There are so many great destinations within Arizona! and so many places to check out if you’re just passing through. The state boasts several national forests, and the national park service manages 24 sites including the grand canyon. There’s a ton of free camping on over 12 million acres of public land. The highlands around the San Francisco peaks near flagstaff are reasonably temperature in the summer, and the low desert areas around Tucson and Phoenix have almost perfect winter weather. Activities abound for the hiker, mountain biker, and camper. With lots of interesting wildlife, javelinas, coatimundi, and ‘el jefe’, a black jaguar, are known to frequent the southern mountains. Sprawling organ pipe cactus, tall saguaros and pretty palo verde trees inhabit the lower desert regions, and aspen groves and ponderosa pines dominate in the highlands. Arizona is home to some of the most iconic western scenery, and some of the most mind blowing landscapes.
Native American history goes back to at least 15,000 years with paleo-indian hunter gatherers living in the region. Corn was being planted about 4000 years ago, along with other agriculture being developed. With this came more complex societies and cultural achievements. The ancient Hohokam people built canals from the Salt and Gila rivers and several villages. In the north the ancestral Puebloans built defensive cliff dwelling settlements. In modern times, there are 22 tribes in Arizona. Arizona is a great place to learn about native history and visit many archeological ruins.
when to visit
During the summer months the flagstaff area will be the most comfortable region. During the winter the Sonoran desert region is ideal. Spring and fall are typically dry, summer monsoons start in July and you can expect a few light rains periodically in winter..
southern Arizona comprises the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts. The very west is the Colorado desert, which is sort of a subdesert of the Sonoran. in the northwest is the mojave, and the northeast is the Navajoan, a subdesert of the great basin desert.
In southern Arizona, the land is characterized by hot low desert, acting like a sea. And Instead of long reaching mountain ranges, individual small ranges dot the desert like an archipelago. The ‘sky Islands’ are isolated mountain ranges in southeastern Arizona and northern Mexico, connecting two very different mountainous regions. Sky Islands are places where you can see incredible plant diversity in only a few miles.
where to camp
- Hackamore rd. BLM camping- nice little spot! Read my quick description and see pics! Get directions!
Where to eat
- Earth plant based cuisine – that’s the name, and probably the best vegan Sonoran style offerings available! Try the ‘crazy’ “shrimp” tacos!!
- The Coronado – vegan and very tasty, well spiced breakfast offerings plus tacos, sandwiches, coffee and pastries. Also has a bar + open late in the evening.
- Dark Hall coffee – Full on vegan coffee house with bakery goods and cakes. Dark Witchy vibes. Morning +afternoon spot.
- Descent coffee – great morning + afternoon coffee spot. Read my review.
- Jobot, songbird, + kavhe – all within one block, and jobot is open late.
- The Coronado- good for early evening coffee
where to hang
- Gracie’s tax bar – the best downtown bar I’ve found. Read about Gracie’s here!