26 Things to Do Outdoors in Phoenix and Arizona

by | Jul 14, 2023 | Food & Things to Do

Welcome to Arizona, a state renowned for its diverse landscapes and vibrant outdoor scene. A veritable paradise for fitness enthusiasts and adventure-seekers, Arizona's natural playground invites you to immerse yourself in an active lifestyle while enjoying some of the most stunning sceneries in the United States.

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From the sun-kissed Sonoran Desert to the majestic Grand Canyon, Arizona’s wide range of geographical features set the stage for an array of outdoor activities. Whether it’s hiking, biking, river rafting, or wildlife viewing, there’s something for every adventurer in this enchanting state.

Arizona’s climate, characterized by warm summers, mild winters, and over 300 days of sunshine a year, allows for year-round outdoor adventures. This consistent weather makes it ideal for planning your next trek, camping expedition, or river adventure without worrying about the season.

Embarking on an outdoor adventure in Arizona brings you face-to-face with nature’s marvels and helps boost your physical fitness and well-being. Let’s dive in and explore the many outdoor activities that await you in the Grand Canyon State.

Check out 26 things to do outdoors in and around Phoenix and Arizona:

Hiking and Mountain Climbing in Arizona

Tie up those hiking boots and ready yourself for an experience unlike any other. Arizona’s diverse landscapes offer trails and climb for every level of outdoor enthusiast. Each path provides a unique encounter with nature and a chance to enhance your physical fitness while feeding your sense of adventure.

1. Hiking the Grand Canyon: What You Need to Know

The Grand Canyon, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, provides hiking opportunities that are just as impressive as its vast landscapes. Whether you’re taking on the challenging Bright Angel Trail or opting for the scenic South Kaibab Trail, every step you take is a step toward greater strength and endurance.

2. Exploring Sedona’s Red Rock Trails

Sedona’s red rock formations provide a stunning backdrop for an unforgettable hike. The trails here weave through a tapestry of red and orange landscapes, offering awe-inspiring views that are sure to motivate you to keep pushing forward.

3. Hiking Mount Humphreys: A High Altitude Adventure

For those seeking a truly high-altitude challenge, look no further than Mount Humphreys. The tallest peak in Arizona, Mount Humphreys, offers a strenuous hike that rewards your efforts with panoramic views from the summit.

4. Climb Arizona’s Top Climbs

For the vertically inclined, Arizona’s rock formations are a climber’s paradise. Locations like Queen Creek Canyon and Jacks Canyon offer climbs for various skill levels, each providing a different challenge to overcome.

Tips and Precautions for Climbing in Arizona

Safety should always be a top priority. Ensure you’re equipped with the right gear, check the weather before you head out, and always let someone know your plans. Your safety ensures many more adventures in the future.

So, what are you waiting for? Take the first step, and embark on a hiking or climbing adventure that will push your fitness boundaries while letting you bask in the beauty of Arizona’s outdoors.

Arizona’s River and Wilderness Adventures

Beyond its mountains and deserts, Arizona’s rich river systems and expansive wilderness provide another layer of adventure. These diverse environments set the stage for invigorating activities that allow you to connect with nature while achieving a full-body workout.

5. Rafting the Colorado River

For those seeking a pulse-pounding experience, the Colorado River’s white water rapids offer an adrenaline-fueled adventure. Whitewater rafting isn’t just thrilling; it’s also a great way to build upper body strength and improve cardiovascular health.

6. Kayaking in Salt River

If you prefer a calmer water experience, kayaking in the Salt River provides a peaceful yet invigorating workout. As you paddle along, you can soak in the tranquil scenery and might even encounter wild horses that roam the riverbanks.

7. Camping in the Petrified Forest National Park

Camping in Arizona is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. Petrified Forest National Park, with its ancient, crystalized trees and stunning painted desert landscapes, provides a unique camping experience. Not only is camping an adventure in itself, but it also offers a host of accompanying physical activities, such as hiking and wildlife viewing.

8. Wilderness Camping in Saguaro National Park

For a different kind of wilderness experience, Saguaro National Park offers camping opportunities amidst towering cactus plants that dot the landscape. The park is perfect for night hikes and stargazing – activities that inspire a sense of wonder while also keeping you active.

Whether you choose to brave the rapids, kayak in peaceful waters, or camp under the stars, Arizona’s river and wilderness adventures provide an excellent platform to boost your fitness while embracing the great outdoors.

Arizona’s Unique Wildlife: Bird Watching and Fishing Adventures

While Arizona is famous for its action-packed outdoor adventures, it also offers serene activities that promote mindfulness and stress relief, enhancing overall wellness. Bird watching and fishing allow you to engage with the environment in a more relaxed but equally captivating way.

9. Bird Watching in the Sonoran Desert

Home to over 350 bird species, the Sonoran Desert is a bird watcher’s paradise. From the tiny hummingbirds to the large hawks and owls, observing these creatures in their natural habitat is an experience of tranquility and awe. This activity, while gentle, promotes physical movement and mental relaxation.

10. The Best Spots for Bird Lovers in Arizona

Beyond the desert, spots like the Ramsey Canyon Preserve and Patagonia Lake State Park offer additional bird watching opportunities. So, grab your binoculars and let the bird songs guide you through these beautiful landscapes.

11. Trout Fishing in the White Mountains

Fishing combines the joy of being outdoors with the satisfaction of a catch. The White Mountains region, known for its clear, cold waters, is perfect for trout fishing. This serene activity improves patience, concentration, and even physical strength.

12. Urban Fishing in Arizona’s City Parks

For those in the heart of Arizona’s bustling cities, urban fishing offers a quick escape into nature. Lakes in various city parks are regularly stocked with fish, providing an easy and convenient way to enjoy this leisurely outdoor activity.

By engaging in these slower-paced activities, you’re not just exploring Arizona’s diverse wildlife but also fostering a deeper connection with nature, promoting mental wellness, and enhancing your physical fitness.

Arizona’s Thrilling Land Adventures: Biking and Horseback Riding

In Arizona, adventure is always just around the corner. Whether it’s biking through the desert or horseback riding in the wilderness, these activities offer a fun and engaging way to improve your physical fitness while satisfying your thirst for adventure.

13. Mountain Biking in the Sonoran Desert

Riding a bike isn’t just for the city streets. The Sonoran Desert offers mountain biking trails that cater to all skill levels, from novice riders to seasoned pros. As you pedal against the terrain, you improve your cardiovascular health and build strength.

14. Road Cycling Routes in Arizona

If smooth tarmac is more your style, Arizona’s scenic roads won’t disappoint. With routes that offer stunning views of the landscape, road cycling is a great way to cover large distances while giving your body a complete workout.

15. Horseback Riding in Monument Valley

Experience Arizona’s landscape from a different perspective—horseback. Monument Valley offers guided horseback tours that take you through its iconic, towering rock formations. This activity gives you a unique vantage point and engages your core muscles for balance.

16. Equestrian Adventures in Arizona’s National Forests

National forests like Coconino and Apache-Sitgreaves offer horseback riding trails amidst lush, green landscapes. As you navigate through these trails, you’re not just burning calories but also enhancing your coordination skills.

Whether you’re in the saddle or on the pedals, these land adventures provide an exhilarating experience while boosting your physical fitness levels. They’re proof that in Arizona, keeping fit can be a thrilling adventure in itself.

Embracing Arizona’s Winter Sports and Cave Exploration

Arizona’s landscape is not just about sunny desert vistas and river adventures. The state also offers snowy peaks perfect for winter sports, and mysterious underground caves waiting to be explored. These activities offer unique ways to stay active and fit while feeding your sense of adventure.

17. Skiing and Snowboarding in Flagstaff

Snow in Arizona? Absolutely! Flagstaff, home to the Arizona Snowbowl, provides perfect slopes for skiing and snowboarding. These activities provide an intense workout, improving your balance, core strength, and leg power.

18. Cross-country Skiing in the White Mountains

If you’re into endurance sports, cross-country skiing in the White Mountains offers a great cardio workout. The serene, snowy landscape provides a beautiful backdrop for this engaging fitness activity.

19. Kartchner Caverns State Park

Now, let’s switch gears and head underground. Exploring the Kartchner Caverns lets you walk through an incredible subterranean world. Cave exploration, or spelunking, is a full-body workout that challenges your strength and flexibility.

20. Visit Grand Canyon Caverns

More underground adventures await at the Grand Canyon Caverns. Here, you can embark on guided tours to marvel at the spectacular rock formations and ancient fossils while giving your muscles a good workout.

Whether you’re swooshing down a snowy slope or carefully navigating through an ancient cave, these unique Arizona experiences will elevate your fitness and provide unforgettable memories of adventure.

Arizona’s Stargazing and Wildlife Spotting: Connecting with Nature

There’s more to Arizona’s outdoor scene than adrenaline-rushing activities. Taking the time to appreciate the state’s natural beauty — from its dark, star-filled skies to its rich wildlife — not only strengthens your connection with nature, but also promotes mental wellness.

21. The Dark Skies of Flagstaff: An Astronomer’s Haven

Stargazing in Flagstaff, known as the world’s first “Dark Sky City,” is an experience like no other. As you lay back and marvel at the vastness of the universe, you’ll find tranquility and perhaps a newfound appreciation for our place in the cosmos.

22. Stargazing Events and Festivals in Arizona

There are plenty of events and festivals dedicated to astronomy in Arizona, where experts and enthusiasts come together to observe celestial bodies. These events offer not just learning opportunities, but also a sense of community with fellow stargazers.

23. Wildlife Spotting in the Sonoran Desert

Turn your attention earthward to witness Arizona’s impressive array of wildlife. Spotting unique creatures in their natural habitat, such as the Gila Monster or the Saguaro Cactus Wren, is a fun and relaxing way to engage with nature.

24. Watching for the Unique Creatures of Arizona’s Ecosystems

Venture into Arizona’s various ecosystems, from wetlands to forests, to discover diverse wildlife. Keep an eye out for rare species like the Apache trout or the Mount Graham Red Squirrel for a truly unique experience.

Whether you’re observing the stars or watching wildlife, these activities offer a way to stay physically active while enhancing your mental wellbeing and fostering a deeper respect for nature.

Guided Tours and Safaris: Explore Arizona Like Never Before

Whether you’re a local or a visitor, Arizona’s guided tours and safaris offer a different way to experience the state’s breathtaking landscapes and wildlife. These organized excursions provide a rich learning experience and involve walking, hiking, and other physical activities that contribute to fitness.

25. Guided Safari Tours in Out of Africa Wildlife Park

Get up close and personal with wildlife at the Out of Africa Wildlife Park. Here, guided safari tours let you witness a range of animals from all over the world, while giving you a good walk around the park.

26. Jeep Tours in Sedona

If you prefer motor-powered adventure, Sedona’s jeep tours offer an exhilarating ride through the city’s stunning red rock formations. Between the rides, there are stops that allow for exploration and photo ops, giving you a light but beneficial physical activity.

These guided tours and safaris offer a unique way to see Arizona. They blend education, adventure, and fitness into one memorable experience. Who said keeping fit can’t be fun and educational?

Tips for Responsible Outdoor Adventures in Arizona

While the adventures and physical activities are exhilarating, it’s equally important to remember our responsibility towards nature and our own safety. Here are some key pointers to ensure a responsible, safe, and enjoyable outdoor adventure in Arizona.

Protecting Arizona’s Environment: Leave No Trace Principles

When enjoying outdoor activities, always remember to “leave no trace.” This means carrying out any trash you bring in, respecting wildlife, and avoiding damage to natural resources.

Dealing with Arizona’s Climate: Hydration, Sun Protection, and More

Arizona’s climate can be extreme. Hydrate frequently, use sun protection, dress appropriately for the weather, and know the signs of heat stroke and hypothermia.

Essential Gear for Outdoor Activities in Arizona

Having the right gear can make your outdoor activities safer and more enjoyable. Always pack essentials like a map, compass, first-aid kit, multi-tool, headlamp, sun protection, and adequate food and water.

Safety Measures and Emergency Contacts in Arizona

Be aware of potential dangers in the outdoors. Know what to do in case of encounters with wildlife, and have emergency contacts at hand.

Adventures are about fun, fitness, and fond memories, but they should also respect nature and prioritize safety. With these responsible practices, you can ensure your outdoor adventures in Arizona are unforgettable for all the right reasons.

Luxury in the Desert: The Scottsdale Experience
Luxury in the Desert: The Scottsdale Experience

Welcome to Scottsdale, Arizona, a sun-soaked city that’s come to be known as the desert’s oasis of luxury. Positioned on the eastern fringe of Maricopa County, Scottsdale is hailed as the West’s Most Western Town, but don’t let the cowboy moniker fool you. This city has mastered the art of luxury living, expertly combining the rugged charm of the Old West with contemporary opulence.

Understanding Mortgage Options in Arizona: Your Ultimate Guide
Understanding Mortgage Options in Arizona: Your Ultimate Guide

Welcome to the Arizona housing market—a landscape as diverse and exciting as the state itself. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or seasoned investor, understanding your mortgage options is key to making your Arizona dream home a reality. But don’t be daunted by the maze of mortgage terminology and processes; we’re here to guide you through. From the ins and outs of different mortgage types to the specifics of Arizona’s home buying programs, this comprehensive guide will equip you with the knowledge you need to navigate the mortgage process with confidence. Let’s start your journey to homeownership in the Grand Canyon State.

Landscaping in the Valley of the Sun and Arizona
Landscaping in the Valley of the Sun and Arizona

In the Valley of the Sun, the stunning desert landscape meets a vibrant urban life. In Phoenix and its surrounding cities, the outdoors isn’t just a location—it’s a way of life. With over 300 sun-drenched days each year, creating an inviting outdoor living space is more than just a home improvement project; it’s an opportunity to extend your living area, entertain guests, and fully embrace Arizona’s unique beauty and climate. Whether you’re a local, a traveler, or considering a relocation, our ultimate guide will help you design, implement, and enjoy your dream outdoor living space right here in Phoenix and Arizona. From savvy landscaping tips to cool entertainment ideas, let’s dive in and start turning your backyard into a personal desert oasis.

Checklists for Living Well in Arizona
Checklists for Living Well in Arizona

Phoenix, the heart of Arizona, is a haven for wellness enthusiasts. Whether you’re a local, a traveler, or considering making our sun-kissed city your new home, Phoenix offers a unique wellness experience that sets it apart. Nestled in the tranquil beauty of the Sonoran Desert, Phoenix provides a serene backdrop for rejuvenation, making it a top destination for wellness in the U.S. From spiritual retreats in the mountain ranges to luxurious spa resorts in Scottsdale, Phoenix offers a wellness haven for everyone. So, let’s dive into the wellness opportunities that await you in Phoenix.

Phoenix Interior Design Guide
Phoenix Interior Design Guide

Welcome to our comprehensive guide to interior design in Phoenix and its surrounding areas. Whether you’re a local, a new resident, or considering a move to the Valley of the Sun, this guide is your one-stop resource for understanding the vibrant design scene in this dynamic region. From the diverse architectural styles across Phoenix, Scottsdale, and the East Valley, to the unique design considerations of living in the Arizona desert, we delve into the elements that make Phoenix’s design community truly unique. We’ll also guide you through the process of hiring an interior designer, with tips on what to look for, questions to ask, and how to make the most of your design investment. So, sit back, grab a cool drink, and join us as we explore the world of interior design in Phoenix.

Wellness Retreats and Resort Spas around Phoenix
Wellness Retreats and Resort Spas around Phoenix

The Phoenix Valley isn’t just a city known for its vibrant culture and stunning desert landscapes. It’s also a wellness destination, offering a variety of retreats designed to promote health, relaxation, and rejuvenation. From yoga studios to luxury resorts, these wellness retreats provide a range of services, including spa treatments, fitness classes, and holistic therapies. Whether you’re a local looking for a weekend getaway or a visitor seeking a wellness vacation, these wellness retreats in and around Phoenix offer something for everyone. Embark on a journey of wellness and discover the transformative power of self-care in the heart of the desert.

Your Guide to Success, Work & Business in Arizona
Your Guide to Success, Work & Business in Arizona

In the heart of the Southwest, Arizona stands as a beacon of opportunity and growth. Whether you’re a local, a traveler, or considering a move to the Grand Canyon State, our “Success & Work” section is your comprehensive guide to professional and financial triumph in Arizona. From the bustling tech startups in Phoenix to the thriving tourism industry in Sedona, Arizona offers a unique blend of opportunities that can turn your dreams of success into reality.

Unveiling the Mystique of Arizona’s Historic Missions
Unveiling the Mystique of Arizona’s Historic Missions

The awe-inspiring landscapes of Arizona are peppered with historic missions, harking back to a time when the state was a frontier of spiritual exploration and settlement. Each site is a testament to the region’s rich cultural tapestry, offering a journey through history, spirituality, and architecture.

Journey Through History at the Arizona Railway Museum in Chandler
Journey Through History at the Arizona Railway Museum in Chandler

Embark on a nostalgic journey through time at the Arizona Railway Museum in Chandler. This hidden gem offers a unique glimpse into the past, showcasing the pivotal role of railways in Arizona’s history and development. Whether you’re a train enthusiast, a history buff, or simply looking for a fun and educational outing, the Arizona Railway Museum promises a memorable experience.