For scenery on a grand scale, there are few places in the world to rival the American Southwest. Within the wide open spaces of Arizona, there’s a wealth of spectacular sights and haunting landscapes familiar as the backdrop of countless Westerns. The highlight of any visit to Arizona is undoubtedly the awesome Grand Canyon, while the stunning Red Rock country of Sedona, the Sonoran Desert around the resort cities of Phoenix and Scottsdale and the extraordinary multi-coloured Painted Desert and Petrified Forest are equally memorable. Here are provided some Arizona travel ideas to make your travel to Arizona an exceptional one.
The main tourist attraction in Arizona is the breathtaking beauty of the Mogollon Rim, a region of ancient volcanoes and earthquakes and prehistoric oceans. This 300-mile long, 7,000 foot high rock formation dominates Arizona’s northern landscape. This is a perfect place for a getaway to experience majestic landscapes including alpine forests, over a dozen lakes, and mountain rivers and streams. The unpaved General Crook Trail was built to connect Arizona’s military holdouts during the Apache Wars, and now hosts hikers and bikers who may spend up to several days exploring the area in isolation. Along this trail one will find a network of trails and roads leading to the sources of the state’s four rivers, which offer some of the best fishing in the country as well as lazy days spent sunbathing along the banks.
For winter sports enthusiasts, the White Mountains beckon from November through April. Skiers will adore the White Mountain Apache Tribe’s Sunrise Park Resort, which boasts three towering peaks with over 65 runs and provides facilities for beginners to masters. For the avid golfer, this area is a paradise offering several stunning clubs that highlight the landscape making use of the rugged landscape. The town of Alpine hosts an 18-hole course that is one of the most beautiful in the state, as well as the highest course in the Southwestern United States at an elevation of 8,500 feet.
The city of Prescott serves as the state capital and as an interesting diversion from outdoor pursuits. One can spend days here browsing the many antique shops, unique boutiques, art galleries and artisan shops. Don’t miss Courthouse Plaza and the historic Palace Saloon on Whiskey Row. For some engaging Arizona history, check out the Sharlot Hall Museum which displays three renovated Victorian mansions, a one-room schoolhouse and the fabulous Territorial Governor’s Mansion and Rose Garden.
A scenic mountain road climbs the Sierra Prieta Mountains through the world’s largest Ponderosa Pine forest to the historic mining community of Jerome, with several abandoned mineshafts dotting the surrounding mountains. Jerome was once a bustling city producing millions of dollars’ worth of precious minerals, and has become a haven for artists and unique shops, galleries and restaurants. Further down the Verde River Canyon, don’t miss Montezuma Castle National Monument showcasing the well-managed ruins of a five-story, 20-room cliff dwelling built almost 1,000 years ago by the region’s native Sinagua people. Montezuma well is nearby, a sinkhole with a deep pool of cool, crystal clear water.
Although not as mountainous, southern Arizona radiates outstanding landscapes, interesting cultures, and stark contrasts. The state’s Spanish heritage is very evident here. South of Tucson, be sure to visit the Mission San Xavier del Bac, an 18th century church recently restored by artists from the area’s Indian nations along with a team of Italian preservationists. The Santa Cruz Chile Factory is located nearby, offering specialties like cactus candy and jalapeno ice cream.