerome, isn't nearly as atmospheric as the old copper-mining town up on the hill, but in the Old Town district, where one side of Main Street has an old-fashioned covered sidewalk, you'll find quite a few interesting shops, galleries, and cafes. As in Jerome, there are a couple of winery tasting rooms here where you sample local wines. At the Pillsbury Wine Company, 1012 N. Main St. (tel. 928/639-0646; www.pillsburywine.com), you can choose from among more than a dozen wines. Wines here are produced by several area wineries, which makes this one of the best places in the region to get an idea of the breadth of wines being produced in Arizona. For $12 to $16, you can taste five wines (additional tastes are $2 each). The tasting room is open Monday through Thursday from 11am to 6pm, Friday and Saturday from 11am to 9pm, and Sunday from noon to 6pm. Across the street, you'll find Arizona Stronghold Winery, 1023 Main St. (tel. 928/639-2789; www.azstronghold.com), a joint operation of Page Spring Cellars' Eric Glomski and Caduceus Cellars' Maynard Keenan. The tasting room is open Monday, Thursday, and Sunday from noon to 7pm, Tuesday and Wednesday from noon to 5pm, and Friday and Saturday from noon to 9pm. The tasting fee is $9.

If it's a hot day, you may want to head up to Sycamore Creek to cool off in one of the creek's swimming holes. It's only a 1/4-mile hike to the first swimming hole, but there are more farther up the creek. To reach the trail head for this hike, follow signs to Tuzigoot National Monument, and after crossing the bridge over the Verde River, turn left onto Forest Road (F.R.) 131 (signed for the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness). The road quickly turns to gravel and then dirt and is very rough in places. Don't try driving this road without a high-clearance vehicle and preferably one with four-wheel-drive. The trail head is 11 miles up this road.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.