Phoenix Metro Area
Lost Dutchman State Park5 miles north of Apache Junction on State Route 88
A mixture of mountains and mystery, the Lost Dutchman State Park is named after Jacob Waltz, "the Dutchman," who reportedly found a gold mine in the Superstition Mountains in the 1870s. A place of historical and legendary significance, the Lost Dutchman State Park is perfect for hikers and picnickers alike. The park also contains cliff dwellings built by a number of Indian cultures. The adventurous can hike any of the park's numerous trails that range in difficulty from easy to hard. For those just looking to relax and take in the sights, the park provides campgrounds and picnic areas. A visitors center sells maps and publications.
Information: 480-982-4485; www.pr.state.az.us/Parks/parkhtml/dutchman.html
McFarland State Historic ParkWest of State Route 79 at Main and Ruggles streets in Florence
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the park's two-story building was constructed by hand in 1878 with native materials, including adobe bricks, river rocks and lumber hauled by wagon from Northern Arizona. The building served many roles in the history of Florence, including sheriff's office, jailhouse, hospital, judge's chambers and jury room, as well as being the first Pinal County Courthouse. The park has guided walking tours, by appointment, of historic downtown Florence, as well as an exhibit and video presentation on prisoners of war and archived government documents from Arizona's Territorial days.
Information: 520- 868-5216; www.pr.state.az.us/parkhtml/mcfarland.html
Phoenix Art Museum1625 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix
The Southwest's premier visual arts venue offers a world-class collection of more than 18,000 works by American, Asian, European, Latin American, African and Western American artists. The museum also features traveling exhibitions with works by such renowned artists as Rembrandt, Norman Rockwell, Annie Leibowitz, Monet and many others. Festivals, live performances, art films and educational programs are offered throughout the year.
Information: 602-257-1222; www.phxart.org
Don't miss your opportunity to experience the most scenic track in the NASCAR circuit at ZOOMTOWN, U.S.A.® Phoenix International Raceway. Experience speeds of more than 100 m.p.h. by driver favorites including Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on Sunday, Nov. 10. [more]
Information: 866-408-RACE; www.phoenixraceway.com
Phoenix Zoo455 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix
Home to more than 1,200 animals, the Phoenix Zoo offers everything from elephants and giraffes to macaws and meerkats, as well as a trail dedicated to Arizona wildlife. Animal encounters, keepers' talks and feeding-time shows are scheduled daily, and overnight camping activities are held. Food, strollers, wheelchairs and a gift shop are available.
Information: 602-273-1341; www.phoenixzoo.org/zoo/location
Pioneer Arizona Living History MuseumInterstate 17 to Exit 225, 1 mile north of Carefree Highway; 3901 W. Pioneer Road, Phoenix
This replication of an 1880s Arizona village gives visitors a chance to see what it was like to live in Arizona's Territorial days. Amenities include 30 original and reproduction buildings to explore, among them an opera house, cabin, working blacksmith's shop, dress shop, sheriff's office, jail and more. Museum staff members dress in traditional Old West clothing and teach visitors about life in Arizona Territory. Guided tours are available.
Information: 623- 465-1052; www.pioneer-arizona.com/index.htm
Pueblo Grande Museum4619 E. Washington St., Phoenix
Located at the ruins of a 1,500-year-old Hohokam village, the museum allows exploration of an 800-year-old platform mound built by the Hohokam, as well as an excavated ball court and some of the last remaining canals built by the ancient culture. The museum has exhibits displaying Hohokam life and a full-scale reproduction of Indian houses along a trail. The museum shop sells Indian jewelry, pottery, books, music and other souvenirs.
Information: 602-495-0900; www.ci.phoenix.az.us/PARKS/pueblo.html
Spur Cross Ranch Conservation AreaAt the intersection of Cave Creek Road and Carefree Hwy., go north on Cave Creek Road for 3 miles to Spur Cross Road and turn north. Go 4.5 miles until you reach the public parking area. Be advised that after 3 miles the road turns to an all-weather graded surface.
Open 365 days a year, the conservation area covers 2,154 acres of upper Sonoran Desert where visitors can enjoy more than 7 miles of hiking, mountain biking and equestrian trails. The trails vary in length from 1.2 miles to 4.6 miles, and some are more difficult than others. Look at the park's schedule for upcoming events that include park ranger interpretive talks about plants, archaeology and the ecology of the Sonoran Desert.
Information: 480-488-6601; www.maricopa.gov/parks/spur_cross
Superstition Mountain Museum4087 N. Apache Trail, 3.5 miles northeast of Apache Junction on State 88
From the geological, natural and Native American history in the Superstitions, to the mining and military history, the Superstition Mountain Museum tells all about the mysteries and myths surrounding its 160,000-acre namesake range. Enjoy unique exhibits and an extensive bookstore.
Information: 480-983-4888; www.superstitionmountainmuseum.org
Theodore Roosevelt Dam80 miles east of Phoenix on State 88
Upon completion in 1911, this former National Historic Landmark was the world's largest masonry dam. The uppermost of four dams on the Salt River, it was built for the purpose of generating power and named for President Theodore Roosevelt who was instrumental in the Federal Reclamation Act of 1902. Eventually, the unique structure and its grandeur fell victim to technology and time. In 1999, after massive reconstruction, it lost its landmark status. The original structure still exists but is buried beneath seven years of modifications and 440,000 cubic yards of concrete. The dam is not open to the public, but there is an overlook. Information about the dam is available at the Roosevelt Lake Visitor Center, just 2 miles from the dam on State Route 188.
Information: 928-467-3200; www.nps.gov/tont/culture/roosevelt.htm
Theodore Roosevelt Lake80 miles east of Phoenix on State Route 88
Created by Roosevelt Dam in 1911, Roosevelt Lake was once the largest man-made lake in the world. With 89 miles of shoreline for camping and exploring, the lake is a haven providing ample opportunity for boating, swimming, fishing or simply enjoying the scenery. A visitors center is located near the lake, and various watercraft can be rented from the Lake Roosevelt Marina.
Information: 928-467-3200; www.nps.gov/tont/culture/roosevelt.htm
Tortilla Flat17 miles northeast of Apache Junction on State 88
Tortilla Flat features the only authentic surviving stagecoach stop on the Apache Trail. Though the town is small (population: 6), its residents serve up big helpings of Old West folklore and food for the whole family. Top off your visit with a cool cone of prickly pear ice cream at the Old Time Ice Cream & General Store or see where the bucks stop in a saddle-style seat at the Superstition Saloon, whose walls are papered with currency from around the world.
Information: 480-984-1776; www.tortillaflataz.com
Usery Mountain Regional Park4 miles west of Apache Junction and 5 miles north of U.S. Route 60 on Ellsworth Road
The lower Sonoran Desert park offers more than 3,600 acres of recreational opportunities including camping, hiking, picnicking, horseback- and mountain-bike riding. Other amenities include a six-course archery range with 4 miles of trail and various educational presentations and hikes.
Information: 480-984-0032; www.maricopa.gov/parks/usery/default.asp
Rim Country Museum700 Green Valley Parkway, Payson
The two-story Rim Country Museum provides visitors with a glimpse into the history of Payson and the lives of forest rangers, local pioneers and Indians who lived in the area in the past. On display are artifacts, exhibits and historic buildings. In addition, the museum maintains a gift shop that sells books, shirts and curios related to the area's history.
Information: 928-474-3483; www.rimcountrymuseums.org
Strawberry SchoolhouseFossil Creek Road, about 1.75 miles west of State Route 87 in Strawberry
The oldest standing schoolhouse in Arizona originally opened in 1886. Today, visitors can see what it was like to attend school in Territorial Arizona in this log cabin, complete with desks, a blackboard and even a dunce's corner.
Information: 928-476-3547; www.pinestrawhs.org/schoolhouse.html
Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery25 miles northeast of Payson on Forest Road 289
One of the many fish hatcheries run by the Arizona Fish and Game Department, the Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery has a feeding pond where, for a few quarters, visitors can purchase food pellets and feed them to the trout. The hatchery also maintains a visitors center that explains how the hatchery works and overlooks tanks of water where small trout are kept until they grow larger.
Tonto National Monument4 miles southeast of Roosevelt Dam on State Route 188
In 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt set aside 640 acres of land containing significant ancient Salado ruins to be preserved as a national monument. Formerly overseen by the Forest Service and Department of Agriculture, Tonto National Monument became part of the National Park Service in 1933 and now covers 1,120 acres.
Information: 928-467-2241; www.nps.gov/tont/home.htm
Tonto Natural Bridge State ParkAbout 100 miles northeast of Phoenix on State Route 87
Thousands of years in the making, the Tonto Natural Bridge is believed to be the world's largest natural travertine (a densely compacted form of limestone) bridge. The bridge is 183 feet tall and 150 feet wide with a 400-foot-long tunnel running through its center. There are four observation points along the top of the bridge as well as a trail to the bottom.
Information: 928-476-4202; www.pr.state.az.us/Parks/parkhtml/tonto.html
Zane Grey Cabin700 Green Valley Parkway, Payson
Zane Grey used Arizona as a setting for several of his Western novels, including Under the Tonto Rim. The author spent time and wrote at his remote on the Mogollon Rim. Even though Grey left Arizona in 1929, never to return, his cabin had become a popular tourist destination. In 1990, the cabin burned in the Dude Fire. After the fire, Zane Grey artifacts were retrieved and the people of Payson decided to replicate the cabin to preserve Grey's literary legacy. Zane Grey Cabin now stands in Green Valley Park in Payson, next to the Rim Country Museum. Visitors can learn about Zane Grey and his impact on the country's Western heritage.
Information: 928- 474-6115; www.zanegreycabin.org