Arizona travel brings a unique experience! Why will it be Most Memorable?
Throughout the world there are places that have scenery full of awe. View the sights, and you gaze in astonishment! You've seen travel shows on TV - right? With wonderful photography! That leaves inspiring, lasting impressions!
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The Grand Canyon in Arizona
Right here in the U.S. - explore Arizona for sights to dazzle your eyes! It's a unique region. We live here. Find your best travel in AZ!!
If you're thinking of Tombstone Arizona travel - we know you may be!! Well, while you're here, do you want to see some more of this breath-taking state?
Arizona has incomparably diverse plant and animal life. It's like nowhere else in the US... because it is its own unique environment! We have mountains that give us almost every available climate! We have impressive cities and towns - each with unique character!
Come see for yourself!! It's convenient for most anyone in the US to organize a visit and have this experience. And it's accessible to those world-wide to come and have that encounter.
You're invited to see our photos and experiences. Try it out online to see what you think! View all that Arizona travel has to offer with its tremendous variety. Get the insider action from us - as locals who will let you in on the best here. Yes, come on in...
5 Reasons You Should be Talking About Arizona Travel!
Arizona Attractions - See all the many breathtaking Arizona travel sites with amazing variety. Read More>
Things to do in Arizona - Just like at Tombstone AZ, it's teeming with irresistible activities for everyone. Read More>
Arizona Deserts - There are four of them! All with different features and wonders!! Visit a wonderful combo museum-zoo where you'll get an in-depth understanding of these deserts. Read More>
Arizona Mountains - Think of two different areas you can explore: 1) The Northern Arizona mountains of generally higher elevations. 2) And the Sky Islands throughout the Desert areas. Each of these mountainous terrains have exciting reasons to invite you to travel Arizona. Read More>
Arizona Bird Watching - Our state is famous for some of its birds. The California Condor, the delightful roadrunner, many-many hummingbirds, and so much more - make it an outstanding bird-watching state. Read More>
Now let's not just talk about Arizona Travel. How about making your own plan for Arizona Travel? Let's investigate it further.
Some people think of one of those Wonders of the World - the Grand Canyon - and don't even realize that it's in Arizona! Well, yes, it is! We're the Grand Canyon State, after all. But we have many other attractions. Think about these other natural Arizona travel wonders:
Saguaro National Park - The giant Saguaro cactus are a unique feature. This park features plenty of areas to learn about them, and explore the cactus forests. It's a beautiful Sonoran Desert area just outside the city of Tucson. There are two sections, both are unique with their own Arizona travel advantages. The West has extraordinary beauty - take I-10 Exit 246, go West on N. Cortaro Rd. to Ina Rd. Make a Right & follow the signs. For the Eastern Unit, take Broadway Blvd. East until you access Old Spanish Trail. Follow this until its end, where you'll find the entrance.
Meteor Crater Natural Landmark - A little East of Flagstaff, this meteor crash site is amazing to see. This meteor hit the earth in this spot about 50,000 years ago! Talk about Arizona travel!! Take Exit 233 off I-40. (800) 289-5898.
Canyon de Chelly National Monument - On the Navajo Nation, it holds ancient ruins of the Anasazi people. It's a stunning ancient pueblo. Find it in the very Northeast corner of the state. I-40 to State Hwy. 191 North, exit at Chinle, Hwy. 7. (928) 674-5500.
The Petrified Forest & Painted Desert - In Northeastern Arizona. These areas hold a National Park, and colorful badlands with petrified wood. The entire area is over 150 square miles. The Petrified Forest is a bit East of Holbrook off I-40, take Exit 311. For details call (928) 524-6228. The Painted Desert is North of Holbrook along Rt. 77, and in the Northern areas of the Petrified forest. All the areas in the vicinity are considered parts of the Painted Desert.
Kartchner Caverns State Park - Only discovered in 1974 by amateur cavers. These immense caverns were made into a state park in 1999. When it first opened, visitors had to get on a waiting list to see it! From I-10 in Benson, take Exit 302 for Hwy. 90. The entrance is a little ways on the right.
Beautiful Oak Creek Canyon
Oak Creek Canyon - The creek winds through Sedona and then Northward, with the scenic drive meandering alongside. That drive is considered one of the 10 best in the whole country! The beautiful trees contrast with the red cliffs along the way. At it's Northern end, drive up the switchbacks to the wonderful overlook. We've traveled it quite a few times - it never gets old! Take Hwy. 89A North out of Uptown Sedona.
Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument - The trail takes you visibly through lava fields of this old volcano just North of Flagstaff. The first lunar astronauts even did some training here! Take Hwy. 89 out of town. At Hwy. 395 make a right, it takes you right to the Monument.
Wupatki National Monument - An old pueblo of the Sinagua peoples found along a driving trail North of Flagstaff. Take an entire day to view these amazing ruins, one of them even with its own ventilation system! Take Hwy. 395 - from Hwy. 89 out of Flagstaff. If you find the first turn-off to 395, pass by Sunset Crater until you reach Wupatki. If you miss that turn-off, there's another 395 a few more miles down the road, take that right.
Bridge to Nowhere - Here's an unusual Arizona travel site near Yuma. In 1929 it was built over the Gila River. Named for the only Yuma Arizona Ranger, called the McPhaul Bridge. No longer in use, with no river now under it, the bridge is closed to traffic. But it's an oddity that's still kept around. Take I-8 exit 12, Fortuna Rd. to go North (S. 11 Ave. E.). Where it ends on Hwy. 95, go right. After passing E. Madonna Rd., cross a canal, then watch for an unmarked left turn that goes by a small breakfast/lunch restaurant (From the Farm Yuma). Just past this is the bridge.
McDowell Mountain Regional Park - A unique setting not too far outside the city of Phoenix, yet world's away! In fact, go there at night to look up at the stars! It's considered a place for a "star party." So wonderful is the night sky experience here. See the details and history: Click Here>
By the Month - See lots of things to do in Arizona, organized by when you'd like to travel. In a state with a climate for every season, pick and choose when and where you'd like to go. And we've got a few different and quite interesting things to do on this list! See it Right Here>
Titan Missile Museum - Visit an actual complex with one of these decommissioned missiles in Green Valley. It was on alert during the cold war years, between 1963 to 1982! We took this tour and it was quite interesting! Take I-19 South from Tucson to the Duval Mine Rd. Exit.
Grand Canyon Railway - Out of Williams AZ, off I-40, West of Flagstaff. This Arizona travel railway was first built in 1901. It's on the U.S. Register of Historic Places. It gets you to the Grand Canyon via a scenic 2-1/4 hour ride with entertainment!
Take an Off-Road 4x4 Scenic or Adventure Tour - Throughout the state of Arizona there are very captivating areas to see. Travel to the back roads by 4-wheel drive tours and you'll get to see wonders where you'd not normally go! For more details on these places Click Here>
Pima Air & Space Museum - See approximately 300 aircraft, from vintage to modern. Go through air travel history, including space travel. Near Tucson's airplane boneyard - you can get a tour of that from here as well. Take Valencia Rd. Exit East off I-10, South of downtown Tucson.
Desert Caballeros Western Museum - Artifacts and artwork from the Old West. It especially focuses on Wickenburg, where it's located - but also on Arizona. Travel from Wickenburg's center, at the traffic circle, follow Hwy. 60 just a few blocks, where it becomes W. Wickenburg Way to the corner of Frontier St. It also has an area for kids.
Children's Museum of Phoenix - Fetching learning, but fun activities for kids up to about 10 years old. It's said to be in the top 3 Children's museums in the U.S. There's approximately 300 activities with age recommendations. 215 N 7th Street, corner of East Van Buren. (602) 253-0501.
Lowell Observatory - Founded by Percival Lowell in 1894, in Flagstaff. There's both day and evening programs, plus a visitor center area. On Rt. 66, where it makes the bend in downtown, go off onto W. Santa Fe Ave. Look for the signs to direct you. (928) 774-3358.
Tumacacori National Historic Park - Visit the preserved ruins of 3 Spanish missions in 3 subsequent centuries: 1600s, 1700s & 1800s. Located about 1/2 hour South of Tucson. Take I-19, get off at Exit 34. Cross under the freeway and take the Frontage Road South. It's just down the road.
London Bridge - What?! In Arizona? Yes - The city of London decided their historic bridge was not fitting of modern times and traffic. It was also sinking into the river bed. They put it up for sale. Lake Havasu City founder Robert McCulloch bid for it, and won. It was disassembled, and reassembled in Lake Havasu City, over Bridewater Channel.
Kitt Peak - Southwest of Tucson, they offer Day & Night programs. At nearly 7000 ft. elevation, the road travels switchbacks to the top. There you'll find the Visitor Center on Tohono O'odham Nation land. To get there, travel AZ Hwy. 86 West. A Border Patrol Check Point is located along the route. Visiting from outside the US? Be sure to bring your passport with you to avoid problems. You can tour the facility, get involved in night-time stargazing, roam the visitor center, visit the gift shop. There's lots to see & do!
We love taking AZ desert trips. We love the experiences and panoramas that are right outside our doorstep. We always have our own desert adventures - and so we gather tips to help you! We suggest taking an Arizona Desert Trip - we have four types of deserts in Arizona:
Sonoran Desert - It's the best! We lived there many years.
Mojave Desert - Some very unique features.
Great Basin - Fantastic scenery in this high desert.
Have you always thought of the desert as a barren place - rolling sand hills with little water and just an oasis off in the distance...
If you can even make it to that beckoning oasis!!
That's true of some deserts. But think again, when you think of Arizona! It has deserts with phenomenal plant-life and animal life - a sight for your eyes... and your camera! Learn more about each of these - and try a visit to each desert region...
Two essential styles of mountains can be found when you travel Arizona. There are the high country ranges, and then there are the sky islands. Both beckon to you, for their cool, clear air. Their delightful camping and hiking opportunities. Their change of pace in your Arizona travels, contrasting from the desert.
First let's look at the high country ranges:
Mogollon Rim - A geological lift cutting East to West across central Arizona, it runs about 200 miles in length. It's a kind of cliff, but with a gentler slope rising to about 8000 feet - give or take. On top of the rim are Ponderosa pine forests. You'll find the towns of Payson, Pine, Oak Creek, Strawberry and Sedona along the rim.
White Mountains - A high country mountainous area in the central Eastern part of Arizona, bordering New Mexico. It forms the mountains above the Eastern section of the Mogollon Rim. The Fort Apache Reservation is located in much of the White Mountain area. Mount Baldy is the highest summit at 11,400 ft. Pine Top-Lakeside, Greer, Springerville, Heber-Overgaard and Whiteriver are all notable towns there.
San Francisco Peaks in the Winter
San Francisco Peaks - This range North of Flagstaff has Arizona's highest mountain - Mount Humphrey's, at 12,633 ft. Arizona Snowbowl, a ski recreation area, is located in this range. Four climate zones are included there: Ponderosa pine forest, mixed conifer forest, subalpine conifer forest, and alpine tundra.
Bradshaw Mountains - In central Arizona, south of Prescott between the Agua Fria River and the Hassayampa River, they cover about 1000 square miles. The environment does not extend as high as the other ranges, and begins quite a bit lower - into desert grasslands. The highest peak is Mount Union at 7,979 feet. There are quite a few Ghost Towns throughout this range, including Bumble Bee and Crown King.
All the wondrous Sky Islands:
Viewed from Oracle, Arizona
Catalina Mountains - Officially the Santa Catalina Mountains. They edge the North and Northeast side of Tucson. A gorgeous backdrop to this city! The highest point, and a popular desert heat escape, is Mount Lemmon. At 9,157 feet there can be as much as a 30 degree temperature drop! The village at the top is Summerhaven, year-round population about 40. Nearby is the Southernmost ski area in the U.S. mainland: Mount Lemmon Ski Valley.
Santa Rita Mountains - About 40 miles Southeast of Tucson, almost a 2 hour drive from Tombstone AZ. The highest peak is Mount Wrightson, a popular hiking challenge at 9,453 feet. You can drive part-way up to trail-heads at Bog Springs Campground, Madera Picnic Area, or the Madera Ampitheatre. You can make it a loop part of the way also, and option for 13 mile hike or a 10.
Huachuca Mountains - Within the Coronado National Forest, they border the Western edge of Sierra Vista and Hereford. They're about a 40 minute drive from Tombstone. The highest mountain is Miller Peak, at 9,466 feet. About 20% of the mountains are on Fort Huachuca military property. The highest elevations have Ponderosa and Apache pine forest. There are many hiking, camping and birding opportunities there. Ramsey Canyon is especially known for hummingbird migration.
Chiricahua Mountains - Located in the most Southeastern part of the state, other localized mountain ranges are attached/nearby: Pedregosa Mountains, Swisshelm Mountains, and the Dos Cabezas Mountains. Fort Bowie National Historic Site is located here. Many indigenous cultures lived in the area over centuries past, including Chiricahua Apaches - for who it's named. The highest point is Chiricahua Peak, 9,759 feet. There are many hiking and camping possibilities. The area goes from desert grasslands up to Ponderosa pine and Douglas fir.
Pinaleño Mountains - This amazing range adjacent to Safford takes you through climate zones as if you were traveling from Mexico to Canada! Via an almost continuously paved roadway, you can make your way almost to the top. Quite a trip! With some stunning views along the way. The high point, Mount Graham is 10,720 feet.
Rincon Mountains - This range borders the Eastern edge of Tucson, making another beautiful scenic city background. Much of the area is within Saguaro National Park East. The entrance has a driving loop and visitor center. But the majority of the mountains is wilderness area with primitive camping and hiking. It's also encompassed by Coronado National Forest.
Wanted for Murder!
Galiuro Mountains - Adjacent to the wilderness containing Aravaipa Valley and Aravaipa Creek. As you drive North out of Tucson on Oracle Road, approaching San Manuel, this range is visible and awesome in the distance. Bassett Peak is the highest in this range, at 7,663 feet. A hike takes you to the Power Cabin - the family involved in the infamous shootout.
Granite Mountain - In the wilderness of the same name within Prescott National Forest. Part of the small Sierra Prietta range, West of Prescott.
Mingus Mountain - In the Black Hills Mountains, it separates Cottonwood and Jerome from Prescott Valley and Prescott. It's elevation is 7,818 feet. But it's not the tallest mountain in the Black Hills. Woodchute Mountain, 4 miles to the North, is 7,844 feet.
Baboquivari - Photo Credit: Phillip Capper. Taken in 1990
Cerbat Mountains - A small range North of Kingman. The highest point is Mount Tipton at 7,148 feet. It's a rugged area, with not many designated trails. Some old mining roads and washes can be followed to access the peak.
Baboquivari Mountains - 50 miles Southwest of Tucson, this is a wilderness area that borders the Eastern edge of the Tohono O'odham Nation. Baboquivari Peak is very sacred to the Tohono O'odham people. It's the place of the birth and residence of the creator, Iʼitoi. It's also the highest peak, very distinctive in appearance, at 7,730 feet.
Arizona Bird Watching
Some reasons that Arizona has exciting, first-rate birding opportunities:
Ideal habitat and climate make great conditions for the migration timing of hummingbirds
Superior geological habitat and limited human population for some endangered birds
Exacting micro-climate and micro-habitats needed by specific bird species
Arizona has the most bird-sighting opportunities within a state, with the exception of those by an ocean. There's a list of about 550 birds that live here at least part of the year. An occasional visit by birds from Mexico, add an additional 5 or 10 more.
Here are the areas you'd want to travel Arizona to focus on bird watching:
Chiricahua Mountains - Many elevations and climates give lots of birding options. Try areas such as Cave Creek Canyon, Onion Saddle, Rustler Park, or Barfoot Park. An excellent spot is...
Portal:Try the surrounding areas, which are an exquisite place to see in itself. The easiest way to get there from I-10 is to actually go into New Mexico and take the Stein's exit, Number 5, get Hwy. 80 South. At Rodeo, take Hwy. 533 West, and into Arizona get Portal Rd. In the desert-like scrub areas watch for Gambel’s Quail, Lesser Nighthawk, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Black Phoebe, Brown-crested Flycatcher, Bell’s Vireo, Bridled Titmouse, Verdin, Curve-billed Thrasher, Phainopepla, Lucy’s Warbler, Cassin’s Sparrow, and Black-throated Sparrow.
Gambel's Quail Couple
San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area - Various spots along 40 miles of the river as it flows through Cochise County.
San Pedro House:Off of Hwy. 90, this is a good spot to try. Tips can be had from volunteers inside, when it's open (Call for details - (520) 508-4445). But a river trail begins here - the Sky Island Traverse. Take Rt. 90 out of Sierra Vista, toward Hereford. The turn-off for it will be on the right, before the bridge over the river. Watch for Gambel’s Quail, Gray Hawk, Green Kingfisher, Gila Woodpecker, Black Phoebe, Vermilion Flycatcher, Cassin’s Kingbird, Curve-billed Thrasher, Lucy’s Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Abert’s Towhee, Blue Grosbeak, and Lesser Goldfinch.
Huachuca Mountains - Incredibly well-known because of the chance to see so many varieties of hummingbirds. Plus the rarely sighted Elegant Trogon, Eared Quetzal or Flame-colored Tanager.
Ramsey Canyon Preserve:Owned by the Nature Conservancy, has trails to take your binoculars and do some serious birding.
Miller Canyon:Beatty’s Guest Ranch is privately owned. A small fee is charged to enter. Feeders are scattered through the property to invite all the hummingbirds who are delighted to visit and have a meal. It's famed as perhaps the best hummingbird sighting area in the entire country. You may be able to see up to 14 different species! It's on Miller Canyon Rd. off Hwy. 92 in Hereford. Best idea is to call them for essential details: (520) 378-2728. They do have rental cabins, you can email them for details: email@example.com
Redhead Duck in Reid Park, Tucson
Tucson Area - A few places surrounding the city attract birds. For instance the main park, Reid Park, attracts wintering waterfowl. On the far Northeast side, the pond in Agua Caliente Park do the same. Here's another spectacular birding place...
Sweetwater Wetlands Park:Marshy impoundment ponds of recovered waste-water attract ducks and wading birds. Insects like the area, so birds like flycatchers, swallows and nighthawks follow. Others seen are grebes, cormorants, Harris’s Hawk, Gila Woodpecker, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Verdin, Marsh Wren, Curve-billed Thrasher, Abert’s Towhee, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Virginia Rail and Sora. Open sunrise to sunset. A west entrance to the Sweetwater Wetlands is open from the paved bicycle path along the east bank of the Santa Cruz River.
Northern Arizona - The California Condor was introduced here as part of the recovery process. It is on the Endangered Species list, and has been the most precarious bird, with only 22 birds in existence in 1982. That's when a program of reintroduction began, by captive breeding. First began in California in 1992, and in Arizona in 1996. It has been successful, so that the population has grown to a total of 369, seventy-four of which live in Arizona. You may get a sighting of them in two areas...
Vermilion Cliffs:Out of Flagstaff, take Hwy. 89 North. At Bitter Springs, switch to Hwy. 89A. At Marble Canyon you'll cross over the Colorado River. Just before getting into Grand Canyon Nation Park take a right onto (BLM Road 1065) House Rock Rd. (about 40 miles from the turn onto 89A). In about 2 to 3 miles, you'll arrive at the Condor Viewing area.
Canyons:In winter months, condors like the Colorado River area near Marble Canyon. In the summer months, condors are often seen at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
SAVE THE CONDOR - AND OTHER BIRDS!
AVOID LEAD BULLETS - PLEASE!
Read More about the California Condor
and the Importance of its Preservation/Conservation
The Arizona Game & Fish California Condors in Arizona & Utah Brochure
We Love Arizona Travel! And We Love to Travel the Western States!
Since we live in Arizona, it's fairly easy to plan a nice road trip through the Western states. There is a lot of fantastic scenery through the West. Plus a lot of interesting Old West history.
As we do this, we like to share it with others who have a similar interest. We've set up a blog page to share our Travel through the West. Why don't you check it out?! It's our American West Travel page. We'd love you to visit. We hope you'll share your own trips with us there, too.