In 2017, I took two Minnesotans on a tour of Arizona. On our three-day tour, not once were we in the desert. Less than half of Arizona is desert, and I want you to keep that in mind for my list of Top 5 Favorite Arizona Getaways.
5. Flagstaff Extreme – Flagstaff Extreme is a zip line and ropes obstacle course just south of Flagstaff, Ariz. off the I-17. The course is self-guided with different tiers of difficulty but doable for just about anybody. I personally love zip lining and trying daring obstacles and a little fear. But don’t worry, you’re always connected to a safety cable, just make sure to bring gloves!
4. Hiking the Grand Canyon – This is cliche, I know, but hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and camping is one of my most memorable experiences of my life. Not just Havasu Falls, but the small stuff, like fry bread. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re missing out.
3. Northern Arizona Scenic Drives – There are two drives, in particular, I’m talking about that I would go out of my way to drive again. The first drive, the Salt River Canyon Scenic Drive on the way back down to Phoenix from Show Low/Pinetop. It’s a slow drive, but one of my fondest memories is my Grandma Helen calling anybody a “chicken“ who avoids the Salt River Canyon. The second drive is the 89A from Flagstaff to Sedona. This is my favorite drive in Northern Arizona that takes you through the red rocks of Sedona. I’ve been actually dying to ride my bike through the 24-mile drive into Sedona, and I get chills just thinking about the gorgeous winding roads through the red rocks. It’s a short drive, but well worth the mileage.
2. Mt. Lemmon – I wanted to put Mt. Lemmon in Tucson under “scenic drives“ but the top of the mountain is a destination all its own. I’ve actually ridden my bike up the grueling 27 miles to the summit, and I was smiling through the pain. The landscape gradually changes from desert to forest and, if you’re lucky, it’ll be raining at the summit. There are restaurants, campgrounds and fantastic hiking trails. Below is a picture of me and my brother-in-law, Rob, halfway up Mt. Lemmon on our bikes.
1. Sedona – I’m a sucker for Sedona. I’ve been too many times to count but every time I go it’s like I haven’t been in years. I’m in love with the red rocks, and the more vortexes the better! Growing up my family and I used to go to Sedona every summer for a family tennis tournament. And, not to brag, but my brother, Andrew, I won the Brother-Brother tournament in the final year of the tournament. The tennis club has since been closed, making us the Sedona brother-brother champions for the rest of time. So maybe that’s why I love Sedona. Below is a pic of me and my wife, Sierra, hiking in Sedona with our pups.
After taking my buddies from Minnesota throughout Northern AZ they couldn’t believe how short the drive was to all these places in Arizona. Just an hour and a half to Sedona, two to Flagstaff and Tucson, and 4 hours to one of the most amazing natural wonders in the world. All the while taking the scenic drives.