Visiting Arizona, USA – places to see

January 1, 2015
Posted in Articles
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 (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 (around Phoenix)
Pichacho Peak (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 (the ostrich farm, biggest in USA)
Organ Pipe (Saguaro cactuses again)
Saguaro National Park (Saguaro forest)
Sedona and (you can do many things here, but some will require you to stay overnight)
Prescott (small cozy town in Arizona)
– Watson Lake Park (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 (you can reach this town after you went to Prescott, if you want, you can do both in the same day)
Payson and Tonto Natural Bridge  (can be done in the same day,being on the same route)
Flagstaff and the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort (you can go up to San Francisco Peak using the chairlift, the highest peak in Arizona)
Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff (where Pluto was discovered)
Scottsdale Downtown (restaurants, relaxing, walking, mall shopping)
Old Tucson Studios (where lots of western movies were made in the past)
Tucson (the city of Tucson, the second biggest city in Arizona)
Pima Air and Space Museum (airplanes in open field)
Titan Missile Museum (Cold War era nuclear missile launch outpost)
Tombstone (the legendary Wild West town, depicted in some movies)
Biosphere 2 (biology research station)
Kitt Peak National Observatory (astronomy observatory, you can see also the desert from up there, reachable by car)
Meteor Crater (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 (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 (hiking, is in the center of Phoenix – it has two ways of hike: a hard way and an easy way)
South Mountain , (you can see the whole downtown from the top of this mountain and you can reach there by car)
Goldfield Ghost Town (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 (you need to leave in the morning from Phoenix if you want to come back in the evening)
Phoenix Art Museum
Museum of Musical Instruments (the biggest in the world, they say)
Sunset Crater Volcano
Arizona Science Center
Saint Anthony (Greek church and monastery)
Wines (if you are interested in wines and wine tasting)
Bisbee (former copper mining town)
Tumacacori National Historical Park (old Spanish mission 1600 century, after Tucson)
San Xavier del Bac (old Spanish church, 1700 century)
Montezuma Castle National Monument (800 years old building – old Sinagua indians culture)
Tubac (lots of arts shops in this town, after Tucson)
Kartchner Caverns (south-east of Tucson -but you can’t take pictures or videos inside the caves)
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 (creepy place, especially at night)
Fountain Hills (world’s fourth tallest fountain)
Petrified Sand Dunes (The Waves) (there are few people admitted here per day)
Vermilion Cliffs National Monument
Coal Mine Canyon
Slide Rock (river between rocks)
Monument Hill (this is the official center of the Arizona state)
Grand Canyon Caverns (they even have a hotel there where you can get accomodation – not cheap though)
Taliesin West (the house of the well known architect Frank Lloyd Wright)
Lost Dutchman State Park (at the bottom of Superstition Mountains)
The Arboretum (the botanical garden)
Kiwanis Recreation Center (the first waves pool from United States)
Wildlife World Zoo
Tovrea Castle (castle and cactus garden in Phoenix)
London Bridge (in Lake Havasu – imitation of London Bridge, UK)
– Chiricahua National Monument (rocks wonderland, south of Tucson, you can do it in a day if you leave early)
– Sabino Canyon (north-east of Tucson, hike area and there is also a river and a fall)

Cactus and stars in Arizona
– Cibecue Falls 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 (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 (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 (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 Graham (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 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 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 (no words to describe to beauty of this place)
Grand Canyon North Rim (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 (like a smaller Grand Canyon)
Havasu Falls (requires also a 10 mile hike to reach the falls)
Page town from where you can visit: Antelope Canyon, Lake Powell, Glen Canyon, Monument Valley, Horseshoe Bend, Rainbow Bridge, even Utah at Bryce Canyon or Zion National Park You can take boat trips on the Colorado river downstream of Lake Powell dam, or upstream.
Hoover Dam (the legendary dam, part in Arizona part in Nevada – it’s on the same way to Las Vegas)
Painted Desert (Moon or Mars like landscape)
Thunder River-Deer Creek Loop in Grand Canyon National Park (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:

Hope you will enjoy the stay in this state!