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BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO ARIZONA'S OUTDOORS
Photo Credit: An Pham
Venturing into the great outdoors can seem a bit daunting at first, with skills to acquire, equipment to figure out, and lingo to learn. But don’t worry. Here are beginner-friendly suggestions to get you started. You’ll feel like an Arizona outdoors pro in no time.
Click names below for full description.
Easy Hikes to Start Your Arizona Outdoors Journey
Over the course of 2.2 miles, the Double Butte Loop Trail circumnavigates the large red sandstone Papago Buttes that are visible from vantage points throughout much of metro Phoenix. The rocky dirt trail is generally wide and flat, making it a pleasant hike for the whole family (and even a pooch on a leash).
Blue Mesa Trail transports hikers into another world with a 1-mile loop strewn with petrified wood and petroglyphs among white and blue-hued bentonite clay badlands. Alternately paved and gravel, the mostly flat loop is a bit steeper at the beginning and end.
Located at Arizona Snowbowl on the western side of the San Francisco Peaks, the 2.5-mile Aspen Loop Trail is an easy hike that's among the most photogenic in the state: lined with aspen, spruce, pines and wildflowers, and serving up views of volcanic fields, meadows, mountains and on clear days, even the Grand Canyon.
Smooth Water Sailing—or Kayaking, Paddleboarding, etc.
For the past 20 years, 2-mile-long Tempe Town Lake has been the urban answer for boaters who want a quick water fix. Onshore, Tempe Boat Rentals and Northshore WaterSport Rentals both offer a selection of kayaks and stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) to choose from. Want to improve your paddling skills? The City of Tempe hosts a wide range of classes.
A 55-acre reservoir, Lynx Lake surrounds boaters with Ponderosa pine and juniper, and you might even spot mule deer, javelinas, bald eagles or osprey. It's a small lake, but that means it's perfect for paddling newbies to get their sea legs. The Lynx Lake Café, Store & Marina rents canoes, kayaks and SUPs, and the lake's boat ramp is nice and wide for easy put-in.
Smooth Cycling and Novice Mountain Biking Trails
Among more than 200 miles of non-motorized paths in the White Mountains TRACKS Trail System, the 3.5-mile Country Club Trail is a great introduction for novice mountain bikers. The loop trail is a well-marked single track, following an old railroad bed that passes through forests and alongside Whitcomb Meadow.
Formally known as the Chuck Huckelberry Loop, this system of 131 miles of mostly paved lanes connects Tucson to Marana, Oro Valley and South Tucson, as well as to several city parks. Views alternate from riverbeds to city streets, and you may spot a farmer's market or two on the weekends. Motorized traffic isn't allowed, but bikers share the lanes with walkers, runners and inline skaters.
With 11 miles of wide concrete paths, this greenbelt system is perfect for a day of two-wheeling through parks, around golf courses and alongside lakes. Whether you're on a road bike, mountain bike or beach cruiser, you'll enjoy the ease of the route, which is largely flat and features 24 grade-separated crossings to avoid major road traffic.
The Arizona Office of Tourism and Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics would like to ask new and experienced outdoor enthusiasts to help us protect and enjoy natural lands responsibly by remembering to plan ahead, dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, respect wildlife and be considerate of others. For more on Leave No Trace please visit appreciateaz.com.
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