The Grand Canyon is probably the most famous national park in Arizona, but there are a number of other stunning sites worth checking out. From the desert wilderness of Organ Pipe Cactus to the saguaro-dotted Sonoran Desert in Saguaro National Park, these parks will enchant and delight you.
A collection of ruins from the Sinagua and Anasazi cultures are spread over a desert plain northeast of Flagstaff in Wupatki National Monument. They're easy to view on short trails and provide some fascinating photo opportunities.
Grand Canyon National Park is a world-famous destination that attracts visitors from all over the world. The park is made up of more than 1.2 million acres of rocky and wooded landscapes that are home to numerous plant, bird and animal species.
The park covers a variety of habitats, including arid desert riparian and boreal forest, as well as mountainous sandstone canyons. It's also home to several rare and endemic (found only in the park) species.
There are many ways to explore the canyon. From guided hiking tours to rafting the Colorado River, there are activities for all interests.
You can visit Grand Canyon National Park year round, but summer is the most popular time to go. Spring and fall are also good times to go for less crowds and better prices.
Petrified Forest National Park, located in northeast Arizona, features one of the world's largest and most colorful concentrations of petrified wood. The 93,533-acre park also includes multi-hued badlands of the Chinle Formation known as the Painted Desert, historic structures, archeological sites and displays of 225 million-year old fossils.
There are a variety of things to do in the park, including hiking trails and scenic lookouts. The best way to get the most out of your visit is to plan ahead and have a map of the area in hand.
While you're there, don't forget to stop at the park's visitor center, either the Rainbow Forest Museum and Visitor Center or the Painted Desert Visitor Center. Inside, you can get a park map, weather updates and road conditions.
It's also a good idea to bring a coat and gloves. Fall is the best time to visit this national park because the crowds thin out, and temperatures are more bearable.
The Chiricahua Mountains, which rise high above the desert in southeast Arizona, are typical of the hundreds of small ranges that form the Basin and Range region of the state. They're topped by cypress, pine and oak woodlands as well as meadows and scrubby hills, all of which are typical of this landscape.
However, as you ascend the Chiricahuas to a higher elevation, you’ll see something that sets them apart from these other ranges: unusual rock formations called rock pinnacles. These weirdly shaped rock formations are composed of Rhyolite tuff, a type of volcanic rock.
These rocks are carved from the soft tuff by water that has been slamming into them over time. They are formed into all sorts of strange shapes and sizes, ranging from balancing boulders to ducks to Thor’s Hammer!
The monument is open year-round and does not charge an entrance fee. Visitors can learn about the geology, natural history and archaeology of the area at the visitor center. There are also exhibits and a short video on the park’s history and a bookstore.
The Park preserves the ruins of three Spanish missions, two of which are National Historic Landmarks. The park is located in the upper Santa Cruz River Valley in southern Arizona.
Tumacacori’s visitor center is an impressive adobe building designed in the mission style and constructed in 1937 with help from the Public Works Administration (PWA). Exhibits are well organized and the staff is extremely knowledgeable about the area.
It is a great place to learn about Spanish colonial history and how people lived in the area prior to European settlement. You will also be able to enjoy a number of different activities at the park, including hiking and birding.
You can also take a tour of the ruins. This is a must-do if you want to experience the history of the area firsthand. In addition, there are many special events at the park throughout the year, such as La Fiesta de Tumacacori, which is held in December.