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Phoenix, Arizona gets a bad rap sometimes. You might hear some say, “It’s the desert, it’s hot, it’s boring.” But Phoenix is much more than that.
Within a few hours each way, you can enjoy a wide variety of truly breathtaking, epic outdoor adventures in Phoenix. Arizona is home to of one of the seven natural wonders of the world after all! Check out some of the exciting excursions and activities the Valley of the Sun that you should definitely add to your bucket list.
Head out to Camp Verde and take a leisurely 1.25-mile hike along Fossil Creek. The trail is lush—yet rocky—and VERY beautiful. But the real beauty is at the end of the trail where you’ll reach a swimming hole and waterfall. Take a dip in the clear water or, you know, go jump off a cliff! Really, you can jump off a rock wall that is 25-feet high. Trust us — it’s the ultimate adrenaline rush. Just be sure to wear grippy shoes so you don’t slip!
Seeking an epic adventure without having to exert much energy? Head out to the Tonto National Forest about 30 miles east of Phoenix and take a float down the Salt River. Or, if getting more of workout tickles your fancy, go ahead and bring your own kayak. But before you do, you may want to rethink that decision. Let’s just say most people going down the river purchase an extra tube to hold their beverages or speakers. So load up on sunscreen and enjoy a sunny day on the river with friends. The floats last two to five hours, depending on your drop-off point. Get out your planner — you can start floating as soon as May!
What’s better than fishing? Fly fishing! And yes, you can fly fish in Arizona. Just past Sedona is Oak Creek Canyon and let us just say, it’s awesome. The trout is abundant, but we recommend going in the fall and winter — this popular fishing hole can get crowded during the summer months. Either way, you’ll love fly fishing within this canyon of seriously stunning red rocks and babbling streams.
You’ve heard of Jeep tours, but have you heard of Pink Jeep Tours? Sounds way more fun, right? Drive a couple hours north to Sedona for an extreme off-roading adventure. The Jeeps will take you through the red rocks of Sedona. Literally, you’ll be rolling over jagged rocks and rough terrain. But don’t let this rugged adventure scare you away — the views are absolutely breathtaking and you can choose from a variety of different tours.
Are you a little rough around the edges? Are you a thrill-seeker? Hop on an ATV or UTV (utility terrain four-seater vehicle) for a wild ride in the Bradshaw Mountains near Mayer, Arizona, about 40 minutes south of Prescott. Arizona Outdoor Fun, an outdoor adventure company, will not only take you on an extreme tour, but they’ll also drop some knowledge about the history of the local wildlife and nature. Talk about a win-win.
Although manmade and not so fun to swim in, Tempe Town Lake is a great and convenient place for water activities not actually IN the water. You can sail and you can row, but that’s old news. Stand up paddleboarding (SUP) is where it’s at. And at Tempe Town Lake, you can take intro to SUP classes if you’re a beginner, and if you’re more advanced you can take a SUP Fitness class or even SUP Yoga. Talk about a CORE workout. Rent a SUP or bring your own. Regardless of what you decide—get ready to sweat—it’s a lot harder than it looks.
Camelback Mountain is downright iconic. And yes, it really does look like a camel’s back. But have you seen the Praying Monk that lives on the Camel’s back? Once you see it, you can’t unsee it. Even though this is a good rappel for beginners, it’s still a 50-foot wall of monk (rock) that’s perched up on a mountain. So if you’re afraid of heights — stick to hiking. There’s no doubt you’ll love the view of Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, and Phoenix down below and far away.
Flagstaff is just over two hours north of Phoenix and it is one of the top-rated “Dark Sky Cities.” Pretty cool, right? Well, what’s even cooler is you can hike a dormant volcanic crater called SP Crater. While the hike isn’t the most glamorous due to volcanic cinders, the view of the Grand Canyon far away in the distance and the stars and Milky Way make it totally worth it. Go to the SP Crater for a fulfilling nature adventure.
Okay Fitt fam, we saved the best for last. Or should we say grandest? We all know how gorgeous and jaw-dropping the Grand Canyon is, but not everyone knows about Havasupai Falls within the canyon? Well, we’re here to tell you that the Havasupai Falls, and namely the iconic Havasu Falls, are the most epic adventure in Arizona and quite possibly the United States. It’s a 10-mile hike each way through the land of the Havasupai Tribe. You read that right — 10 miles each way. But once you reach the spectacular blue-green water bursting through beautiful rock formations, you’ll forget how hard you worked to get there.
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