Best Arizonan adventures: Top 13 outdoor activities in Arizona

Dec 21, 2021 BY Luke Rees

Are you heading to Arizona and want to do something adventurous? Or perhaps you live there and and want to try the best Arizonan adventures? Well from hiking to biking, skydiving to skiing and rafting to ranching here are the top 13 outdoor activities in Arizona.

Best Arizonan adventures: Top 13 outdoor activities in Arizona Pixabay royalty free image of Horse Shoe Bend Grand Canyon Arizona USA

Best Arizonan adventures

Why is Arizona good for adventure?

First up, visitors to this southwest US state need to know why Arizona is good for adventure. Well as with anywhere it is all about variety and Arizona is full of contradictions. While known for hot low-elevation cacti covered desert, more than half of Arizona is above 1,200 metres (4,000 feet) where you’ll find vast swathes of pine forest.

While landlocked and famously arid, large man-made lakes in Arizona provide many miles of shoreline. At 3,851 metres (12,633 feet) Humphreys Peak in the San Francisco Mountains is the highest point and Baldy Mountain, 3,476 metres (11,403 feet), in the White Mountains is not far behind.

canyon and desert great for adventures in Arizona pixabay royalty free image

Geographically is it a very interesting place. Lots of dramatic escarpments, stunning mesas and rolling plains that make outdoor activities in Arizona both accessible and fascinating. Add in famous landmarks such as the Grand Canyon, red rocks of Sedona and the Painted Desert and you have a destination that generates plenty of  international interest.

Top 13 outdoor activities in Arizona

With such a varied geography the best Arizonan adventures are equally diverse. There is fun suitable for all ages from young kids to OAPs – you should look into legal guardianship AZ to stop your elderly relatives from blowing the inheritance on a skydiving addiction!

Whitewater rafting the Grand Canyon

Okay, lets start with the biggest most well known adventure in Arizona! Whitewater rafting the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon gives you a very different perspective to this six million year old geological wonder. With class VI rafting the Colorado is widely regarded as one of the best whitewater rafting rivers in the world and easily one of the best Arizonan adventures.

Rafting the Grand Canyon on of the best outdoor activities in Arizona flickr image by Grand Canyon NPS

Mountain biking in Prescott

You’ll find 250 miles on mountain biking trails around Prescott in northern Arizona. There is everything from easy beginner trails to extreme routes for experts. Styles range from flowing downhill, to exhausting cross-country, to technical single track. Check out the three day endurance event Whiskey Off-Road in April. As outdoor activities in Arizona go, mountain biking is top notch.

Ranching and Horse Riding at Tombstone Monument Ranch

Like Western movies? Then Tombstone is a must. Celebrating the days of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday Tombstone Monument Ranch replicates an old west town to relive the days of cowboys. You can get involved in the working ranch, join horse riding adventures or get try your hand at all manner of cowboy activities for one of the best Arizonan adventures.

Skydive near Tuscon and Phoenix

There are four dropzones in the southern half of Arizona located around the cities of Tuscon and Phoenix. The warm weather, regular blue skies and cheap prices make it one of the best spots to skydive in the USA. The dropzone at Skydive Arizona claims to be the biggest in the world and includes a wind tunnel and many other facilities.

Skydiving one of the best arizonan adventures Image courtesy of Skydive Arizona by Dave Wybenga

Grand Canyon Rim to Rim trek

There are a number of rim-to-river trekking routes in the Grand Canyon, but Nankoweap is probably the best. It’s a 15-mile walk during which you’ll plummet around 1,800 meters (6,000 feet) from the north rim. You’ll camp by the riverside overnight before climbing out to the south rim the next day.

Rock climbing and Bouldering Sedona

Arizona has more exposed rock than any other state offering some exceptional climbing. In the north you can climb the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff and Paradise Forks, there is Granite Mountain, the Superstitions, and Queen Creek in the middle, and in the south Mount Lemmon and Cochise Stronghold. But Oak Creek Canyon in Sedona offers some of the best trad climbing in the state and great bouldering too.

Top Gun air combat experience

Enjoy the ultimate “Top Gun” flight by joining a half day a air combat experience in Arizona. This is the most authentic aerial dog fighting mission on the planet and one of the top outdoor activities in Arizona.

top gun air combat experience in Arizona USA

Wakeboard and Water-ski Lake Havasu

Lake Havasu on the boarder between Arizona and California is a great place to wakeboard and water-ski. The water is smooth, boat speeds are not restricted and there are plenty of operators will take take you out and offer lessons. Lake Havasu is also home to London Bridge which was painstakingly moved from England.

Skiing and Snowboarding at Snowbowl

I bet you did not know there are three ski resorts in Arizona? The biggest with 55 runs over 777 aches is Arizona Snowbowl on Mount Humphreys – the states highest point. Located near Flagstaff it gets an average of 6.7 metres (22 feet) of snow per winter, has long runs with more than 850m of vertical, varied terrain and four snow parks.

We hope you found this guide to the best Arizonan adventures inspirational. Do you agree with the top 13 outdoor activities in Arizona? Something you feel we should add? So let us know in the comments.


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