When people think of Arizona they often picture cacti, rattlesnakes and that "dry heat" that's become so famous. But it may surprise you to know that, outside of an ocean, Arizona has nearly everything an outdoor enthusiast, traveler or active individual could ever want or need.
So that's why we're rounding up 5 of the most epic campsites the Copper State has to offer. Whether it's your first time passing through or you're simply trying to discover new places out your backdoor this summer, there's plenty of adventure!
1) Lake Pleasant
If your family enjoys beautiful sunsets, fishing, stand up paddle boarding, boating and starry nights, this is for you! Lake Pleasant is just a 25-minute drive from downtown Phoenix in the northwest valley and it's perfect for an overnight outing close to home. There are public grills, restrooms and more so you won't be roughing it all that much. And keep your ears open for wild burro walking by in the night!
Quick Tip: If you're closer to the east side, Canyon Lake and Saguaro Lake are great similar options.
2) Lockett Meadow
When the summer temperatures get too hot to handle, many Phoenicians flock to Flagstaff for a breath of fresh air. This specific site is a fantastic option if you're looking for a stunning hike through aspen trees along Inner Basin in the shadows of Mt. Elden and Mt. Humphreys. While Flagstaff is just a short 2-hour drive from the city, the last leg up to the site is on dirt roads so consider a truck or SUV. Best of all, you can easily car camp and bring all the gear you need in the back.
Quick Tip: If you plan your trip in the fall, winter or late spring, be sure to check weather reports for snow and roadblocks.
3) End of the World aka Edge of the World
Feeling super adventurous and looking for a remote site with a simply unbelievable view? This spot (https://rootsrated.com/flagstaff-az/backpacking-camping/end-of-the-world-ba…) has it all from panoramic views of Sedona red rock to tall pines!
Quick Tip: Although the distance to the site is not much, road conditions are difficult and the last leg is slow going. Be sure you give yourself enough clearance and daylight to make the trip a success!
4) Phantom Ranch, Grand Canyon National Park
If peeking over the edge doesn't satiate your encounter with the grandest of canyons, consider booking a trip into the heart of it all. Phantom Ranch is a special backpacker camp at the bottom of the Grand Canyon along the mighty Colorado River where people from all over the world sleep and recharge before venturing deeper along the trail or heading back out. If you can reserve a spot and are up to a rigorous hike, it's quite the unforgettable experience!
Quick Tip: Whether you're doing a full-blown Canyon trip or just hiking a few miles, pack plenty of water, hydration supplements, and snacks. Countless visitors end up half way down only to realize they've under-packed or are facing dangerous conditions. While some springs may exist certain times of the year, it's best to bring resources to have on deck!
5) Mt. Lemmon, Tucson
Southern Arizona has plenty of surprises from sky islands and snow to Saguaro National Park, but the best camping is on Mt. Lemmon. Take your pick from desert camping near the base in Tucson to pine tree and cool temperatures at the top. There are small lakes, a tiny town called Summerhaven with shops and food and endless views everywhere in between. You can't go wrong!
Quick Tip: Like Lockett Meadow, the Mt. Lemmon roads can experience impressive snowfall in the cooler seasons so check online before you embark, and drive safe.
No matter where you get your outdoor fix, we hope our home state gives you the time of your life. We're convinced it competes with the best.
Don't have time for camping but still want to take a fun drive? Cruise up from Sedona through Oak Creek Canyon into Flagstaff for pictures and memories galore!