January 1, 2015 Mircea Goia

Visiting Arizona, USA – places to see

Since I came here in Arizona, USA I wanted to visit this state, to try to know it better.

Arizona is a diverse state, has deserts, semi-deserts with only summer-spring seasons (south and mid of the state) but also has mountains ranges with trees and four seasons (northern).


The state of Arizona is slitghty bigger (113,990 sq miles – 295,234 km2) than my native country of Romania (92,043 sq miles – 238,391 km2) but traveling inside it is much easier thanks to the more developed freeways network.

I am listing below the attractions which you can visit in Arizona, in no particular order. This list will be updated as I discover more and more places.
The departing place is Phoenix, which is the place where most of the visits may land or come first time.

I have broken down the list in trips which can be taken in one day from Phoenix (leave in the morning, come back in the evening) and trips which takes more than one day (that requires accomodation overnight).


Trips which takes a day (from Phoenix and back):

Tempe Town Lake http://www.tempe.gov/lake (you can also rent boats and also climb the hill which can be seen from the lake and it’s in the path of the airplanes landing)
Downtown Phoenix http://www.visitphoenix.com/things-to-do/downtown-phoenix (around Phoenix)
Pichacho Peak http://azstateparks.com/Parks/PIPE/ (there is a Saguaro cactus forest there too and you can also visit the ostrich farm Cogburn Ostrich Farm which is right at the start of the trail)
Cogburn Ostrich Farm http://www.roostercogburn.com (the ostrich farm, biggest in USA)
Organ Pipe http://www.nps.gov/orpi/ (Saguaro cactuses again)
Saguaro National Park http://www.nps.gov/sagu (Saguaro forest)
Sedona http://visitsedona.com and http://www.sedonaadventuretours.com (you can do many things here, but some will require you to stay overnight)
Prescott http://www.cityofprescott.net (small cozy town in Arizona)
– Watson Lake Park http://www.cityofprescott.net/services/parks/parks/index.php?id=24 (in Prescott, AZ – while visiting Prescott you can visit this lake too)
Phoenix->Prescott->towards 89A to Jerome Ghost town->Sedona-> coming back on I-17 Phoenix (from Prescott to Sedona passing through Jerome you can see very nice landscapes)
Phoenix->Prescott->towards south 89 and to Wickenburg->change on 74, stop at Lake Pleasant->coming back on I-17 Phoenix (more nice landscapes here to be seen)
Jerome Ghost town http://www.azjerome.com/jerome (you can reach this town after you went to Prescott, if you want, you can do both in the same day)
Payson http://www.paysonaz.gov and Tonto Natural Bridge http://azstateparks.com/Parks/TONA  (can be done in the same day,being on the same route)
Flagstaff http://www.flagstaff.az.gov and the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort http://www.arizonasnowbowl.com (you can go up to San Francisco Peak using the chairlift, the highest peak in Arizona)
Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff http://www.lowell.edu (where Pluto was discovered)
Scottsdale Downtown http://downtownscottsdale.com (restaurants, relaxing, walking, mall shopping)
Old Tucson Studios http://oldtucson.com (where lots of western movies were made in the past)
Tucson http://www.tucsonaz.gov (the city of Tucson, the second biggest city in Arizona)
Pima Air and Space Museum http://www.pimaair.org (airplanes in open field)
Titan Missile Museum http://www.titanmissilemuseum.org (Cold War era nuclear missile launch outpost)
Tombstone http://www.tombstoneweb.com (the legendary Wild West town, depicted in some movies)
Biosphere 2 http://b2science.org (biology research station)
Kitt Peak National Observatory http://www.noao.edu/kpno/ (astronomy observatory, you can see also the desert from up there, reachable by car)
Meteor Crater http://meteorcrater.com (the most well preserved meteor crater in the world, 50.000 years old – it’s on the same freeway I-40 as the Petrified Forest and you can do both in the same day if you leave early)
Petrified Forest http://www.nps.gov/pefo (200 million old petrified forest, on the same freeway I-40 as Meteor Crater and you can do both in the same day if you leave early)
CamelBack Mountain http://climbcamelback.com (hiking, is in the center of Phoenix – it has two ways of hike: a hard way and an easy way)
South Mountain https://www.phoenix.gov/parks/trails/locations/south-mountain , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhhS86uAaAc (you can see the whole downtown from the top of this mountain and you can reach there by car)
Goldfield Ghost Town http://goldfieldghosttown.com (a former gold mining town)
North and East of Phoenix lakes…Lake Pleasant (north), Saguaro Lake, Bartlett Lake, Apache Lake, Roosevelt Lake (all on east)…there is a route (US-60 going to east then up on Route 88) which can be taken by car (dirt road, but you don’t need a 4×4 car). That road starts from Canyon Lake, passing by Apache Lake and reaching the Roosevelt Lake, over the mountains. The view on the mountains is nice. Before going this route, on the same road (this time a paved road) you can see also Goldfield Ghost town. You can come back to Phoenix on a normal road, south Highway 188 then back on US-60 to west.

Milky Way 80 miles west from Phoenix
Lake Havasu http://www.golakehavasu.com (you need to leave in the morning from Phoenix if you want to come back in the evening)
Phoenix Art Museum http://www.phxart.org
Museum of Musical Instruments http://mim.org (the biggest in the world, they say)
Sunset Crater Volcano http://www.nps.gov/sucr
Arizona Science Center http://www.azscience.org
Saint Anthony http://www.stanthonysmonastery.org (Greek church and monastery)
Wines http://www.vvwinetrail.com (if you are interested in wines and wine tasting)
Bisbee http://www.discoverbisbee.com (former copper mining town)
Tumacacori National Historical Park http://www.nps.gov/tuma (old Spanish mission 1600 century, after Tucson)
San Xavier del Bac http://www.sanxaviermission.org (old Spanish church, 1700 century)
Montezuma Castle National Monument http://www.nps.gov/moca (800 years old building – old Sinagua indians culture)
Tubac http://www.tubacaz.com (lots of arts shops in this town, after Tucson)
Kartchner Caverns http://azstateparks.com/Parks/KACA/ (south-east of Tucson -but you can’t take pictures or videos inside the caves)
Grand Falls http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Falls,_Arizona (30 mile east of Flagstaff, but you have to go in the morning from Phoenix if you want to come back in the evening)
The Abandoned Domes at Casa Grande http://www.weirdus.com/states/arizona/abandoned/domes/ (creepy place, especially at night)
Fountain Hills http://www.fh.az.gov (world’s fourth tallest fountain)
Petrified Sand Dunes (The Waves) http://www.americanwesttravel.com/arizona/wave-vermilion-cliffs-wilderness/ (there are few people admitted here per day)
Vermilion Cliffs National Monument http://www.blm.gov/az/st/en/prog/blm_special_areas/natmon/vermilion.html
Coal Mine Canyon http://www.americansouthwest.net/arizona/coal-mine-canyon/
Slide Rock http://azstateparks.com/Parks/slRO (river between rocks)
Monument Hill http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=17543 (this is the official center of the Arizona state)
Grand Canyon Caverns http://gccaverns.com/tours-activities/caverns/ (they even have a hotel there where you can get accomodation – not cheap though)
Taliesin West http://www.franklloydwright.org/about/TaliesinWestTours.html (the house of the well known architect Frank Lloyd Wright)
Lost Dutchman State Park http://azstateparks.com/Parks/LODU/ (at the bottom of Superstition Mountains)
The Arboretum http://ag.arizona.edu/bta/ (the botanical garden)
Kiwanis Recreation Center http://www.tempe.gov/city-hall/community-services/facilities/kiwanis-recreation-center/wave-pool (the first waves pool from United States)
Wildlife World Zoo http://www.wildlifeworld.com/
Tovrea Castle http://www.tovreacastletours.com (castle and cactus garden in Phoenix)
London Bridge http://www.golakehavasu.com/about-us/london_bridge1.aspx (in Lake Havasu – imitation of London Bridge, UK)
– Chiricahua National Monument http://www.nps.gov/chir (rocks wonderland, south of Tucson, you can do it in a day if you leave early)
– Sabino Canyon http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabino_Canyon (north-east of Tucson, hike area and there is also a river and a fall)

Cactus and stars in Arizona
– Cibecue Falls http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=30 Go on US-60 east to Globe, then take again US-60/77 north/east to Show Low (you can make a stop to Seneca Lake right before passing the bridge over Salt River). Right after passing the bridge over Salt River (here you can make a stop and go to the river, there are some small falls to admire) make a left on the dirt road Primitive Rd and go on it until it crosses Cibecue Creek. Take the mile-long trek along the Cibecue Creek to the north  to experience the spectacular beauty of Cibecue Falls. Check out road conditions and try to grab your permits before heading out (although you can go without too). The pristine area is great for climbing, exploring and spending time in the crystal clear water. Surrounded by fascinating striated rock walls, water shoes will come in handy for wading and jumping from the rocky ledges.
– Mount Lemmon http://www.skithelemmon.com (go to Tucson, get out of the freeway at Speedway Blvd, go east, left on Houghton Rd, then right on Catalina Hwy and continue on Mt Lemmon Hwy until the top. You can also ski in the winter.)
Beaver Falls http://www.havasuwaterfalls.net/beaver.html (from I-40 at Seligman, take exit 123 and drive 33 miles west on Hwy #66 to Indian Road 18. Turn right and drive 60 miles to parking lot at Hualapai Hilltop (at end of the road). Indian Road 18 can also be accessed from Kingman, by driving ~50 miles east on Hwy #66 (~6 miles past Peach Springs). There are no services after Seligman (or Kingman). Beaver Falls is reached by continuing on the trail past Mooney Falls another 2 miles (for a 6 mile RT hike from the campground). It involves a few creek crossings (which could be up to waist deep), and one descent down a steep section in which you need to repel down using a rope.)
Schnebly Hill Rd – scenic drive to Sedona http://www.desertusa.com/desert-activity/explore-sedona.html (from Phoenix take I-17 north. Don’t take Highway 179 – the regular way to Sedona which everybody takes – and after 37 miles on I-17 you take Schnebly Hill Rd (make left – east). This is a more scenic drive to Sedona which goes up on the hills (in the middle and end of the road you will see the red rocks of Sedona and you will drive by them on your way to the town). It’s a dirt road so be prepared with a good car. When you exit this road, after 12 miles drive, you will be very close to the center of Sedona.
– Mount Grahamhttp://www.summitpost.org/mount-graham/154191 (from Phoenix, take US-60 east, then continue with US-70 east, make a right on US-191 and at Swift Junction Trail make another right on AZ-366. After 11.5 miles, you’ll reach the Arcadia Campground at 6,700′ (see below). The road is gated here between November 15 and April 15.)
Veterans Oasis Parkhttps://www.chandleraz.gov/explore/chandler-parks/guide/veterans-oasis-park (located in Chandler and with scenic trails, fishing, birding, horseback riding, loads of picnic areas and an outdoor amphitheater, Veterans Oasis Park has something for everyone outdoors)
Riparian Preserve at Water Ranchhttps://www.gilbertaz.gov/departments/parks-and-recreation/riparian-preserve-at-water-ranch (located in Gilbert it looks like a mini-delta with vegetation, birds and other little animals roaming around)



Places which needs more than one day to visit (2-3-4-5 or more days):

Grand Canyon South Rim http://www.nps.gov/grca (no words to describe to beauty of this place)
Grand Canyon North Rim http://grandcanyon.com/category/planning/north-rim-planning (from Phoenix take I-17 North, then in Flagstaff take 89 North and continue until Bitter Spring where 89 splits in 89 and 89A – which goes north, then west. Take 89A. Pass Navajo Bridge over COlorado river, near Marble Canyon, then continue to west on the same 89A until you get to Jacob Lake. There you make a left – south – on 67 – Grand Canyon Highway, which is closed during the winter – and drive until the end of it where you will find the Grand Canyon Lodge – North Rim.)
Canyon de Chelly http://www.nps.gov/cach (like a smaller Grand Canyon)
Havasu Falls http://havasupaifalls.net/havasu.html (requires also a 10 mile hike to reach the falls)
Page town from where you can visit: Antelope Canyon http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antelope_Canyon, Lake Powell http://www.lakepowell.com, Glen Canyon http://www.nps.gov/glca, Monument Valley http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monument_Valley, Horseshoe Bend http://horseshoebend.com, Rainbow Bridge http://www.nps.gov/rabr, even Utah at Bryce Canyon http://www.nps.gov/brca or Zion National Park http://www.nps.gov/zion/. You can take boat trips on the Colorado river downstream of Lake Powell dam, or upstream.
Hoover Dam http://www.usbr.gov/lc/hooverdam/ (the legendary dam, part in Arizona part in Nevada – it’s on the same way to Las Vegas)
Painted Desert http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Painted_Desert_(Arizona) (Moon or Mars like landscape)
Thunder River-Deer Creek Loop in Grand Canyon National Park http://www.backpacker.com/trips/arizona/grand-canyon-national-park/grand-canyon-national-park-thunder-river-deer-creek-loop/ (from Phoenix take I-17 North, then in Flagstaff take 89 North and continue until Bitter Spring where 89 splits in 89 and 89A – which goes north, then west. Take 89A. Pass Navajo Bridge over COlorado river, near Marble Canyon, then continue to west on the same 89A until you get to Fredonia. From Fredonia, take AZ 89A south for 1.5 miles. Turn right onto FR 22. Less than a mile after the Big Spring Ranger Station, veer right onto FR 422. Drive roughly four miles; make a right onto FR 425, then right onto FR 292 – becomes FR 292a). Road ends at trailhead. From here you hike to Thunder River-Deer Creek, making about 22 miles roundtrip.)


Another website where you can find a lot about Arizona is this one: www.visitarizona.com

Hope you will enjoy the stay in this state!