From the world’s largest metropolitan park to thousands of acres of regional parks and sparkling recreational lakes, the area surrounding Metropolitan Phoenix is nature’s own playground. While communities offer exceptional parkland filled with sports facilities and amenities, governments on every level have preserved vast acres of pristine desert and mountain landscapes that encourage every type of outdoor activity and adventure.


National Parks & Monuments

Canyon de Chelly
Chinle 928-674-4002
Varnished canyon walls rival the beauty of the Grand Canyon, towering over ancient petroglyphs and Native American history.

Casa Grande Ruins
Coolidge 520-723-3172
Hohokam architecture at its finest in a 650-year-old, four-story structure amid village sites and irrigation canals.

The Chiricahuas
Willcox 520-824-3560
“Wonderland of Rocks” features fantastic formations carved by nature from volcanic rock on land once controlled by the Apache Nation under Chief Cochise.

Fort Bowie Historic Site
Willcox 520-847-2500
Constructed to protect early settlers against famous Apache chiefs, including Cochise and Geronimo, the area preserves the fort and Butterfield Overland Mail Route.

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon 928-638-7888
Incomprehensible in its majesty, the canyon is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and one of the most visited locations on the planet.

Lake Powell & Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
Page 928-608-6200
Boaters, anglers, nature lovers, and campers are all drawn to the unrivaled beauty of aquamarine waters beneath the splendor of chiseled canyon walls.

Montezuma Castle National Monument
Camp Verde 928-567-3322
Intact five-story cliff dwelling built by the Sinagua Indians in 1250 was named for Montezuma by Spanish explorers.

Organ Pipe National Monument
Ajo 520-387-6849
Pima County claims this extraordinary collection of native wildlife and plants of the Sonoran Desert, including the rare organ pipe cactus.

Petrified Forest National Park
Petrified Forest 928-524-6228
Presenting the world’s largest display of petrified wood, the forest also preserves the Puerco Indian ruins.

Pipe Spring National Monument
Fredonia 928-643-7105
Living history ranch near Utah is the site of a historic Mormon fort built in the 1870s.

Saguaro National Park
Tucson 520-733-5153
More than 54,000 acres in two districts showcase stands of saguaro cacti.

Sunset Crater National Monument
Flagstaff 928-526-0502
This awe-inspiring, rose-colored cinder cone lies among the San Francisco Peaks, thought to be formed around 1066 A.D.

Tumacacori 520-398-2341
Ruins of a partially complete church and museum mark the site of a former Pima village that became a Spanish mission in the late 1600s.

Tuzigoot National Monument
Clarkdale 928-634-5564
Located in one of Arizona’s most beautiful canyons, this hilltop fortress-village of Indian ruins features educational exhibits in its visitor’s center.

Walnut Canyon National Monument
Flagstaff 928-526-3367
Centuries ago, the Sinagua Indians built
small cliff dwellings within this panoramic horseshoe-shaped canyon.

Wupatki National Monument
Flagstaff 928-679-2365
North of Flagstaff on U.S. Highway 89 are more than 800 structures that constitute one of the world’s greatest collections of Native American Indian dwellings.

Arizona State Parks
Residents of the metropolitan area enjoy quick and easy access to many of Arizona’s state parks. For complete details on parks, locations, facilities, activities, regulations, and fees, contact:

Arizona State Park Headquarters
Phoenix 602-542-4174

Catalina State Park
Tucson 520-628-5798
Opportunities for hiking and horseback riding combine with panoramic Catalina Mountain vistas and spring wildflowers.

Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area
Show Low 928-537-3680
Fishing, camping, hiking, wildlife viewing, and boating are popular pastimes in this alpine setting east of Phoenix.

Fort Verde State Historic Park
Camp Verde 928-567-3275
Frontier fort showcases daily life among the soldiers in country haven of Camp Verde.

Jerome State Historic Park
Jerome 928-634-5381
The area’s mining history is enhanced by tourist attractions in a former ghost town.

Kartchner Caverns State Park
Benson 520-586-CAVE
World-class attraction rivals the finest show caves, remaining as fragile and colorful as they were 50,000 years ago.

Lost Dutchman State Park
Apache Junction 480-982-4485
Hiking trails command magnificent views at the edge of the Superstition Mountain Wilderness Area.

Red Rock State Park
Sedona 928-282-6907
This panoramic nature preserve, along with its environmental education center, includes Scenic Red Rock Crossing.

Slide Rock State Park
Sedona 928-282-3034
Breathtaking Oak Creek Canyon features smooth sandstone water chutes with deep swimming pools and picnic areas.

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park
Payson 928-476-4202
Just a short drive east from the Valley of the Sun in “Rim Country,” the world’s largest natural travertine bridge measures 183 feet high and 400 feet wide.


Major Metropolitan Parks

Cave Creek Recreation Area
37019 N. Lava Lane
Cave Creek 623-465-0431
Covering 2,922 acres, the park nestles in the southwest corner of an area that was the scene of mining exploration for 120 years.

Dreamy Draw & Piestewa Peak
2421 E. Northern Avenue
Phoenix 602-262-7901
Opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, dirt biking, volleyball, nature study, or picnicking combine with a summit trail to Piestewa Peak—one of the city’s best-known landmarks.

Encanto Park
2605 N. 15th Avenue
Phoenix 602-261-8993
Attractions at this centrally located park include family amusements, a fitness course, a golf course, sports facilities, picnic areas, a playground, and a swimming pool. Special events add to the four-season fun.

Estrella Mountain Regional Park
14805 West Vineyard Avenue
Goodyear 623-932-3811
Attractions in this southwestern county park include picnic areas, sports fields, a golf course, and rodeo arena.

McDowell Mountain Park
15612 East Palisades Drive
Fountain Hills 480-471-0173
More than 21,000 acres of Sonoran desert provide a wealth of hiking and biking trails with exceptional mountain and valley views. Picnic ramadas are also available.

North Mountain Area
10600 N. Seventh Street
Phoenix 602-495-5458
This close-in desert mountain park bridges Central Phoenix with the Paradise Valley area in North Phoenix. Attractions include a paved mountain trail to the top of the mountain as well as sports courts, hiking and horseback riding trails, a playground, and a selection of picnic facilities.

Papago Park
Galvin Parkway & Van Buren
Phoenix 602-495-5458
The unique geological formation of “Hole In Rock” towers above 1,200 acres of desert hills and mountains. The park is brimming over with attractions that include a golf course, the Phoenix Zoo, fishing lagoons, and hiking trails.

The Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area
2439 S. Central Avenue
Phoenix 602-262-6863
Restoration of a rich riparian habitat offers five miles of trail system and four staging areas.

San Tan Mountain Regional Park
Phillips Road
Pinal County 602-506-2930
Actually located in adjacent Pinal County, this vast expanse of parkland covers more than 10, 200 acres south of Hunt Highway.

South Mountain Park/Preserve
10919 S. Central Avenue
Phoenix 602-495-5458
The world’s largest municipal park covers 16,500 acres with an amazing variety of plants, trees, and wildlife.

Usery Mountain Regional Park
3939 N. Usery Pass Road
Mesa 480-984-0032
More than 3,600 acres encourage hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.

White Tank Regional Park
13025 N. White Tank Mountain Road
Waddell 623-935-2505
Nearly 30,000 acres makes this beautiful desert mountain park the counties largest.

Desert in Bloom

The Arboretum at ASU
Arizona State University
826 E. Apache Boulevard
Tempe 480-965-6500
Encompassing the entire university campus, the arboretum is open for public viewing seven days a week from dawn to dusk.

Boyce Thompson Arboretum
37615 U.S. Hwy 60
Superior 520-689-2811
Along Highway 60 lies Arizona’s oldest and largest botanical garden. Fall foliage at the arboretum is considered to be some of the most colorful in Arizona.

Desert Botanical Garden
1201 N. Galvin Parkway
Phoenix 480-941-1225
Boasting one of the largest collections of desert plants in the world, “The Garden” serves as an important national research and education center. Musical entertainment and many other special events fill the year’s calendar with exciting dates.

Mesa Community College Rose Garden
1833 W. Southern Avenue
Mesa 480-461-7000
More than 5,000 brilliant blooms make this Arizona’s premier rose garden and one of the largest in the Southwest.

Arizona Lakes
Arizona claims more than 65 natural and man-made lakes, the largest group being the six reservoirs in Tonto National Forest. These bodies of water—Apache Lake, Bartlett Reservoir, Canyon Lake, Horseshoe Reservoir, Roosevelt Lake, and Saguaro Lakes—as well as the Verde and Salt Rivers are easily accessible to Phoenix area water-sport enthusiasts. Other water attractions close to home include Lake Pleasant and Tempe Town Lake. The vast water playground of Lake Mead lies just inside the Nevada border, while Lake Powell in northern Arizona and the southwestern Lake Havasu are additional points of pride.

Lake Havasu

Lake Mead

Lake Pleasant

Lake Powell

Tempe Town Lake

Tonto National Forest Lakes

Day Trips & Getaways
Few states can claim the sheer diversity of topography and natural environments that have made Arizona such a popular tourist destination for worldwide visitors. From the wonder of the Grand Canyon to exquisite formations in the Kartchner Caverns or the towering beauty of the White Mountains, every direction you travel from the Valley of the Sun offers spectacular sights and fresh new experiences. For more information on Arizona treasures, contact the state office of tourism:

Arizona Office of Tourism

North of Phoenix

Camp Verde
Steeped in history and rural atmosphere, Camp Verde offers everything from Anasazi Indian ruins to the original Fort Verde.

Home to Northern Arizona University, this alpine community at the foothills of the San Francisco Peaks offers four-season sports activity and first-rate attractions.

The first Territorial Capital for Arizona is rich in historic attractions, amusements, four-season recreation, and the natural beauty of Prescott National Forest.

Sedona & Oak Creek Canyon
Red rock splendor, resorts and boutiques, fine art galleries and artist studios, and the breathtaking beauty of Oak Creek Canyon are just a few of the attractions that draw millions of visitors each year. Warm summer months are ideal for enjoying a cool dip in the creek at Slide Rock State Park.

East of Phoenix

Payson & Rim Country
The town of Payson anchors the attractions and communities that dot the Mogollon Rim region of Apache Sitgreaves National Forest, a natural playground filled with sparkling lakes and panoramic hiking trails.

White Mountains
Incredibly beautiful rim and alpine country offers some of the finest outdoor adventures in Arizona, including skiing, hiking, horseback riding, fishing, and pure relaxation under the shade of tall pines.

South of Phoenix

Nestled in scenic, 5,300-foot mountains in southeastern Arizona, the historic mining town of Bisbee offers many sites and tours, charming boutiques, fine arts, and other tourist attractions.

Colossal Cave Mountain Park
Deep under the Rincon Mountains outside Tucson, these caverns invite exploration by adventurers in the comfort of a year-round 72-degree environment. Hike and picnic in the surrounding mountain park.

Kitt Peak National Observatory
Featuring the world’s largest collection of optical telescopes operated under some of the finest night skies in the world, Kitt Peak is just 56 miles southwest of Tucson.

Mission San Xavier Del Bac
The finest example of mission architecture in the nation is famous as “The White Dove of the Desert.” One of the most photographed sites in Arizona, this active mission offers a gift shop and invites visitors to stop by the exquisitely embellished chapel.

Mount Lemmon & Ski Valley
With alpine temperatures that are generally 30 degrees cooler than those in neighboring Tucson, this Catalina Mountain attraction in the Coronado National Forest offers trails, five biological life zones, camp sites and picnic grounds, and a trout lake.

Sabino Canyon
Catalina Foothills
Tucson 520-749-2861
Just northeast of Tucson, visitors can picnic amid cottonwood and sycamore trees by a quiet stream or hike and bike the lush terrain in this area closed to automobiles.

Tombstone & the OK Corral
Once larger than San Francisco, “The Town that Wouldn’t Die” was notorious for wild saloons, wicked gambling houses, Boot Hill graveyard, and the Earp-Clayton shootout.

Mexico Tourism
Arizona’s location as one of the states that borders Mexico has further encouraged the development of popular tourist attractions in neighboring Sonora, Mexico. The sleepy small village of Puerto Penasco or “Rocky Point” has long served as one of the Southwest’s most popular vacation destinations. Dubbed “Arizona’s Beach,” this beautiful stretch of pristine beaches and great shrimp delicacies is only 66 miles from the Arizona/Mexico border. The area enjoys an idyllic, serene location on the Sonora coast near the top of the Sea of Cortes on the lovely Gulf of California. Restaurants, night spots, hotels, beach campsites, bungalows, and vacation homes dot today’s beachfront. Popular activities include fishing, winter whale-watching, quad-riding, sailing, scuba diving, snorkeling, and sky-diving.

Directly south of Metropolitan Phoenix past Tucson and Pima County lies Santa Cruz County, home to Nogales, Arizona. Many are familiar with this destination for its easy access to the charming curio shops across the border in Nogales, Mexico. Most visitors prefer to park in Arizona and walk across the border into Mexico for a day’s shopping and bartering or the delight of authentic Mexican cuisine. Americans can travel in the “border zone” up to 12 miles into Mexico without having a tourist permit or a vehicle permit. More information on these Mexican vacation sites can be obtained from:

Rocky Point Tourism

Nogales-Santa Cruz County Chamber of Commerce
Nogales, AZ 520-287-3685
Customs Info 520-885-0694

Intercultural Center for Study of Deserts & Oceans
Puerto Peñasco, Sonora
Tucson, AZ 520-320-5473

Know & Enjoy Mexico
Online Tourism Information

Parks & Recreation Contacts

City of Chandler

City of Gilbert

City of Glendale

City of Mesa

City of Peoria

City of Phoenix

City of Scottsdale

City of Tempe

Maricopa County

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