Arizona is much more than a bunch of tumbleweeds and desert — even in the summer. The state offers cool shady glades, deep pools of refreshing water, and trails and campsites that burst with nature’s activity and beauty. Find out for yourself with five tips that can enhance your trip.
Pick a shady wonderland
Arizona’s national forests fall into the shady wonderland category, and Yahoo Sports offers several top picks for summer camping in this state, which recently celebrated its statehood’s Centennial Birthday. Prescott National Forest in Prescott is a great place for off-road vehicle trails. Explore other areas with a sturdy vehicle that has four-wheel drive with enough horsepower to get you through any terrain.
The dynamic list continues with Kaibib National Forest near Williams and Coronado National Forest in Tucson. Coronado’s Santa Catalina Recreation Area features Mount Lemmon, which reaches over 9,000 ft. above sea level. This mountain lets you ascend through several eco-zones, ranging from the harsh desert heat to the cool, cascading shade of the pines.
Be courteous to other hikers and campers
<p>Yes, camping in Arizona can still get a bit hot – even during the fast-approaching Fall season – for those we like to call snowbirds. Leaving your northern home-states and making your way here, to Arizona, you’ll more than likely still consider the current temperatures much warmer than your used to, so be prepared for the climate until your body re-acclimates. This does not give you leeway to blast a giant generator to power your RV’s air conditioning.
Being respectful to other campers also means no radio blasting and no foul odors coming from the food at your campsite. Using bright lights throughout the night is another taboo. Arizona prides itself as one of the prime locations in the country for stargazing. Help keep it that way for those nearby.
Respect the environment
Leaving your campsite as clean as you found it is a must. If you found it filthy, go above and beyond and leave it cleaner for the next happy campers. Make sure any campfires are fully extinguished. Bring trash bags to clean up after yourself and haul it out when you’re done. Reporting vandalism or maintenance issues to the forest staff is another good idea in keeping the peace.
Be smart about wildlife
Arizona forests are rife with wildlife, from bears behind the trees to buzzards that happen to dig through bowls of dog food left unattended. Stay on the trails, keep your dogs leashed for safety and lock up any food. Read the signs surrounding the trails and campsites to clue you in on specific wildlife you may encounter and the best way to deal with them. Remember to not leave food in your tent or you’ll have Yogi bear’s angry cousin after your goods.</p>
Keep an eye on the weather
Sudden rainstorms and flash floods can be a major summer hazard in Arizona, and the weather report cannot always predict what may come blasting from the sky. Be prepared for sudden downpours by packing your poncho, protective hat, and a rain flap for your tent. Keep an eye on the sky for rapidly approaching clouds and lightning. No matter how strong and able you may be, it’s never wise to challenge Mother Nature.
Common sense is one more thing you should pack for your Arizona camping and hiking trip. Always tell people where you’ll be and how long you’ll be gone. And don’t forget to let them know how much fun you had upon your return.
Guest post by Amy Vanburen. Amy studied in Europe for three years and decided that she loved writing about her travels more than anything. She uses her English Literature degree to freelance for travel blogs and publications.