Our newest book, which includes Arizona Highways iconic photography and maps, is sorted by region and is written for car-campers and families. Detailed information about accessibilty, amenities and fees is included for each campground.
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Best of AZ
Unless you're über-omniscient or an arrogant know-it-all, there's no way of putting together a definitive list of the best of everything. Especially in a place like Arizona, where the range of people, places and things is as vast as the Grand Canyon. Nevertheless, in our ongoing effort to steer you toward the state's superlatives, we present our second-annual Best of AZ package. From the beefiest bratwurst to the best place to shack up with the stars, this is our take on the best places to eat, stay and play in Arizona.
Although scuba diving is prohibited directly below Hoover Dam, the waters of Lake Mead on the Colorado River midway from the dam to the area between Willow Beach, on the Arizona side, and Eldorado Canyon, on the Nevada side, are known for their incredible clarity. There, the current reaches speeds between 3 and 12 mph — nothing too rough, but enough to get you moving. In Boulder Basin, it's possible to explore "the boulder islands," large cement tanks used during the construction of the dam. Three miles south of the dam, you'll find Ringbolt Rapids. There, the water's ... well, rapid. This area is for experienced divers only, and a hand-held buddy line and surface support boat are mandatory. Information: 702-293-8990 or www.nps.gov/lake.
Best Terraining Wheels
Arizona ATV Adventures, Phoenix, Tucson & Sedona
It's no secret that ATVs can go where passenger cars cannot — into, across and through some pretty rugged topography. Thanks to Arizona ATV Adventures, you, too, can explore some of the state's tough terrain. Guided expeditions traverse Phoenix, Sedona and Tucson, and include a certified instructor, helmets, gloves, goggles, water and snacks. Among the highlights are Box Canyon, Skeleton Bone Mountain and West Sedona Valley. Information: 800-242-6335 or www.arizonaoutdooradventures.com.
Best Reason to Relive the '80s
Mail Trail 84, Coconino National Forest
When the tiny frontier town of Union Park opened its first post office in 1884, it also got a new name — Payson. With the new post office came a need to extend the existing mail route from Camp Verde, some 50 miles east. Thus, the mail trail was born. Contractor and mail rider Ash Nebeker created the trail, which was used to run mail — as well as medicine, dry goods and whiskey — until Arizona was granted statehood in 1912. Today, it's possible to retrace the tracks of Nebeker and other mail trail riders on foot or on horseback. Be forewarned, though, Mail Trail 84 is strenuous, and there are no reliable water sources along the way. Information: 928-527-3600 or www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino/recreation.
Best Reason to Pack It Up
Llama hiking, Strawberry
Llamas are fuzzy and friendly — kind of like a hug with legs. They're also excellent pack animals, which is why Fossil Creek Llama Ranch offers guided hikes with the South American camelids. During the half-day treks, you'll travel along the Mogollon Rim, exploring Fossil Creek, a stunning natural travertine spring, as well as Indian ruins and the perimeter of Tonto National Forest. The llamas do all of the heavy lifting, so you can just kick back in your boots and enjoy the scenery. Back at the ranch, check out the petting zoo and Fossil Creek Creamery, home to artisan goat's milk cheeses and fudge. Information: 928-476-5178 or www.ranchatfossilcreek.com.
Best Excuse for Having Helmet Hair
Twisted Trailz Motorcycle Tours, Phoenix
Sure, it's easy to explore Arizona in a car or from the air, but consider exploring the state on two wheels. Twisted Trailz offers multiday motorcycle excursions that make it possible to cruise the Old West (Tombstone, Bisbee and Tucson), the Grand Canyon or the red-rock areas of Sedona. Other tours cover the Painted Desert and Monument Valley, and a weeklong adventure includes stops in Prescott, Jerome, Williams, the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff, Payson, Show Low and more. History and the wind at your back ... two great reasons to hit the road. Information: 602-795-8888 or www.twistedtrailz.com.
Best Place to Go Camping Without a Tent
Bouldering at Oak Flat Campground, Superior
At Oak Flat Campground, just 4 miles east of Superior, you'll be caught between a rock and a hard place. That is, you'll be surrounded by the rocky, rolling hills of Devil's Canyon — the perfect setting for scrambling, climbing and bouldering. In the springtime, it's also a great place to see wildflowers. The campground itself is speckled with huge, shady oak trees and is home to a variety of wildlife. Should you decide to stay the night after a day of rockin' and rollin', be sure to pack out what you pack in — there's no trash service at the site. Information: 928-402-6200 or www.fs.fed.us/r3/tonto/recreation.
Best Spot to Wade Around
Lee's Ferry is the only spot in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area where water revelers can drive straight up to the Colorado River. That's a good thing, especially if you're lugging fishing equipment. With abundant bass, crappie, walleye, channel catfish and trout populations, Lee's Ferry is a fisherman's haven, and because live bait and barbed artificial lures are prohibited, fly fishermen will feel right at home casting in the cool waters of the Colorado. Information: 928-608-6200 or www.nps.gov/glca.
Vintage CoversArizona Highways covers have changed a lot over the years, from the first black-and-white image in 1925 to today's full-color stunners. Explore their evolution in our gallery of vintage covers. ... [more]
Travel GuidesThere's so much to see and do in Arizona. Let our online travel guide be your one-stop resource for planning your next Arizona adventure... [more]