Outdoor enthusiasts should not depart the state of Arizona before seeing the Grand Canyon first-hand. Enjoy a strolling nature walk along the North or South Rims, or take a short trail into the inner rim of the canyon. When hiking in the Grand Canyon area, it is important to follow all safety rules and to prepare for strenuous hiking conditions, such as steep elevations, and possibly dangerous weather conditions, like extreme heat. The Rim Trail along the South Rim begins in the village and ends at Hermits Rest. With resting points, scenic viewing spots and shuttle buses, the paved Rim Trail is a perfect way for the beginning hiker to enjoy exercise and spectacular canyon views. For a hiking challenge, the popular Bright Angel Trail offers a partially-shaded, day hiking experience up to 12 miles long. Considered to be a dangerous hike by Backpacker Magazine, the Bright Angel Trail should only be taken on by knowledgeable outdoor enthusiasts who are prepared for the trail.
Red Rock Country (picture above Devil's Bridge)
Visitors are drawn to Sedona for its vibrantly hued rock formations; natural, mystical energies called "vortexes;" the Oak Creek Canyon and the region's intriguing American Indian history. One popular moderate-level hike is to circle Doe Mountain just west of Sedona. Although only 2.6 miles in total distance, the trail gains 500 feet in elevation and offers up-close encounters with diverse nature, such as the prickly pear cactus and manzanita plant. Enjoy the sights of Chimney Rock, Bear Mountain and Boynton Canyon while on the trail. Another excellent hike in red rock country is the Soldier Pass Arches Trail, which provides the opportunity to view stunning rock arch formations and the "Devil's Kitchen," a 100-foot-deep sinkhole. In addition to spectacular landscapes, Sedona is also famous for specific locations with flowing, spiraling energy, called "vortexes." While historically the vortexes were a sacred place for Native American populations, individuals with diverse spiritual beliefs and backgrounds hope to experience the mystical energies of the region. While in the vortex, people frequently meditate and pray. Popular vortex sites include Airport Mesa, Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock and Boynton Canyon.
In the Tucson area, visitors can hike through Sonoran desert landscapes of cholla and saguaro--and possibly encounter a javelina, tarantula or roadrunner along the way. A local favorite spot, Sabino Canyon Recreation Area, offers plenty of trails for hikers of varying ability. First-time visitors should hike the paved tram road. With a total distance of 7.4 miles, this easy hike has a steady elevation gain, picnic areas and creek bridges. During Tucson's wet season, the waters rise, and unexpected monsoon storms can roll in. Hikers should be careful while in the area. A short hike of just over a mile long, the Phoneline Trail, forks off the main road and connects with other major trails that lead into Catalina State Park. While in the area, be sure to visit Seven Falls, a 7-plus-mile hike that covers 650 feet in elevation and offers a seasonal opportunity to get wet and cool off from the hot Tucson temperatures.