Arizona Travel Ideas

Arizona Travel Ideas
In Arizona, outdoor enthusiasts discover a diverse landscape composed of an arid desert, sweet-smelling forests and steep mountains. Major cities such as Phoenix, Flagstaff and Tucson are always a safe bet for an enjoyable stay. Opportunities to tie on a pair of hiking boots, straddle a bike, or strap on a climbing harness abound in Arizona with over 1,040 hiking trails, 143 mountain bike trails and 173 climbing locations.

Petrified Forest National Park

Sounding more like something out of a Harry Potter book, the Petrified Forest National Park consists of a large quantity of petrified wood, unique natural formations of rock and intriguing evidence of the past. According to the National Park Service, "The best way to enjoy and experience Petrified Forest National Park is on foot. Designated trails range in length from less than a half-mile to almost three miles." Bicycles aren't allowed off-road. Activities at the Petrified Forest National Park include hiking, wildlife watching, horseback riding, backpacking, camping, photography and bird watching. Earth Caching---another activity at the park---is a form of treasure hunting where the clues lead you to various geological wonders.

Petrified Forest National Park
P.O. Box 2217
Petrified Forest, AZ 86028
(928) 524-6228
nps.gov/pefo/

Grand Canyon National Park

At 228 miles long and 18 miles wide, the Grand Canyon amazes first-time and veteran visitors with its sheer magnitude. Hopi Native Americans believe their spirits rest in the canyon. According to the National Park Service, "Nearly five million people see the 1 mile deep Grand Canyon each year." The canyon lies on a fault line, allowing geologists and interested visitors to view the results of tectonic activity---movement of the plates underneath the earth's crust---on the walls of the canyon. Evidence exists of lava including Lava Falls near Vulcan's Throne on the Colorado River. Fossils can be found in caves such as Cave of the Domes on Horseshoe Mesa. Along with an abundance of scientific wonders, it hosts a wealth of outdoor activities such whitewater rafting, camping, mule rides, photography, biking, scenic driving and hiking.

Considered a semi-arid desert, the Grand Canyon provides a diverse landscape home to 75 species of mammal, 50 reptile species, 25 fish species and 300 bird species. Most of the animals pose little or no threat to humans. However, scorpions and rattlesnakes defend themselves with nasty, potentially fatal bites. Africanized bees, a cross between the European honeybee and an African bee, swarms easily and enough stings can have fatal consequences.

Grand Canyon National Park
P.O. Box 129
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023
(928) 638-7888
nps.gov/grca/

Tonto National Forest

Near Phoenix, the Tonto National Forest encompasses 3 million acres. Roughly, 5.8 million people visit annually. The Tonto National Forest offers a large selection of outdoor activities include biking, boating, camping, picnicking, fishing, recreational shooting, gathering forest products, sightseeing and water sports. The Babe Haught Trail---a 6-mile trail---challenges hikers with a rocky, steep climb. Twenty-one endangered species live in the Tonto National Forest, which makes for interesting animal watching.

USDA Forest Service
2324 E. McDowell
Phoenix, AZ 85006
(602) 225-5200
fs.fed.us/r3/tonto/home.shtml

Article Written By Amy L. Gouger

Amy L. Gouger holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from East Stroudsburg University. Previously a technical agent, she now serves as a ghostwriter and contributor to various online publications.

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