I spent a good amount of time exploring Arizona State Parks in 2016 and 2017. Since I plan on still more in 2018, I prepared this index page to make it easy to check out all the campgrounds and historic sites I covered from one spot. (Click images to open full size in separate window.)
Cottonwood (near Sedona)
May 9-19, 2016 – I knew from what I read about this park while I was planning my stay that there was a lot to do here, but I still wasn’t prepared for just how much there really is. The park itself offers a lot within its own 423 acres, including hiking, biking, fishing, swimming, bird watching and horseback riding. But nearby attractions are also irresistible (especially Sedona) and I saw as many of them as I could from my home base at the fantastic campground.
Malia’s Miles coverage of Dead Horse Ranch:
Dead Horse Ranch – Park Overview
Dead Horse Ranch – Campgrounds Overview
Dead Horse Ranch Campground – Quail Loop
Dead Horse Ranch Campground – Red-Tail Hawk Loop
Dead Horse Ranch Campground – Cooper’s Hawk Loop
Dead Horse Ranch – Trail Horse Adventures
April 1-14, 2017 – When I started telling RVing friends about visiting Tucson, so many said the best place to camp was Catalina State Park. I heard great things about the campground itself and the hiking trails, as well as nearby attractions like Saguaro National Park, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Sabino Canyon, and Mount Lemmon, to name only a few.
Malia’s Miles coverage of Catalina State Park:
April 15-26, 2017 – I’m such a freak about mountains, the pictures I saw of the Superstition Mountains were enough to convince me I had to see them in person.
From Park History: “The Park provides views and access to the most scenic portions of the legendary Superstition Mountains and maintains facilities to support the recreational activities. The famous tales of the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine are known throughout the world, with travelers from all over coming to seek the legend and experience the mystery. If not in search of the gold, they become entranced with the golden opportunities to experience the beautiful and rugged area known as the Superstition Wilderness accessible by trails from the Park.” Sold!
Malia’s Miles coverage of Lost Dutchman:
There is no campground here, but you can easily explore it while staying at nearby Dead Horse Ranch State Park.
Their website describes it as “a 286 acre nature preserve and environmental education center with stunning scenery.” I had no doubt about the stunning scenery since I’d seen pictures from there and the red rock formations I’d seen around Sedona were endlessly fascinating to me. The Eagle’s Nest Vista Trail gave some of my favorite views (you can see why from the picture above). After I did the trail around the House of Apache Fires, I was thrilled to be invited to check out the ongoing renovation of the interior of this historic home.
Malia’s Miles coverage of Red Rock State Park:
July 7, 2016 – After seeing it, I wasn’t surprised to hear that it is listed as one of the top 10 Things to See and Do in Sedona: “Oak Creek’s slippery bottom offers a gentle gradient into the red sandstone pool at the bottom. The scenery is so spectacular, many movies have been shot there. Fodor’s Travel Guide calls Slide Rock a “historical little gem” and the eighth best State Park in the Union out of 8,000. On hot summer days, the lineups can be fearsome so don’t even think about trying the midday rush hour.” Whatever it takes, it’s worth the visit!
I can never resist getting a peek into our country’s history, so I really enjoyed the self-guided tour as well as meeting the Park Manager and rangers who care for this chapter.
The fort was begun by demand of settlers in 1865 due to their farms being raided by Indians, which of course resulted in hostilities between the two factions. Due to a malaria plague, the original site was moved and construction of this post was complete in 1873. Between that time and 1875, about 1,500 Indians were moved to this 800 square mile reservation.
With the end of raids by Indians, the fort was no longer necessary and was abandoned in 1891. I’m glad it ended up being so well preserved and open to us who want to learn more about this period in our country’s history.
I sure would love to hear any feedback from you on my or your own visits to Arizona State Parks. What’s your favorite and why? Please share in Comments below!