Nothing can prepare you for the beauty of the Grand Canyon, but once you’ve witnessed this spectacular sight in all its glory, don’t neglect to explore the rest of the area. Thrilling adventures await you just on the outskirts of this huge 277 mile long chasm, proving there’s a lot more to this state than meets the eye. From mountain biking in Prescott to kayaking in Watson Lake Park, embrace your wild side in Arizona and try one of these amazing outdoor activities.
Try Out The Watersports At Lake Pleasant
Lake Pleasant, just north of Phoenix, is a haven for those who love watersports. As the largest lake in the Phoenix and Scottsdale area, you’d be a fool not to try one of the many activities on offer. Whether you’re strapping on those water skis or trying the thrilling activity of wakesurfing, you’re guaranteed to have a blast as you glide across the 10,000 acres of pristine waters. If you have the urge to get out of the water, go for a hike and explore the stunning 116 mile shoreline as there’s chance you might see Arizona Bobcats and Wild Burros on your trek.
Kayak Watson Lake Park
As you approach Watson Lake Park, you will be greeted by the astounding beauty of its huge almost alien-like granite rock formations. Grab a kayak and paddle along the tranquil, peaceful lake where you’ll find a range of dramatic, rippled formations, as well as an abundance of rock pools and mangroves just waiting to be explored. Dock your boat and explore the majestic landscape on foot and witness the variety of birds which call this place home.
Explore the Iconic Red Rock Canyon State Park
It’s no surprise that Red Rock Canyon State Park is one of the most photographed landmarks in Sedona. With its vivid red rock formations, distinctive buttes and striking desert cliffs, this dramatic and diverse landscape is utterly fascinating. Hike one of the many trails that wind through this magnificent geological formation, where you’ll discover spectacular sandstone peaks and walls protruding from lush green meadows. Amongst the stunning rock formations, keep an eye out for the variety of wildlife which inhabit this area including roadrunners, hawks, deer and lizards.
Tackle a Treetop Obstacle Course
Unleash your inner adventurer and explore Fort Tuthill County Park high up in the trees at Arizona’s only adventure and zip line course. Satisfy your hunger for adrenaline by flying through the woodlands via ziplines, darting across wobbly suspended bridges and clambering up cargo nets. As you nervously work your way through the high wire course, the only thing keeping you from falling to the ground is a safety clip. But don’t worry it’s completely safe, and you’ll be rewarded with fantastic views of the park’s natural beauty as you climb up further into the tree canopy.
Bike Around the Rim of the Grand Canyon
Unless you’ve got several weeks, you won’t see much of the Grand Canyon just by hiking. One of the best ways to explore the impressive geological features of this iconic canyon is on two wheels, so make sure you hire out a bike when you’re there. Get yourself away from the camera clicking tourists and experience some of the grandest and most breathtaking views on the South Rim by taking the scenic Hermit Road route. Along the designated paths expect to recover your jaw off the floor as you witness one of the most sweeping vistas of the canyon. For now this stunning trail is still relatively unknown, but you better get yourself here quick, as it won’t remain a secret for long.
Ride an ATV Through the Sonoran Desert
Get onboard a TomCar ATV and drive deep into the amazing Sonoran Desert where you’ll be surrounded by gorgeous mountain scenery and ancient indian ruins. Be prepared for a surprisingly smooth ride as you explore the rugged, sandy terrain and see the magnificent wildlife scurrying nearby. Thankfully there’s no chance of you getting lost, as a knowledgeable guide will accompany you on the tour to navigate you along the trail.
Go Mountain Biking in Prescott
Once you’ve tackled a bike ride round the Grand Canyon, head on over to the northern Arizona town of Prescott, for a thrilling variety of bike trails. This relatively small area is home to a staggering 250 miles of trails that range from gentle downhill slopes to a rugged cross country terrain. Amongst the most challenging but rewarding paths are the Willow Dells Slickrock Trails which circle the fantastically surreal Granite Dells. But if you’re seeking a smoother, more relaxed route, try out the flat and wide Peavine trail which provides outstanding views of the best of Prescott.
If you want to take your adventurous activities to a higher level, then climb aboard a plane to enjoy the thrill of skydiving. With its incredibly warm climate and practically clear skies, many hardcore skydivers favor desert jumps between Tucson and Phoenix. Whether you're a first timer going on a tandem skydive or a long-time frequenter of the sky, be prepared for the ultimate adrenaline rush as you enjoy an unforgettable experience.
Take a Dip in the Verde Hot Springs
Take a step back from the chaotic outdoor activities and seek out relaxation at the amazing Verde Hot Springs. Originally part of a hotel carved into a mountain, these two fantastic pools continued to burble away after the hotel burned down in the 60’s. Part of the adventure of these wonderful springs is actually getting there, as the trail involves crossing the scenic Verde River. Take a soak in the large outdoor pool to be rewarded with views of the river and valley, before making your way to the smaller and warmer pool where you’ll find yourself surrounded by psychedelic paintings. Be aware that this is often a popular spot for nudists, so don’t be alarmed when you see people walking round with no clothes on.
Hike the Chiricahua National Monument
Discover a maze of striking volcanic rocks at the Chiricahua National Monument. This astonishing area among the Chiricahua Mountains was formed 27 million years ago after an immense volcanic eruption. White hot ash was spewed out all over the ground which eventually cooled and hardened into volcanic rock. Over time, this rock naturally eroded into the beautifully dramatic pinnacles and spires we see today. If you ever find yourself in this part of Arizona, make sure you clamber up to Massai Point for the best sweeping views of the monument.