Top 10 Hidden Gems To Visit In Arizona
Arizona is known for its Saguaro cacti, dry climate, and limitless deserts. However, Arizona is much more than that. Be the 6e largest land mass state, there is a plethora of nature to see. While Arizona has many deserts, the state also boasts miles of pine forests, the deepest canyons imaginable, and hidden waterfalls. In fact, there are a lot of hidden gems to visit in Arizona.
The Grand Canyon State is filled with beauty. Tourists come from all over the world to take a peek at the northern and southern edges of the canyon. The red rocks of Sedona, the Snow Bowl in Flagstaff, and the street art of Phoenix are popular with tourists and locals alike. These places are so well known that you can meet crowds just trying to take in all the spectacular views.
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During my first year in Arizona, I visited many wonderful places. Some I had privacy, and others I had to navigate the crowd to get the views I wanted. While you should always visit the popular tourist spots mentioned above, if you avoid the queues and crowds, you’ve come to the right place. Take a look at the list we’ve created to guide you to Arizona’s less-traveled but still beautiful hidden gems.
1. Sycamore Falls, Sycamore Canyon
Located west of Sedona, Sycamore Canyon is a protected canyon along Sycamore Creek. The canyon is full of hiking trails. Located in Red Rock Country, you have a view of the Red Rocks without the crowds often associated with Sedona.
Visit the beautiful falls in spring or winter, either way you will have a beautiful and secluded view. You’ll have to embark on a decent hike in order to get amazing views of the falls, but the hike is well worth this Instagram dream spot.
2. Secret Canyon, page
Most Arizona natives have heard of Antelope Canyon. Although beautiful and wonderful to see, to avoid the crowds I suggest a much less traveled canyon. Secret Canyon is a sandstone slot canyon located in the Water Holes Canyon near Payson and is one of Arizona’s many hidden gems.
To see Secret Canyon you have to go through Horseshoe tours. This will give you access and a private tour, and while you’re at it, visit Horseshoe Bend. In groups of up to 25 people, enjoy the view of the bend from a private Navajo vantage point.
3. Canyon de Chelly, Chinlé
Canyon De Chelly completes the last of our canyon locations. Located in northern Arizona in the Apache country, this beautiful place is full of things for lovers of history and nature. Visit Spider Rock and the Mummy Cave for unique experiences. The canyon has been inhabited by Native American tribes for years, making the area rich in prehistoric rock art.
4. Havasupai Falls, Havasupai Indian Reserve
Home to the indigenous Havasupai people, this reserve is located in the vast Grand Canyon National Park. It is an extremely remote reservation, which makes it difficult to access unless it is well planned. Reservations are required and this is a 10 mile hike to the falls from the top of the canyon. Reservations will not open again until February 2022, to protect locals from the spread of the virus.
5. Sunset Crater National Monument
Located north of Flagstaff, this dormant volcano is one of many in the San Francisco mountain range. This volcano is extinct, so don’t let fear stop you from exploring it. Many hiking trails and beautiful mountain views make this place a great trip. There are many locals who have never even heard of this monument, making it a great place to visit to avoid the large crowds.
6. Cave Cave, Peach Springs
Going off the beaten track, we have Cave cave. If you are looking to visit the Grand Canyon but want to enjoy the trip a little more than usual, this is the place. Located 200 feet underground in a cave over 65 million years old, it is a unique experience. Enjoy tours of caverns, restaurants and even a cave inn where you can stay overnight.
7. Lac Woods Canyon, Payson
If you enjoy fishing, hiking and camping, visit Woods Canyon Lake. Located approximately 30 miles east of Payson. Much less crowded than the Prescott Lakes, this lake is perfect for trout fishing. Near the campground is the Rim Lakes Vista Trail which leads to stunning views of the Mogollon Rim.
8. White Mountains, Fort Apache Reserve
This mountain region is located to the east near the New Mexico border. It offers picturesque views of Mount Baldy, numerous lakes and streams and canyons. It can be hot in the desert, to take a break from the heat of Phoenix, enjoy this Far Eastern paradise during the summer months. Visit Alpine, Springerville or Greer to enjoy the small towns of the White mountains.
9. Goldfield Ghost Town, Apache Junction
Not too far from Phoenix is Apache Junction. This place is ideal if you want to go to the mountains of superstition. There are lakes and many hikes to do. Just outside of everything is Ghost Town of Goldfield, where you can enjoy a magnificent view of the mountains. Make sure to stop in the Old Saloon and grab a cool drink. Visit the Mammoth Gold Mine and the Goldfield Museum. This hidden gem will delight adults and children alike.
10. Watson Lake, Prescott
Prescott is about two hours north of Phoenix. It is known for its forests and lakes, a great place to cool off during the summer heat. Prescott’s most unique lake is Watson Lake. Views are different from what you get from other water bodies in the state. The bold rocks are the backdrop and the calm waters create a beautiful mirror effect. You can go kayaking, canoeing, hiking or enjoying the picturesque views as you climb the granite cliffs.