There is a feeling of real community in Chino Valley. Just a small town, the population has been growing in recent years, and the temperate climate and minimal rainfall have certainly been a factor. Chino Valley is in the mountains of Central Arizona and its elevation of 4,750 feet helps to ensure the seasons are rarely worse than mild.
Tulips and daffodils welcome the spring, and in summer, vegetable gardens provide plenty of fresh produce. The local wells ensure that water is never a problem.
In Chino Valley, the choice of simply getting into a leisurely pace or leading an active, even challenging, outdoor life is yours. The interesting history and culture are treasures that have made the locals as proud of Chino Valley for its past as they are for its present.
If you are already thinking that you must visit, here are 15 things to do in Chino Valley.
1. Chino Valley Community Center Park
You have only to go to the Community Center Park to see how important sport is to the locals. If you’re lucky, you may even get the chance to join in.
The softball fields and the larger baseball field are always in use. Soccer is becoming increasingly important, evidenced by the three junior-sized soccer pitches and a full-sized multi-purpose field which can host soccer as one of a number of games.
The Park is ideal for different outdoor events, including gatherings of the locals. Enjoy everything it has to offer.
2. Sycamore Canyon Wilderness
A wilderness area covering 56,000 acres, Sycamore Canyon offers color in its cliffs, peaks and even a marsh-like region in what is otherwise desert.
Mountain lions and black bears are the stand-out mammals who find their home here, though you may prefer not to see them. The ringtail cat, a cousin of the raccoon, is common but nocturnal and has become the State’s official animal after a poll of schoolchildren. You may have to make do with the birds, and by day and you will both see and hear them.
This is a great place for camping, with cabins available for rent. Designated trails will lead you through the Wilderness whether you trek or ride a horse. Fishing and swimming are also popular activities here.
3. Garchen Institute Research Center
If you are seeking solitude and rejuvenation, this center can offer you a retreat for as long as you wish. The Center covers 75 acres, a tranquil setting perfect for fulfilling its objectives. You will meditate and learn the techniques for helping you to relax. The origins of treatments are Buddhist, with visitors offered a range of alternatives.
Treatments are available in groups or individual programs, and the positive response that clients have provided make the center a place to visit. Even if you want to go for just a short time, booking in advance is becoming increasingly advisable.
4. Old Schoolhouse Museum
The Old Schoolhouse Museum was built in 1888, and after closing six years later, it relocated in 1898 and again in 1914 to its current location.
The Eastside Thimble Club owned it for half a century, using it as a social hall before donating it to the Chino Valley Historical Society, who opened it a few years later in 1982 as the Old Schoolhouse Museum.
The Society in turn gave it to the City of Chino just a few years later, to ensure the ongoing preservation of Chino’s history. If you want to know more about the past, head here.
5. Verde Canyon Railroad
The Railroad opened in 1912 and the route that it follows today, between the old mining towns of Clarkdale and Perkinsville, takes you on a trip that is impossible to do in any other way.
The 40-mile round trip includes the train going through a manmade tunnel, but everything else is truly natural. The Railroad’s luxury cars will have you imagining a bygone age, making this experience popular with significant numbers of visitors..
An “Arizona Treasure”, the railroad is one of the definite highlights when spending time in the region.
6. The Verde River
The Arizona Game and Fish Department has recognized the value of this river, and by stocking it with a range of species, notably trout, it has attracted fishermen from throughout the State.
Increasing numbers are enjoying boating on the river, some canoeing in calm pools and others wanting to test themselves against the whitewater which is at its height after the snows melt in the spring, or when late summer thunderstorms increase the flow.
You need to check with the department to find out about the regulations for this scenic river before you go.
7. Memory Park
Memory Park has something for everyone, whether you simply want to relax or have some activity in mind. The trees provide plenty of shade on a hot day if relaxation is your thing.
It’s a great little area of just 2.5 acres, though there are discussions about increasing the area available for visitors to play, picnic or have a barbeque. Have a game amongst yourselves, or perhaps use the basketball courts.
The Community also arranges events in the Park from time to time, and the potential expansion is good news for everyone who loves the park.
8. Chino Valley Aquatics Center
Chino Valley’s temperatures make this Aquatic Center a great place on all but the coolest of days.
Swimmers are in their element and the facilities are suitable for small children, with a very shallow entry pool. The waterslide is fun, and for those wanting to swim any significant distance, they can pick a swimming lane.
If the kids cannot swim, they can take a lesson and perhaps after a few lessons, they will be off. You might like to try some water aerobics while the kids are taking their lessons.
9. Chino Valley Peavine Trail
This is a popular trail for hikers, horse riders and mountain bikers, a chance to get away into nature. You will meet other nature enthusiasts because the trail has become very popular.
At just under 6 miles long, you can cover the trail fairly easily, even if you are just walking. However, you will certainly stop several times because there are so many photo opportunities that deserve a place in your holiday album.
The local wildlife is interesting and you may come across rattlesnakes, though they tend to avoid humans when they can.
10. Center Street Park
This small park has just been bought by Chino Valley and provides a chance to sit and relax for a while, perhaps after spending time in the local shops.
Currently covering a little over an acre but ultimately to be 3 acres, you may miss it if you’re not looking carefully, but if you just want a little shade or a walk through a natural area while you are in town, Center Street Park will satisfy your wishes.
11. Granite Creek Vineyards
There is more to Granite Creek Vineyards than just the wine. It also plays a part in introducing local musical talent to visitors.
You will have the chance to sample the wines with a nice lunch, with most popular brands being Sunset Red Blend and Prairie Sun Pinot Gris. They compare favorably with the best wines available in the state.
Enjoy some time there or perhaps even consider booking a special event there with family and friends.
12. Insurgent Brewery Company
The Insurgent Brewing Company brews craft beers with flavors you may not have encountered before.
Being the main brewery locally, you will be pleased by the prices of both those beers and the wide range of alternative drinks. The location definitely adds to the pleasure of enjoying the brewery’s production.
You can select from an interesting menu and discuss the brews with friendly staff. If you’re driving, sorry but you’ll have to take some with you to try later.
13. Log Cabin Bar
One of the best places to enjoy a drink in the company of locals is the Log Cabin Bar. The bar has been open since the early 1920s and offers a great atmosphere and friendly staff.
It is known for its cocktails but has much more to offer. Look at the menu as proof of that.
There is something going on here regularly. You can try the karaoke, or happy hour may be your thing instead.
Special theme nights take place, usually in mid-week, and the bar is at its liveliest at the end of the working week.
14. Nature Viewing in Coconino National Forest
This scenic forest is known for its flora and fauna. Indeed, there is a type of small sunflower that is only found in the forest.
The vegetation varies from the bottom of the canyon at 4,500 feet, to the mountain tops 2,000 feet higher up. Pine and deciduous trees contrast beautifully with snow-covered peaks, streams and stunning red rocks.
100 species of mammal, 300 different birds and 16 different kinds of fish are just some examples of the wildlife that justifies a visit to this stunning forest.
15. Camping at Clear Creek
If you want to be at one with nature, there are few better ways to do it than to go camping. Clear Creek camping has become popular because of the activities it offers, which include fishing, hiking and swimming for example.
Bass and sunfish are found close to the designated camping grounds, while if you go hiking, keep an eye open for the lovely little songbirds. The numerous raptors certainly do.
Further on, the landscape changes to desert with its cacti providing yet type of stunning scenery during your time in the camp.