The tourism industry in Arizona has, literally, one colossal advantage– the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River. It’s the single most awe-inspiring spectacle in a land of unforgettable geology, and one of the few places in the world that you absolutely have to see at least once in your life. However, the Grand Canyon is by no means the most interesting or memorable destination in the state. Indeed, in comparison to its inhuman scale, other parts of Arizona have a more abiding emotional impact, precisely because of the sheer drama of human involvement in this forbidding but deeply resonant desert landscape.
Though the open spaces of southern Arizona can be harsh and violent– most of the southwestern quarter, along the parallel I-8 and I-10 highways, is used as a bombing range– the bleakness is balanced somewhat by the many nature reserves which protect its amazing flora and fauna, such as Saguaro National Park, just outside Tucson, with its giant cactuses, real-life roadrunners and rare Gila monsters. This eTrail is a chapter excerpted from the book "The Rough Guide to USA." It is packed with information on this state including history, getting there and getting around, major cities and regions, and what to do and where to stay when you get there.
© Samantha Cook, Tim Perry, and Greg Ward/Rough Guides. All Rights Reserved.