Top 10 Outdoor Adventures In Arizona
Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
Believe it or not Arizona is well known for outdoor adventure.
Arizona is the 48th state and the 6th largest out of the 50 states. The state is also known for its desert climate, complete with hot summers and mild winters, mountain ranges such as the San Francisco Mountains, and large deep canyons.
Also known as the copper state (for its abundance of copper) and the valentine state (since it became a state on Valentine’s day), Arizona is home to several national forests, parks, and monuments, including the world-renowned Grand Canyon National Park, one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
It’s hard to make a list of go-to exciting places without including The Grand Canyon State and its multitude of adventure options that you’ll seldom find in a single state.
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Adventure Options in Arizona
It can be a difficult task to narrow down your adventure options when planning a visit to the copper state. Below you’ll find our attempt at doing just that. These top 10 picks are bound to get your adventuring gears running and ready to get some fun in the desert sun of Arizona.
So, without further ado:
1. Grand Canyon National Park: Hiking One of the 7 Natural Wonders
Easily Arizona’s most distinguishable landmark, the Grand Canyon’s majestic beauty is simply awesome to behold. It stretches 277 miles from end to end and its colorful rocky walls extend about a mile below where the cause of its formation can be seen – the Colorado River.
There are plenty of outdoor activities you can do while visiting this natural wonder. Guided tours on foot, on a mule, or a bike can help you explore the canyon and find the best spots for photographs. You can even take a helicopter or canoe tour if you’re looking to see the canyon from a different perspective.
Nothing gives you a better appreciation for the vastness and unique challenges the canyon provides than hiking one or two of its several trails. The Grand Canyon is where you’ll find hike trails such as the popular Bright Angel Trail, the Kaibab Trails, and the Havasupai Trail.
2. Imperial Reservoir: Fishing for 12-pound Large Mouth Bass
If you’re looking to get some fishing into your Arizona trip, you may want to give the Imperial Dam a visit. The reservoir is located just 14.3 miles from Yuma, in Yuma County, Arizona, near the Fortuna Foothills.
Standing since 1983, the dam retains the waters of the Colorado River into the Imperial Reservoir before diverting them into the All-American Canal, the Gila River, and the Yuma Project aqueduct. In the reservoir, you’ll find a variety of fish including bullhead, carp, catfish, flathead catfish, sunfish, and (the most popular) Largemouth bass, Smallmouth bass, and Striped bass. There are good chances of landing a bite whether you’re spinning, baitcasting or fly fishing.
When visiting, please check with the local Fish and Wildlife department to make sure your chosen stream is open to the public.
3. Oracle State Park: All-day Mountain Biking
If you’re looking for a place to shred in Arizona, then there’s no better choice than in one of Arizona’s state parks. With varied terrain, challenging trails, and gorgeous scenery as a backdrop, Arizona state parks are a perfect getaway for a weekend to just send it.
Oracle State Park caught our eye in particular. With nearly a dozen trails to choose from, each tailored to be easy, moderate, or intermediate, the park is one of Arizona’s best mountain biking destinations.
Let ‘er rip on the downhills, power up the climbs, then perhaps connect your current course with a different one each time you get to a junction. Each visit is sure to provide a different experience as you hit Oracle State Parks several trails amid cool temperatures, possible wildlife encounters, and panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
4. Kartchner Caverns State Park: Camping, Hiking, and the World-famous Cave
If you’ve never been to a cave before, what do you think one looks like on the inside? If you answered along the lines of “probably all grey and mossy” then you should check out Kartchner Caverns State Park. This beautiful park provides opportunities for fantastic camping, hiking, and (of course) viewing and photographing inside the world-famous Kartchner Caverns.
When it comes to camping, some visitors have found a distinct lack of telephone or internet signal. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you’re looking for a place to disconnect from technology for a day or two.
The park offers two great hikes to kick off the new year. You can take the Guindani Trail in the morning or Foothill Loop Trail in the afternoon.
5. Mogollon Rim: Lots to Do
There’s a lot of outdoor recreation you can do in Mogollon Rim, near Flagstaff, AZ. Amid the scenic views, you’re almost spoiled for choice with outdoor activities you can do.
Explore the famous Ponderosa pine stands on horseback, hike the various trails (most of which are within a short distance of the Mogollon Resort Cabins), go wildlife spotting in Sitgreaves National Forest, try Woods Canyon, Wet Beaver Creek, West Clear Creek, and Fossil Creek for some backpacking and canyoneering.
In the winter, there are opportunities for cross country skiing, snowmobiling, and sledding.
6. Tombstone Monument Ranch: Experience the Old West
There are few symbols of adventure that can compare to the iconic cowboy. Thanks to the spaghetti westerns of yesteryear, everybody seems to have an idea of what a cowboy is and how they lived in the old west.
But if you visit Tombstone Monument Ranch, you won’t just be imagining life in the old west, you’ll be living it.
Tombstone Monument Ranch offers such activities as horseback riding, western-style shooting, a working cattle ranch experience, archery, capped off with evening entertainment like the old cowboys used to have. You’ll also get to visit the town of Tombstone itself, the most famous old west town.
7. Sunrise Park: Tandem Zip-line, Downhill Mountain Biking, and Much More
Sunrise State Park is one of Arizona’s premier outdoor recreation spots. There you’ll find Arizona’s longest tandem zip-line, the only lift-served downhill mountain biking in Arizona, a rock climbing wall, scening lift rides, horseback riding, lake fishing, and camping in the summer.
The excitement doesn’t slow down in the winter, though. That’s when the park becomes Arizona’s largest ski resort and offers opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, ski bikes, and lessons for all skill levels.
8. Bullhead City: Canoeing, Kayaking, and More
Arizona isn’t just about all the fun you can do on dry land. With 128 lakes and 5 major rivers, you’re sure to find the perfect adventure for you whether it’s on land or the water.
Bullhead City is a great spot if you’re looking for a chance to have some fun on the water. Here you’ll get access to both the Colorado River and the Lake Mead National Recreation Area while also getting views of the Black Mountain Range. Whether it’s kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, or tubing, you’ll find it in Bullhead City.
9. Sonoran Desert: Hot Air Ballooning
If you’re looking for a better way to view the vast natural beauty of Arizona then you may want to sign up for a hot-air balloon ride over the Sonoran Desert. Hot air ballooning in the Arizona morning is also the only way to see one of the best sunrises on the planet. It’s also a great chance to spot some of the state’s wildlife like Sonoran pronghorns, coyotes, and javelinas.
While not technically like the other entries on this list in that you’re more of a passive viewer, the fact that you’ll be doing it hundreds of feet in the air is still enough to get your adrenaline pumping.
10. Buckeye: Skydiving
If simply floating a few hundred feet in the air isn’t your thing and you want to try something more heart-racing, then you should head on over to Buckeye and try some skydiving. Few experiences give you the same adrenaline rush as jumping off a plane thousands of feet in the air and watching as the ground comes closer and closer.
If you’re raring to make your first jump, you’ll want to approach companies like Skydive Buckeye to get skydiving lessons.
That’ll do it for this one.
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