During the hot, dry summer in the Verde Valley green, tropical foliage surrounding waterfalls and a healthy creek would seem like an oasis.
But that place really does exist, along Oak Creek in Cornville: It is a swimming hole called Mormon’s Crossing.
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Complemented by three waterfalls and a deep-water area, this spot is meant for relaxing There is no cliff jumping, but it has shade and space to relax and catch some rays during the long summer days.
Each side of the creek is a contrast of climates just yards apart; one side is rich with green plants and trees while the other features huge gray rock faces and dried vegetation.
Some visitors bring pool floats to relax while staying cool by the third, and biggest, waterfall, where there is less of a current than in the shallower stretch of the creek.
One thing to keep in mind: Visitors must walk through ankle- to knee-deep water to reach it.
From Page Springs Road, turn either onto East Rancho Bonito Road or East Purple Sage Road. The two streets connect at Cottonwood-Oak Creek School.
Continue north past the school and onto the dirt road that passes alongside the baseball field. The road curves to the right along the creek, and the parking lot is visible on the other side.
After crossing a small concrete bridge, the free parking lot, which sits above and adjacent to the creek, is on the left.
At its far end a clearly marked trail opening follows parallel to the water and soon an opening appears on the left that leads down to the creek’s edge.
Once at the bottom, a trail cuts along the creek, but visitors must eventually enter the water to continue advancing. The bottom is riddled with rocks, some exposed, and the current is somewhat strong at points. Proper footwear is suggested to prevent slipping and falling.
Stay to the right of the creek and once it swings to the right around a small corner, a clearly marked trail begins again.
A short walk will lead to a low-hanging branch, just after which there is sharp left turn that leads to the water.
On the other side of the creek the first two waterfalls are visible. There are enough exposed rocks that permit visitors to zigzag up and down the creek without hardly getting wet. The third waterfall and deep swimming area are not much farther downstream.
Once at the third waterfall, there is open space on the opposite side to leave belongings within sight.
It is suggested to pack electronics and other belongings in a plastic bag in case of falling in the water.