We are so lucky to live in this incredible state. Where else can you go from desert, to red rocks to high mountain magic in a matter of hours?
I just finished another series of my favorite assignments this past week. We call them Arizona Family Adventures, three nights of taking you folks to some of my most loved spots. This time, we centered on day trips from the valley, because we know everybody is busy, making it hard to take three or four days for a trip to places like Monument Valley or the White Mountains.
We started with Red Rock Crossing in Sedona. It's on the Coconino National
Forest and many think it's the best view of the best view along Oak Creek. You can get right down on the creek and spend time just walking along, or sitting on those nice warm red rocks. The view of Cathedral Rock is stunning, and I'm sure you've seen it many times on post cards and magazine covers.
While we were there, a young couple from Washington state decided to get married along the creek. It was a nice surprise to see their special day unfold.
You'll share the creek with painters and photographers from everywhere. Do yourself a favor, and toss the family in the car, take the short ninety minute drive and spend time in this paradise.
Coconino National Forest 928-527-3600 main office or try 9280203-7500 for the Red Rock District office. www.fs.fed.us
We also took time to play in the lush Sonora desert just north of Cave Creek. The 2150 acre Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area is a Maricopa County park and is perfect for hiking, biking or horseback riding. The trails are well maintained and there are a ton of them. You can see thousand year old rock carvings telling of the Hohokam people and their struggles. The walls of Hohokam homes on overlooks are still there, giving you a chance to retrace their steps. This beautiful park is so close, never crowded and is so lush, it's just perfect for a full or even a half day trip.
Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area 480-488-6601 www.maricopa.gov/parks
If you need a cool mountain lake, try Lynx lake between Prescott Valley and Prescott. It's only five miles off the main road, but you'll feel as if you're deep in the outback. The lake is stocked with trout, bass and catfish by the Arizona Game and Fish Department and anglers almost always do well. There's also a great trail around the lake that lots of locals use for their daily walk or run. The air is fresh, the pines tall and even though the lake is low right now, the water is still clear and cold.
Lynx Lake, the Prescott National Forest 928-443-8000 www.fs.fed.us/r3/prescott
So many places, so close, so little time needed. Go and enjoy.