Phoenix is Arizona’s largest and best-known city. It offers a lot of popular activities to entertain visitors, but there are many that few people know about. If you enjoy the outdoors and plan to visit or move to the Phoenix area soon, be sure to keep the following best-kept secrets in mind. Phoenix may be the most well-known city in Arizona, but only locals know about these special spots.
If you’re looking for a unique, beautiful, and challenging hiking experience, the Cholla Trail is a three-mile hiking path near Paradise Valley. Dogs are also welcome on this trail, so if your canine companion enjoys hiking outdoors as much as you do, make it a day of great outdoor exercise and bring your best hiking boots for this difficult but scenic hiking trail.
The Arizona Falls
In 1902, Phoenix city leaders built Arizona’s first hydroelectric dam to supply power to the city. This unique man-made waterfall is not only beautiful, but also functional. Although the power plant shut down in 1950, the falls remain something of a local park and meeting place. Public officials often hold gatherings at the Arizona Falls and it is a popular location for locals to enjoy picnics and socializing.
Lookout Mountain Preserve
You’ll likely encounter many people along the more popular hiking paths in Arizona, but if you want a quieter and more secluded experience, Lookout Mountain Preserve may be right for you. This is one of the less-often hiked areas of Arizona, so you can expect less crowding on the various trails in Lookout Mountain Preserve. There are several trails for hikers of all experience levels, offering some of the most beautiful natural scenery near the heart of Phoenix.
The Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch
If you’re interested in a more relaxing walk through the natural beauty of the Phoenix area, the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch is ideal for light hiking, picnics, or checking out the local wildlife. With more than 202 species of birds listed in the area, the Riparian Preserve offers great birdwatching opportunities and has several fun and easy trails perfect for kids.
Sahuaro Ranch Park
For a more historical experience of the outdoors in Phoenix, Sahuaro Ranch Park includes picnicking grounds, playgrounds, sports fields and athletic courts for basketball and tennis. There are also beautiful rose gardens, a peacock habitat, and several beautifully preserved historical buildings throughout the park.
Deer Valley Petroglyph Cave Preserve
For a glance at ancient history in the Phoenix area, Deer Valley Petroglyph Cave Preserve is home to the highest concentration of petroglyphs in Arizona and a sacred site for Native Americans. Here you can enjoy beautiful hiking trails and see petroglyphs ranging from 500 to 7,000 years old.
Slide Rock State Park Sedona
Families looking for great outdoor fun in the Phoenix area will find no shortage of it at Slide Rock State Park in Sedona. This 43-acre state park used to be an apple farm and now offers campsites and cabin lodging for visitors. The name slide rock comes from the extremely smooth stones lining Oak River, a fantastic place for kids to enjoy sliding into the water and swimming to cool off from the desert heat.
These are just some of the best-kept secrets in Phoenix. Once you move to the area or prepare for your trip, be sure to explore and talk to locals to find your own favorite spots in one of the most popular destinations in Arizona.