10 big Arizona adventures from mountains to stargazing | Travel

Deciding whether to go north or south from Phoenix is ​​a challenge, but if you favor canyons over cactus wilderness, Travelbag is offering a ten-day self-drive excursion up to Flagstaff via the Grand Canyon. Begin by exploring Scottsdale’s upbeat old town and the McDowell Sonoran Preserve before three nights at the spectacular south rim of the canyon. Then wind down in the craft breweries and cooling pine forests of historic Flagstaff.
Ten nights’ B&B from £ 1,999pp, including flights and car hire (travelbag.co.uk)

Wyoming and Montana might be the best-known states for “dude ranching” – horseback experiences from the comfort of a wrangling lodge – but southern Arizona alone offers the Old West environment: treks and campfires among saguaros and starry desert night skies. The award-winning Tanque Verde Ranch provides the traditional all-inclusive Southwest package within easy reach of Tucson. You get horseback adventures, cowboy cookouts, fishing and mountain biking. Sporting Santa Fe-style architecture and traditional adobe walls, the ranch lodges are spacious yet comfy.
Full-board doubles from £ 470, including activities (tanqueverderanch.com). Fly to Tucson

3. Horseback and hiking paradise

Given Arizona’s rich diversity of mountainous, desert and forested landscapes, there’s a great deal of choice when it comes to picking an authentic ranch experience. Located 15 miles northeast of the Mexican border, Circle Z – “Arizona’s original dude ranch” – lies within the grassland plains of Santa Cruz county, and offers horse riding and roping lessons, guided hikes and nature walks, plus cottages and fireside dining.
Six nights’ full board from £ 2,153pp (circlez.com). Fly to Tucson

Tavern Hotel

4. Water to wine, Cottonwood

It can be hard to break the image of Arizona as an arid, cactus-spiked landscape, yet there are thriving wineries in the Verde River valley southwest of Sedona. Owing to cooler night temperatures and the region’s well-irrigated and fertile soils, Yavapai county (north-central Arizona) is a little-known idyll. Wine lovers can base themselves at the Tavern Hotel in Cottonwood, and undertake what could be one of the world’s greatest combos: kayaking and wine-tasting, with a vineyard-hopping package allowing you to paddle between tastings.
B&B doubles from £ 254, including Water to Wine vineyard tour (thetavernhotel.com). Fly to Flagstaff


5. Canyonlands Lodge

Between the Grand Canyon and the complex geological history exhibited at Sedona’s architectural buttes, there’s a lot to digest in red rock country. Four Season Guides, which operates from Flagstaff, has distilled the unending trail options of these two popular sites into an engaging four-day, intermediate-ability hiking itinerary: remote canyons, chaparral forests, quiet trails leading to idyllic springs and routes away from the crowds. You’ll set off from lodge accommodation, with expert guides unpicking the cultural, geological and natural history of the region.
Four nights’ full board from £ 1,607pp, including transfers (fsguides.com). Fly to Flagstaff

The Colorado River in Page

The Colorado River in Page


6. Yoga retreat, Page

While Sedona is known for its “vortexes” – natural centers of swirling energy thought to offer healing and meditative properties – spiritualism is present throughout Arizona, making it a prime location for yoga retreats. In Page, near the Utah border, St. Thomas Retreats host four-day escapes in a setting overlooking Glen Canyon Dam, Lake Powell. A relaxing itinerary mixes daily yoga sessions with excursions to Antelope Canyon and the awe-inspiring Horseshoe Bend, carved by the Colorado River as it passes beside Navajo Nation terrain.
Three nights’ full board from £ 1,642pp, including excursions and yoga (santotomasretreats.com). Fly to Page

Under Canvas at Lake Powell

Under Canvas at Lake Powell

7. Stargazer tent, Lake Powell

Low humidity and year-round clear skies make Arizona one of the best spots in the world for stargazing; all the better if you’re away from the city lights in a positively Martian desert landscape that you find on a southwestern canyon plateau. With Under Canvas, at its Lake Powell site north of Page (just over the stateline in Utah) you’re not only close to some of the region’s most remarkable natural wonders (Grand Staircase-Escalante, Horseshoe Bend), but can take in astronomical displays from a luxury Stargazer tent. This comes with a panoramic viewing window above a king-size bed, a bath, private deck and wood-burning stove.
One night’s self-catering for two from £ 410 (undercanvas.com). Fly to Page


8. Spa getaway, Tucson

On 400 acres of land in the warm shade of the Catalinas to the north of Tucson, Miraval is an inclusive destination resort and spa, offering wellness experience packages within luxury casita-style accommodation. Miraval’s Unlimited package offers healthy cuisine and a tailored itinerary of activities including yoga, meditation and wellness lectures. There’s also outback hiking and photography classes.
Five nights’ full board from £ 2,557pp, including activities (miravalarizona.com). Fly to Tucson

Route 66

9. Historic Route 66

One of the best ways to contextualize Arizona is to arrive by road along America’s most beloved highway Known as the Mother Road, Route 66 offers the iconic American road trip into the west, connecting Chicago and Los Angeles via the plains of Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle , and through the historic Arizona railroad towns of Holbrook, Winslow and Flagstaff. Drive the route yourself, or join one of Leger Holidays’ executive coach tours, which explores the heartlands via a 16-day itinerary with nights in
St Louis on the Mississippi, New Mexico’s Albuquerque and the cowboy town of Amarillo, Texas.
14 nights’ room-only from £ 3,889pp, including flights (leger.co.uk)

Superstition Mountains

Superstition Mountains


10. Superstition Mountains backpacking

The dramatic Superstition Mountains to the east of Phoenix are, as their name suggests, filled with mysterious folklore. For adventurous hikers, the Superstitions are a high-desert dreamscape, and REI Co-op has put together a three-day camping excursion. Led by expert guides and covering distances of five to seven miles a day, visitors will experience rugged peaks, narrow chasms and panoramic saguaro-studded desert views.
Two nights from £ 842pp, including some meals, guide and transfers (rei.com). Fly to Phoenix

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