Winter Sun in Arizona's State Parks!

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An Arizona winter is the perfect time of year for outdoor adventure in any of Arizona’s state parks. To many, Arizona conjures up thoughts of western outlaws riding off into the desert sunset silhouetted by saguaros. But there is so much more to this gorgeous state than that famed Hollywood depiction. Arizona’s state parks are sprinkled throughout our western landscape in the most beautiful corners of the Grand Canyon State, and they have adventures of all sizes waiting for visitors and those who seek memories and fun. Come along – we want share this amazing state with you!

Sonoran Desert

Imagine waking up to the sounds of Gambel’s quail and the sweet aroma of creosote on a subtle desert breeze. You look out of your tent, cabin, or RV and are met with expansive views filled with towering mountains, calm waters, or a sea of saguaro cactuses as far as you can see. A winter morning in the desert might be considered “sweater weather” by locals, but winter visitors will find that the sunshine makes it perfect for a hike, some wildlife watching, or exploring native flora and fauna.


The view from the front porch of a cabin in Lost Dutchman State Park, Superstition Mountains in the distance.At Lost Dutchman State Park near Phoenix, this is the perfect time of year to hit the trails. Book a camping cabin and wake each morning to see the Superstition Mountains from your front porch. If tents or RVs are your camping style, there are plenty of sites at the park too. When you're ready, head out for the day and enjoy, taking in the wildlife, scenery, and fresh air at this unique park.


In the Tucson area, two parks offer mild winter weather and classic Saguaro cactus and green ocotillo dot the landscape of Catalina State Park.Arizona beauty. Catalina State Park has campsites for tents or RVs as well as trails for mountain biking, hiking, or horses. This park showcases saguaro cactus and is set against the backdrop of the Santa Catalina Mountains. Plus, Catalina State Park was recently designated as an Important Birding Area because of its excellent desert habitat and low-elevation riparian areas. Nearby Oracle State Park offers a completely different experience, even with the proximity to Catalina. This park has rolling hills, expansive views, and more than 15 miles of hiking trails, including a connection into the Arizona Trail.


Southern Arizona


A hill rises in the background of a lake with a boat and kayakers.At Patagonia Lake State Park, the cabins overlook the lake, giving you amazing sunsets and a stunning start to the day. The white sand beach is beautiful any time of year, and the beauty of southern Arizona may take your breath away. Plenty of campsites are available, and the trails and water activities will keep you busy for a day or a weekend. From Patagonia Lake, it's easy to visit Tubac Presidio State Historic Park to learn about the Spanish settlers in Arizona, or swing by Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park to get the facts behind the Hollywood history. Kartchner Caverns State Park is also nearby, and that park boasts the "Best Cave in the USA," as well as varying hiking trails in the Whetstone MountainHikers head up toward the peak at Picacho Peak State Park.s, campsites and cabins, and beautiful starry skies


If you head back to Phoenix after your southern Arizona adventure, you'll want to stop at Picacho Peak State Park. Located between Phoenix and Tucson along Interstate 10, this iconic mountain peak has a truly once-in-a-lifetime hiking trail – complete with cables to pull yourself to the top! After conquering Hunter's Peak, you may want to stay to set up camp and enjoy a the night before finishing the trip. This park is also alive with wildlife sightings, so keep your eyes peeled!


Road Trip Options

After your tour of southern Arizona, you may want to head north of Phoenix to experience the 10 state parks located in higher country. Secluded high-desert fishing lakes offer up largemouth bass, rainbow trout, and unforgettable experiences. Retire to your campsite or cabin and reflect on your day of adventuring while planning even more park fun! Or, camp out along the shore of the ancient Colorado River at one of four river parks. Kick back on the on the beach with a beverage of your choice while the flow of the mighty river takes your worries downstream.

Arizona is uniquely beautiful and the lush desert landscape just might catch you off guard. Replace memories of snow banks and blizzards with experiences filled with the warm winter sun and Arizona vacation this year! See you in the parks!

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