Needle Rock Picnic Area and Non-Motorized Beach

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Needle Rock


The beach on the Verde River is generally rocky, but attracts many people during the hot summer months. The area is noted for its unusual rock formations. Nearby is a protected riparian area, the Mesquite Bosque. This popular water recreation area attracts many people trying to escape the Arizona summer heat. The rocky beach area is surrounded by beautiful towering rock formations. Near the recreation site is a fenced unique biological area, a stand of mesquite. Bald Eagles and Great Blue Herons are frequently seen in this vicinity.

At a Glance

Operational Hours: All Day
Open Season: Year round
Restrictions: Stay limit 1 day, no motor boats allowed, trailers under 16'. Picnic tables & grills, trash service, no drinking water. Glass containers prohibited.
Closest Towns: Scottsdale, Fountain Hills
Water: Not Available
Restroom: Vault toilets equipped with grab bars
Passes: Tonto Daily Pass and Watercraft sticker (for boats) or Tonto Discovery Pass are required. Tonto Daily Passes may be purchased at the fee machines located at Needle Rock, or from a retail vendor in advance. America the Beautiful Passes are accepted at the Picnicking Sites.
Information Center: Cave Creek Ranger District (480)595-3300

General Information


The site is 14 miles east of Scottsdale. From Pima Road, turn east on Dynamite Road and travel 3 miles to where it merges with Rio Verde Drive. Follow Rio Verde Drive for another 9 ½ miles to Forest Road (FR) 20 and turn left. Follow FR 20 for 3 miles to Needle Rock at the river. FR 20 is an unpaved road with narrow blind curves. View and download a map.

General Notes:

Bald Eagle Seasonal Closures  - December 1 to June 30

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information



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  Elevation : 
1,541 feet