Exciting world class whitewater rafting trips through the Upper Salt River Canyon close to Phoenix and Tucson! Expect challenging whitewater with professional guides on every boat. No previous experience is required. We are proud to offer award winning service. [more...]
Information: 1-800-231-7238 or www.SaltRiverRaftingArizona.com
Apache Lake35 miles northwest of Globe on State Route 188, then turn southwest on State Route 88 along the Apache Trail for 5 miles
The second largest of the Salt River Project lakes, Apache Lake is a swathe of sparkling water formed by Horse Mesa Dam. Perfect for boating, fishing or waterskiing, the lake's dock and boat ramp are conveniently located at the Apache Lake Marina and Resort. Nature-lovers can visit the Three Bar Wildlife located on the opposite side of the lake from the marina.
Besh-Ba-Gowah Archaeological Park1100 Jesse Hayes Road in Globe
Built around the site of a sprawling Salado culture pueblo, the park has two interactive versions of ancient pueblos that visitors can explore. Visitors to Besh-Ba-Gowah can walk through the ruins of a 700-year-old Salado Indian pueblo, climb ladders to the reconstructed second story and view what life was like for these inhabitants of the Tonto Basin between A.D. 1150 and 1450. The park also has a large collection of pottery, stone tools and items, textiles and shell jewelry. Open daily 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. Contact the park for more information.
Information: 928-425-0320; www.jqjacobs.net/southwest/besh_ba_gowah.html#museum
Boyce Thompson Arboretum9 miles east of Florence Junction on U.S. 60
Founded by mining magnate William Boyce Thompson, this 320-acre park, located at the foot of Picketpost Mountain, is dedicated to preserving, fostering and displaying desert ecosystems and their inhabitants. The arboretum is the oldest and largest botanical garden in Arizona with a stunning variety of 3,200 plants, 230 birds and 72 animal species that inhabit the area and can sometimes be seen from the miles of trail that meander throughout. The park also features art exhibits, seasonal festivals and educational seminars.
Information: 520-689-2723; http://ag.arizona.edu/BTA
Desert to Tall Pines Scenic RoadSpanning 76.3 miles of State Route 288 from 15 miles northwest of Globe to State Route 260
The paved first length of the route snakes along the Salt River Mountains until, with the help of a single-lane bridge, it crosses the Salt River and begins its ascent into the majestic Sierra Ancha. From that vantage point, terrific views of Roosevelt Lake are possible. The second stretch of the road is unpaved and, on each side, wilderness abounds as you travel through the sleepy town of Young and then up the Naegelin Rim.
Gila County Historical Museum1330 N. Broad St. in Globe
The site of a rescue station between 1914 and the 1960s, the museum features several collections of Indian artifacts and furniture from Arizona's past. In addition, the museum houses an exhibit on ranching and cowboys and a myriad of photographic displays.
Information: 928-425-7385; www.globemiamichamber.com/visit.asp
Gila-Pinal Scenic RoadSpanning 26 miles of U.S. Route 60 from Phoenix to Globe
This scenic drive will take you past some of Arizona's interesting landmarks and places of legend. From the road, travelers can see the peaks of the Superstition Mountains, the rocky columns in Devil's Canyon and picturesque Queen's Creek Canyon.
The World's Smallest Museum1111 W. U.S. Highway 60, Superior
Second only to Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Superior's popular attractions, this small piece of small town claims to honor the world's extraordinary workforce by showcasing "artifacts of ordinary life" within 80 square feet of display space. Shop for jewelry, gems and hot sauce or grab some post-hike grub at adjacent Buckboard City Cafe.
Information: 520-689-5857; www.worldssmallestmuseum.com
Phoenix Metro Area
Apache Trail Historic RoadSpanning 41.5 miles of State Route 88 from Apache Junction to Theodore Roosevelt Lake
The Apache Trail Historic Road, also known as State Route 88, exemplifies the duality of Arizona as both harsh and lush in more ways than one. The route is believed to have been a migration trail for the Salado Indians and was designated a scenic historic byway in 1986. The Apache Trail offers views of the Superstition Mountain range and unique roadside attractions from Apache Junction to the Roosevelt Dam. Half of the route is paved, leisurely meandering past places such as Goldfield, a ghost town with tours and attractions and Canyon Lake. The second half of the route, however, is a wild, steep descent along a dirt road. For those who venture forward, the rewards are views of Fish Creek Canyon's stately sycamores and cottonwoods, Apache Lake and Roosevelt Lake.
Arizona Mining and Mineral Museum1502 W. Washington St., Phoenix
The museum began as a Territorial Fair exhibit in 1884. More than 3,000 minerals are exhibited, including native copper, geodes, moon rocks and a chunk of the meteorite that formed Meteor Crater near Winslow. Historic mining equipment is displayed outside. A gift shop offers books, prospecting tools, jewelry and a collection of minerals.
Information: 602-255-3795; www.admmr.state.az.us/musgen.htm
Arizona Science Center600 E. Washington St., Phoenix
The center offers more than 300 hands-on exhibits about geology, mining, weather, earth forces like gravity and magnetism, and how the body and mind work. The center has traveling exhibits, a planetarium and an IMAX theater. Science camps, outreach programs and educational services are available.
Information: 602-716-2000; www.azscience.org/home.html
Bartlett ReservoirOn I-17, drive north from Phoenix and take Carefree Highway east to Cave Creek Road; drive northeast 5 miles on Cave Creek to Bartlett Dam Road
A veritable hop-skip-and-a-jump from civilization, Bartlett Reservoir is perfect for campers and water buffs alike. Picnic areas and camping sites dot the shore around the lake, and a marina provides boat rentals and refreshments. Adding to the lake's charm, desert natives such as eagles and mule deer occasionally make appearances in the area.
Information: Tonto National Forest, Cave Creek Ranger Station, 480-595-3300; www.bartlettlake.com/index.shtml
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument10 miles west of Florence off State Route 87/287 in Coolidge
The nation's first archaeological preserve, Casa Grande Ruins was the home of the Hohokam, ancient Indian farmers who lived in the area for thousands of years. The Casa Grande, or big house, is one of the largest ancient structures built in North America. The monument offers regularly scheduled guided tours as well as interpretive programs. Bird-watching and wildlife viewing are popular activities.
Information: 520-723-3172; www.nps.gov/cagr/index.htm
Cave Creek MuseumOff Cave Creek Road at the intersection of Basin and Skyline
This museum houses historic artifacts that tell the story of the Indians, miners, ranchers and pioneers who once inhabited the Cave Creek area. See exhibits on early Hohokam life, animals of the desert, textiles and modern life. Of particular interest is a tubercular cabin, one of 16 cabins once part of a tubercular camp in the 1920s and 1930s, where victims of tuberculosis lived in isolation. The cabin became part of the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.
Information: 480-488-2764; www.cavecreekmuseum.org/index.htm
Desert Botanical Garden1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix
Internationally known for its plant collections, the Desert Botanical Garden has 50 acres of desert plant life to explore in the red buttes of Papago Park, including 139 rare, endangered or threatened plants. Amenities include guided desert trail tours, interactive exhibits, an outdoor patio cafe, and related workshops and demonstrations.
Information: 480-941-1225. www.dbg.org
Goldfield Ghost Town4 miles northeast of Apache Junction on State 88
A rich discovery of gold in 1892 lured people to the Superstition Mountains to stake their claims. Goldfield grew, and after more than $3 million in gold was drained from nearby mines, the town died. Today, this authentic Arizona ghost town offers entertainment with an Old West feel and pristine desert views. Enjoy an underground mine tour, a full-size, narrow-gauge railroad, panning for real gold, museums, a live rattlesnake exhibit, carriage rides, jeep tours, horseback riding and shopping. The town also has a steakhouse, coffee shop, ice cream parlor, campground and a (former) bordello.
Information: 480-983-0333; www.goldfieldghosttown.com
Heard Museum2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
The Heard Museum houses an expansive collection of Indian arts and has more than 35,000 pieces in its permanent collection. There are 10 exhibit galleries with art and artifacts, plus outdoor courtyards and events and festivals. The museum's bookstore offers handmade original artwork, including jewelry, pottery, paintings, sculptures, and books.
Information: 602-252-8848. www.heard.org/index.php
Lake Pleasant Regional Park33 miles north of Phoenix off State Route 74
Just 45 minutes north of downtown Phoenix, Lake Pleasant Regional Park offers visitors many recreation opportunities including boating, swimming, hiking, camping and fishing. Stop at the Lake Pleasant Visitor Center to get an overview of the park, learn about the desert critters you might run into and get a look at the Waddell Dam. Check the Web site for upcoming events, which range from fishing tournaments to a campground cook-off.
Information: 602-372-7465; www.maricopa.gov/parks/lake_pleasant