Arizona has long been celebrated for her diverse beauty, and thankful snowbirds and other visitors to Arizona’s wild places have been known to fall in love at first sight.
It only takes one drive through Oak Creek Canyon to be instilled with a sense of wonder as you gaze in awe of the red rock formations and colorful deciduous growth. Take it a step further and explore the ecosystem by immersing yourself in the beauty of Slide Rock and Red Rock state parks.
Red Rock State Park is a 286 acre nature preserve and environmental education center with stunning scenery. Trails throughout the park wind through manzanita and juniper to reach the rich banks of Oak Creek. Green meadows are framed by native vegetation and hills of red rock.
The creek meanders through the park, creating a diverse riparian habitat abounding with plants and wildlife. The park offers a visitors center, classroom, theater, park store, ramada, and hiking trails. Vivid memories will be stored and then hold potential to be recalled on a moment’s notice to inspire another trip to Arizona’s Red Rock country.
The Sonoran Desert holds a special place in the hearts of many as well, and is waiting to share beauty and revelations with those who have yet to experience the allure of this unique ecosystem. Lost Dutchman, Picacho, and Catalina state parks embody the essence of Arizona’s Sonoran deserts and will leave visitors thankful of their experience in this gorgeous slice of earth.
Named after the fabled lost gold mine, Lost Dutchman State Park is located in the Sonoran Desert, on the Apache Trail, State Route 88, north of Apache Junction and about 40 miles east of Phoenix. Several trails lead from the park into the Superstition Wilderness and surrounding Tonto National Forest. Take a stroll along the Native Plant Trail or hike the challenging Siphon Draw Trail to the top of the Flatiron.
Depending on the year’s rainfall, you might be treated to a carpet of desert wildflowers in the spring. Enjoy a week of camping and experience native wildlife including mule deer, coyote, javelin, and jackrabbit. A four mile mountain bike loop trail has opened at the park—this is a great way to enjoy the park’s beauty!
Visitors traveling along I-10 in southern Arizona can’t miss the prominent 1,500-foot peak of Picacho Peak State Park. Enjoy the view as you hike the trails that wind up the peak and, often in the spring, overlook a sea of wildflowers.
The park and surrounding area are known for its unique geological significance, outstanding and varied desert growth, and historical importance. The unique shape has been used as a landmark by travelers since prehistoric times.
Picacho Peak is not a volcanic cone, but is part of a volcanic flow that has been partially eroded away. It has long been known for its spring display of wildflowers. If rains come at the right times in the winter, the spring will bring an explosion of gold to the bajadas of the mountain that appear as a tapestry of color. The wildflowers are predominantly Mexican Gold Poppies.
The park offers a visitor center with exhibits and a park store, a playground, historical markers, a campground, and picnic areas. Many hiking trails traverse the desert landscape and offer hikers both scenic and challenging hikes. Hike prepared and know your limits. Bring plenty of food and water and wear proper footwear. Enjoy the beauty of the desert and the amazing views.
Catalina State Park sits at the base of the majestic Santa Catalina Mountains. The park is a haven for desert plants and wildlife and nearly 5,000 saguaros. The 5,500 acres of foothills, canyons, and streams invite camping, picnicking, and bird watching—more than 150 species of birds call the park home.
The park provides miles of equestrian, birding, hiking, and biking trails which wind through the park and into the Coronado National Forest at elevations near 3,000 feet. Bring along your curiosity and your sense of adventure as you take in the beautiful mountain backdrop, desert wildflowers, cacti, and wildlife.
Arizona will surprise you at every turn and Arizona State Parks are there to experience the legacy of this amazingly diverse beauty.
Newcomers to Arizona are often struck by Desert Fever.
Desert Fever is caused by the spectacular natural beauty and serenity of the area.
Early symptoms include a burning desire to make plans for the next trip “south”.
There is no apparent cure for snowbirds.