From top to bottom, Arizona is home to some of the most unique geology on the planet—a mecca for adventure seekers from around the world. Whether you’re hungry for a high-octane thrill, or simply in need of some quality time with Mother Nature, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Arizona’s great outdoors.
Explore the Grand Canyon
This jaw-dropping destination is a must for every bucket list. View the canyon 4,000 feet below as you wander the Skywalk—a glass walkway jutting out 70 feet from the canyon’s rim at Grand Canyon West. You can also see the canyon’s colorful vistas by hike, helicopter, mule, zipline, or raft.
Navigate Navajo National Monument
Here you’ll find well-preserved cliff dwellings built into towering sandstone alcoves that date back to the 13th century. Book a guided tour to see them up close, or walk a scenic trail to a lookout where they are visible from a distance. Camping at the park is free, and perfect for nights of peaceful stargazing.
Go off-roading in Sedona
Quench your thirst for adventure with an off-road tour that will take you over Sedona’s famous red-rock terrain, into some of the world’s most magical desert landscapes featuring towering rock spires, deep ravines, and even energy vortexes.
Hike at South Mountain Park & Preserve
At a whopping 16,000 acres, South Mountain Park and Preserve is made up of three mountain ranges and is the largest municipal park in the U.S. Explore more than 50 miles of trails, and keep an eye open for prehistoric Hohokam petroglyphs. Scenic lookouts reward hikers with gorgeous panoramic views of Phoenix.
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Camp at Lost Dutchman State Park
At the base of the Superstition Mountains, this state park is named after a legendary lost gold mine. While you may not strike gold, you will enjoy classic Sonoran Desert landscapes punctuated with wildflowers, cactus, and sunsets that paint the sky and illuminate the mountains. Furnished cabins, RV, and tent camping are available.
Paddle the Salt River
Wakeup with the sun and start your day paddling down the Lower Salt River, just east of Phoenix. Early morning provides some of the best opportunities to see wildlife, including the area’s famed wild horses that look especially majestic in the light of a Sonoran sunrise. Spot bald eagles, herons, osprey, and many other birds as you make your way down stream.
Climb Mt. Lemmon
Rising more than 9,000 feet above Tucson, Mt. Lemmon offers a multitude of recreational activities. Take a refreshing hike through an alpine forest on one of the many mountain trails, and then set up camp for an evening under the stars. For a more challenging experience, the mountain has some of the best climbing in the state, boasting more than 1,500 routes.
Tour Kartchner Caverns
While technically not “outdoors” you’ll love exploring the only living cave in Arizona. Kartchner Caverns is home to some of the most unique cave formations on Earth, including a massive 58-foot-tall column named Kubla Khan, and some of the world’s tallest stalactites. Choose between five tours, and make sure to book your reservations in advance.
Bike through Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park flanks Tucson to the east and west, and is brimming with desert life. The east side park offers an 8-mile paved loop perfect for exploring by bike. Look for desert wildlife including bobcats, Gila monsters, roadrunners, and tortoises. In the spring you’ll see beautiful wildflowers carpeting the desert floor and saguaro cactuses crowned with delicate white blossoms.