You'll find this state park on the outskirts of Cottonwood, not far from Tuzigoot National Monument. Set on the banks of the Verde River, the park offers picnicking, fishing, swimming, hiking, mountain biking, and camping. Trails wind through the riparian forests along the banks of the river and visit marshes that offer good bird-watching; they also lead into the adjacent national forest, so you can get in many miles of scenic hiking and mountain biking. The ranch was named in the 1940s, when the children of a family looking to buy a ranch told their parents they wanted to buy the place with the dead horse by the side of the road.
For a guided horseback ride in the park, contact Trail Horse Adventures (tel. 866/958-7245 or 928/634-5276; www.trailhorseadventures.com). A 1-hour ride will cost you $64 and a 3-hour lunch ride costs $125.