Outdoor Resources

Get ready for your next outdoor adventure!

Arizona State Parks and Trails can help you get the most out of your state park visit, whether you plan on a day trip to a park or an extended road trip vacation! There are so many adventures you can have in a state parks throughout Arizona, no matter how long you can stay. Plus, with more than 30 parks, you can always find something new to explore and discover. If you're ready to head outside, take a look at some of these handy resources to help you get started or give you even more ideas of ways to enjoy the great outdoors!

Recreate Responsibly

Through a partnership with the Arizona Office of Tourism, we’re proud to offer the state’s best resource about recreating responsibly in Arizona. Learning how actions can impact Arizona’s wild places will help more of us understand how to achieve a “sustainability first“mentality while enjoying the outdoors. Learn what you can do to Leave No TraceTM, and we’ll be able to #AppreciateAZ for generations! 

Sky Island Country

Explore the stunning beauty of Arizona's Sky Islands! Discover diverse landscapes, unique wildlife, and a variety of outdoor activities that make this region a nature lover's paradise. From hiking scenic trails to birdwatching in lush habitats, Sky Islands offers endless adventures. Ready to embark on an unforgettable journey? You'll discover exciting opportunities in southern Arizona's Arizona's Sky Island country!

Summer Heat Safety Tips

Stay safe while enjoying Arizona’s summer recreation options with these essential heat safety tips. Hydrate regularly, wear sunscreen, light clothing, and a hat, and plan activities for early morning or late afternoon. Always inform someone of your plans and learn to recognize signs of heat exhaustion. Explore Arizona's stunning desert parks responsibly to ensure a fun and safe adventure. Embrace the heat wisely and make the most of your outdoor experiences this summer!

Arizona's Dog Friendly Parks

There are plenty of great parks for our dog adventurers out there who like to hike, swim, or relax with their human family members! Arizona’s state parks are great spots for responsible pet owners to show their pup a great time! Learn where to go, what to do, and how to pay attention to the comfort level of your pooch outside, then plan a trip to one of many dog friendly state parks!

Something for Everyone

Through an exciting partnership with Visit USA Parks, we’ve put together a great resource for those of you looking for adventure in Arizona! From the Colorado River to Mogollon Rim country, through the Sonoran Desert and into the Sky Islands, there really is something for everyone who loves the outdoors, right here in Arizona! Learn more about iconic destinations before planning an unforgettable adventure in Arizona’s state parks!

Trying New Things

Not everyone was brought up exploring the outdoors but maybe somewhere along the way you have taken an interest in the natural world. We’re here to help you build confidence, knowledge, and direction to help your early success while exploring Arizona’s outdoor places. Click to take the first step into tour outdoor education!   

Arizona Fun!

Arizona is a fun place. It really is! And those of you that think being outside is a good time, are going to LOVE the outdoor recreation potential of Arizona’s state parks! With so much to do, maybe it’s time to try something new! Birding, fly fishing, mountain biking, and kayaking are great ways to take your appreciation of Arizona to the next level, and we’re helping you level up with this awesome resource!

Find Yourself Here

We’re showcasing a variety of epic statewide destinations right here for you to explore at your leisure. Regardless of which corner of the Grand Canyon state you’re exploring, a state park is likely nearby, waiting to show you a good time in Arizona’s most beautiful places. Find out what makes these parks special, then find yourself in one of Arizona’s unforgettable state park destinations!

Arizona Sunsets

It’s no secret that Arizona is one of the greatest places to catch a sunset. Want a sunset over an iconic mountain peak? We have that. How about an unforgettable orange glow that radiates off the Colorado River and into your memory bank forever? Yep…We have that too. And everything in between! Learn why Arizona’s sunsets are so spectacular, then plan a trip to experience one in a new and excitingly stunning location!

Arizona State Symbols

Discover the fascinating symbols that represent Arizona's rich heritage and natural beauty! From the iconic saguaro cactus to the stunning turquoise gemstone, each state symbol tells a unique story. Dive into the history, significance, and interesting facts about these symbols that embody the spirit of Arizona. Ready to learn more about what makes Arizona special? Click above to explore the state's official symbols and their captivating stories.

Outdoor Activities for Kids

Find kid-friendly trips in Arizona and activities that will encourage your child’s connection to nature! Experience your child’s sense of wonder as you introduce them to the natural world around them. Dive into all the ways you and your little ones can explore at the parks or from home, then gather up the family and embark on an outdoor adventure!

Want to Spend the Night?

Arizona State Parks camping and cabin options

If you're new to camping, looking for the best spot for your RV, not sure how to camp in Arizona's summer weather, or if you just want to  take the stress out of planning your next camping trip, check out these handy guides below. We’ve taken care of the details so you can focus on having the time of your life out there in Arizona's most beautiful places! 

Camping Checklist

We’ve all forgotten something at home only to realize how necessary it is in the campsite. If you're an avid camper (or a beginner), it’s only a matter of time before it happens to you! Learn how to pack for a camping trip or how to make more informed purchasing decisions regarding camping gear based on your personal style! While you’re there, download the camping checklist before your next trip so you can focus on making memories, not what you’ve forgotten at home.

Arizona Cabin Rentals

Cabins are available for reservations in state parks throughout Arizona and we’ve put all you need to know about staying in one place! Find out what it’s like at each of the eight parks with cabin rentals, then plan a trip based on what you want out of your next state park experience! Every single cabin is air-conditioned and situated with an unforgettable view that’s yours to keep with the other great memories of your visit!

Arizona RV Camping

There are 15 state parks throughout Arizona with RV hook-ups! Arizona’s state parks are known by travelers throughout the nation as clean, dependable places to stay…The best part is that they are situated within gorgeous slices of Arizona’s splendor, and you’re surrounded by a huge variety of outdoor recreation possibilities! If you hit the road this year, we hope you stop by one of these great Arizona RV parks!

Camping on the Colorado River

The shores of the Colorado River are lined with unforgettable memories, both old and new, and from a variety of amazing natural sources. Just relaxing on the beach and watching the river rhythmically flow can be enough to wash your cares downstream so you can return back to “real life” refreshed and ready for a challenge. Maybe your memories are best served with a side of adrenaline? There’s plenty of that on Arizona’s west coast too!   

Summer Camping

You don’t have to put an Arizona adventure on hold…Beat the heat with these camping hacks to stay cool during your summer camping trip! Learn about the best places to camp during summer months, and how to effectively maintain your comfort and safety when the mercury is rising in the campground. We’ll share tips and tricks about staying cool while camping in the summer months, as well as great hacks to get the most out of your gear!

Camping Logistics

Learn how to plan a worry-free camping trip with these valuable insights! You don’t want to address problems at the campsite, so squash them before they ever become an issue and focus on what matters out there…Unforgettable memories! Learn about tools and awesome apps that accentuate any outdoor experience before your next camping trip. Arizona State Parks and Trails is your guide to the best camping adventure of your life!

Outdoor Meal Planning

Don't let outdoor meal planning overwhelm you! Get our pro tips to help you get organized when it comes to picking recipes, buying groceries, prepping ingredients at home, and campfire cooking. We've also added in awesome extras including a a three-day camping meal plan to get you started, four awesome campfire recipes, and a downloadable camping meal planner when you're ready to mix the menu up and make it your own. Go prepared and keep your belly full at the campsite!

Vegan Food for Camping

Are you looking for ways to spice things up at the campsite while following a vegan diet? Use our handy guide to plant-based meal and snack ideas, and download our six top vegan camping food recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. These vegan outdoor dishes will leave you feeling satisfied, and energized for epic adventures!

Glamping in Arizona

Glamping is the perfect solution for outdoor enthusiasts who don’t want to cut their trip short but aren’t quite up for “roughing it” in the wild. A mix of glamor and camping, glamping in Arizona will allow you to enjoy an overnight stay in nature with a side of luxury. Camping is sleeping bags and glamping is real bedding…maybe even a throw pillow or two! If you need the comforts of home to get outside, that’s okay! This resource will help you find the best luxury camping spots in Arizona while detailing the finer points of glamping!

Comfortable Camping Solutions

There is a common misconception that one must endure a certain level of discomfort to experience the outdoors to the fullest potential. We’re here to tell you that’s just not true! We’ve put together this great guide to help you squash the learning curve so you can enjoy a pleasant campground experience during your next visit, regardless of your personal camping proficiency level. In addition to a multitude of awesome comfort related info, we’ve included a video featuring outdoor lover Kristen Keogh where she shares her best tips for staying comfortable during her frequent adventures.

Hit the Trail!

Arizona State Parks hiking and trail Options

Arizona's state parks are perfect hiking destinations, and there's always one more trail to explore! We have everything from easy, kid-friendly trails to bucket list accomplishments...and everything else in between. Learn about hiking opportunities in Arizona's state parks below. We'll help you pick the best trail for you, and show you how to be stay safe and responsible hiker. 

Arizona's Best Hikes

Visit USA Parks shares their favorite AZ hiking spots in another fun and informational partnership piece. Find out which six parks are in the spotlight, then plan a trip to experience one of these awesome statewide destinations! Hikes to the top of iconic peaks, overlooked desert hikes, hiking in Sedona, and much more…You’ll find everything you need to know in planning your next hiking adventure!

Hiking Safety

Whether you're an Arizona resident or visiting the area, hiking safety starts with a plan and is carried through by good decisions on the trail. Arizona is loaded with potentially dangerous hiking scenarios. Learn about how you can set yourself up for a successful, safe hike so you can focus on making memories instead of previously unrealized hazards of hiking. It really is easy to stay safe on the trail, and the first step is learning how with these awesome Arizona-specific hiking safety tips!

Responsible Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Use

Discover the essentials of responsible off-highway vehicle (OHV) use in Arizona! This page provides valuable guidelines for safe and eco-friendly riding, ensuring that you can enjoy the stunning landscapes without harming the environment. From trail etiquette to safety tips, learn how to protect Arizona’s natural beauty while having an unforgettable adventure. Check out Tread Lightly!'s T.R.E.A.D. principles at the link to become a responsible OHV rider and help to preserve the great outdoors for future generations.

Arizona Hiking

Arizona is loaded with great trails, so if you need help to decide the venue for your next hiking adventure…this is it! Check out this list of our favorite state park trails throughout this diverse and beautiful state! Find out what to expect on hidden desert hikes, popular high-country trails, and everything in-between for hikers of all levels. You’ll really get to know the Grand Canyon State after experiencing this selection of epic AZ hikes!

Mountain Bike Trails

Whether you’re a new mountain biker looking for easy trails or an experienced rider in search of an epic outlet for the visions of speed and adrenaline stirring within your subconscious…We’ve got you covered! Arizona’s state parks offer mountain biking opportunities statewide and in a variety of settings so each trip is like a unique adventure. Find out where to go and what you can expect from the trails at these hand-picked Arizona mountain biking locations.

Desert Hiking Trails

Thanks to extreme temps, desert hiking trails are often avoided during the summer months, or used with extreme caution early or late in the day. As fall brings with it cooler temperatures, people flock to the Sonoran Desert to experience the unique wonders of this special place from these trails. We’ve put together a list of Arizona’s best desert hiking trails that you can enjoy right now, and throughout the next several months, until summer returns with a vengeance.

On the Water (and In the Water)

Arizona State parks Water Recreation Options

Just because Arizona is primarily desert doesn't mean we don't have several great state park options that include water! You don't have to have a boat to enjoy a cool lake or river-side getaway. Plus, planning a trip to the lake or river is easy...Check out the resources below to help you have worry-free good times in Arizona's lake and river parks! 

Water Activities in Arizona

There are plenty of great lake and river recreation options throughout Arizona in spite of our “dry” reputation! From relaxing vacations spent on the lakeshore in a comfy chair with good company, to adrenaline-charged Colorado River adventures, and everything in between! You can find the type of water recreation options you’re looking for in an Arizona state park near you. Click to learn more, then plan your lake or river adventure today!  

Boating Safety

Arizona’s waterways have a history of creating unforgettable memories, but this popular pastime isn’t without inherent risks! Take a look at this great safety resource before your next trip to the lake and eliminate potential problems before they happen! Wouldn’t it be nicer to focus on having the time of your life instead of worrying about things you should have done before your trip?  

Rivers and Lakes

What makes each of these lake and river destinations special? Take a look at this hand-picked list of great outdoor adventures if watersports and fun is on your agenda! We’ve got hidden gems and iconic destinations included here so there is something for everyone that loves getting outside and getting wet in the parks! Click to find out what type of adventure you’re in for at these unforgettable water recreation destinations!

Arizona Lakes

We’re fortunate to manage what we believe to be Arizona’s six best lakes for all types of water recreation! There are beautiful state park lake destinations throughout Arizona that offer a variety of amazing unforgettable experiences and adventures. Find out why each of these lakes made the list and what you can expect from a visit to each of them. Find lake adventures from the pine forests of Mogollon Rim country, west to the mighty Colorado River, and south to a cherished southern AZ desert oasis!

Kayaking in Arizona

Kayaking is a great way to exercise the mind, body, and soul while exploring Arizona’s lakes and rivers. As you silently glide across the surface of the still water you become part of the environment. Watching birds and wildlife becomes easier from your vessel, as does accessing out of the way fishing spots and secluded campgrounds. Getting into the kayaking game is easier than you think…Take a look and then take a dive into your new, healthy hobby!  

Fishing in Arizona

Become familiar with Arizona’s awesome angling opportunities and find out which state parks are revered for world-class fishing! Learn what species are available to anglers, where they are, and how to catch them by visiting this comprehensive fishing resource. Fishing tips, bait and lure suggestions, and so much more...All that’s left is to spool up your reel and try your luck at one of these awesome fishing destinations!

Arizona Catfish Tips and Tactics

A number of Arizona’s state parks have absolutely fantastic fishing opportunities for channel and/or flathead catfish. Use this resource to learn tips and tactics designed to help you catch more fish. Find out what to use, and where to go to increase your odds of reeling in a few on your next catfish angling adventure!

Summer Fishing Tips

Adjust your tactics to catch fish all summer long! Learn when and why fish use different parts of the lake and what you can do to capitalize on your newfound understanding of fish behavior. Get scientific about fishing…You’ll learn about barometric pressure and how it affects fish movement and location plus other tips the fishing pros have been using for years to catch more and bigger fish when everyone else is hanging out in an air-conditioned space!

Current Fishing Report

Get up-to-date info about fishing conditions throughout Arizona’s state park waters. Find out which baits and lures people are currently using to catch a variety of species at these scenic fishing destinations. Check this page often and be the first to know when the fish are biting, and where! Insider info like this will give you the tools necessary to level up your fishing game by catching more unforgettable Arizona memories than ever before!

Trout Fishing in Arizona

Rainbow trout are stocked by the Arizona Game and Fish Department in lake and river parks throughout the state. These “catchable” size fish are hatchery raised, have delicious flaky meat, and are generally willing to bite a variety of standard trout offerings. Find out where to catch state park rainbows and learn what successful anglers use in the parks to catch limits with a side of unforgettable outdoor memories!  

Spring Bass Fishing Tactics

Arizona’s spring bass fishing opportunities will rival anywhere in the nation, and some of the top bass lakes in the state are located right here in Arizona’s state parks! Learn how to use the annual spawn to your advantage by keying in on springtime bass behavior and exploiting their natural instincts. Our partners FishIn48 open their bag of tricks to give our readers an in-depth look into successful spring bass tactics on Arizona’s world-renowned bass fishing destinations!

In the Wild

Arizona State Parks Plants, WIldlife, and Insects

Activities in the parks are fun, but there's a lot to see just looking around. With parks located throughout the state, we have different ecosystems and habitats that you can learn about. Whether you want to know what that cool plant was or you spotted a bright-colored bird in the trees, we can help you learn more about the animals, plants and insects that share our parks.

Arizona Insects
Arizona’s insects offer a whole world of wonder for those of you who look closely enough to appreciate them. The team at Kartchner Caverns LOVES our creepy crawly friends in the parks, and celebrate them with crafts and by sharing great information about Arizona’s awesome insects! We know some of you will never quite appreciate insects, so we’ve included tips to keep annoying bugs at bay while visiting the parks too!  

Snakes in Arizona
Learn about the most common snakes in Arizona, where you might find them, and how to safely enjoy a snake sighting in the parks! From rattlesnakes to garter snakes, the state hosts a wide-variety of species, each with a unique look and behavior.

Arizona Mountain Lions

Explore the majestic world of Arizona's mountain lions, one of the state's most elusive and fascinating predators! Learn about their habits, habitats, and the crucial role they play in the ecosystem. This page offers insights into how these powerful cats survive and thrive in Arizona's diverse landscapes. Whether you're a wildlife enthusiast or just curious, this resource will help you discover the awe-inspiring life of the Arizona mountain lion.

Arizona Wildlife
The sheer diversity of animal and bird species that inhabit Arizona is astounding and state parks are great places to see them in action! A hike on any state park trail, any time, of any day, could produce the most epic wildlife encounter of your life. This wildlife resource explains where to find popular Arizona wildlife species, and how to find them, to increase the likelihood of a wildlife encounter during your next visit.

Coatimundi in Arizona
If you're interested in Arizona’s unique and diverse wildlife species, you’re going to love the coatimundi. But what is a coatimundi (also known as coati) exactly? And are they dangerous? Where do coatimundi live? Where might you see one? We’ll explore the answers to all of these questions and more as we dive into the interesting world of Arizona coatis.

Coues Deer
Arizona’s answer to whitetail deer is a diminutive sub-species called the Coues Whitetail deer. Coues deer (as they’re often referred) inhabit quite a few state parks and are typically visible enough for a wildlife encounter during your visit. Find out where to find them and what you can do to increase your chance of seeing some deer during your next trip to one of these Coues country parks!

We’re big fans of javelina here at parks and love that we’re able to showcase this awesome animal for our park visitors in numerous locations throughout the state. Find out where you’re most likely to enjoy a javelina encounter and get answers for a variety of other interesting questions about the often-misunderstood, but always exciting…javelina! Then plan a trip and seek out Arizona’s wild memories!

Birds of Arizona
Arizona’s varied habitats support a vastly diverse population of resident and migratory bird species, including some rare specimens like the elegant trogon! Find out why people come from far and wide to experience a birding adventure in Arizona’s state parks, and learn which parks have achieved IBA (Important Birding Area) status from the Audubon Society! 

Arizona Birding (and events)
Arizona’s large and diverse bird population calls for a large and diverse birding community. We’ve pulled together all the state park birding events and included them within this easy-to-use, birding resource. Find out all the info you need to join a Bird Walk from the calendar of current birding opportunities, plus we break it down by park so you’ll know what the birding will be like when you get there!  

Arizona's Pollinators

Explore the vital role of Arizona's pollinators, including bees, butterflies, bats, and birds, in maintaining healthy ecosystems. Learn how these creatures contribute to the beauty and biodiversity of our state. Visit parks like Catalina, Lost Dutchman, and Picacho Peak to witness pollinators in action and enjoy the stunning flora resulting from their work. Dive into the fascinating world of pollination and experience firsthand the vibrant life it supports in Arizona’s state parks. 

Desert Plants
This comprehensive resource covers the majority of plants, cacti, and trees you might encounter on a trip to a desert park. This desert plant resource is complete with photos and descriptions of where you might find specific plants in the parks as well. Find out when wildflowers bloom, when cactus fruits ripen, and so much more so you can plan your trip accordingly!  

Saguaro Cactus Flower

Experience the breathtaking beauty of Arizona's state flower, the saguaro cactus bloom, each spring and early summer in our desert parks. These stunning white flowers, blooming at night and typically closing by midday, attract a variety of pollinators like bats, bees, and birds. Visit parks like Catalina, Lost Dutchman, and Picacho Peak to witness this unique desert phenomenon and explore the vibrant ecosystems that thrive around these iconic giants. Don't miss this annual natural spectacle!   

Palo Verde Tree

Discover the beauty of Arizona’s official state tree, the Palo Verde, known for its vibrant green bark and yellow spring blooms. Learn about the tree's unique adaptations and cultural significance. Visit Sonoran desert parks like Lost Dutchman, Picacho Peak, and Catalina to witness these stunning trees firsthand. Immerse yourself in the desert's natural beauty and explore the rich ecosystems that thrive around the iconic Palo Verde. Plan your visit and experience this Arizona desert wonder!

Arizona Hummingbirds

Arizona’s diverse hummingbird population consists of at least 17 species! We’ve put together a lineup of the six Arizona hummingbird species you’re most likely to encounter in one or several of your state parks. Learn about these petite bundles of energy, what makes them tick, and how to identify hummingbird species on the fly before your next park trip!

Scorpions in Arizona

Dive into the intriguing world of Arizona's scorpions! This page offers a captivating look at these fascinating creatures, including their habits, habitats, and the vital role they play in the ecosystem. Discover safety tips for encountering scorpions and learn how to identify different species. Whether you're an adventurer or a nature enthusiast, uncovering the secrets of Arizona's scorpions will enrich your outdoor experience. Use this comprehensive resource to explore and learn more about these remarkable arachnids.

Invasive Species

Explore the world of Arizona's invasive species and learn how they impact our unique ecosystems! This page delves into the challenges posed by non-native plants and animals, offering insights into the efforts to control and manage these species. Discover how you can help protect Arizona's natural beauty and biodiversity by understanding and combating invasive species. Join the fight against these ecological threats and preserve our beautiful landscapes.

Fall Colors
Experience Arizona’s vibrant fall colors from one of these great spots! A variety of Arizona state parks offer amazing autumn viewing opportunities, and we can't wait for you to experience them all! Follow this comprehensive guide to the best autumn viewing spots and you’ll be sure to fall in love with Arizona all over again during a state park adventure this fall!

Arizona Butterflies
In a state that is famous for being hot and arid, you may wonder…can such delicate creatures as butterflies make a home in the Grand Canyon State? We’re happy to tell you that they do! Take a look at this statewide butterfly resource for information and fun facts about butterflies in Arizona, how you can identify types of butterflies, where to find butterflies, tips for observing them, and what you can do to help these elegant insects!

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