from Bob Cantor's National Parks Photo Gallery
See also Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, and Saguaro National Parks.

Wupatki National Monument, near Flagstaff, features a short trail through a 100-room pueblo with a community room and ballcourt.
Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, also near Flagstaff, has a self-guided loop trail which explores the volcanic landscape at the base of Sunset Crater Volcano.
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument is a small site south of Phoenix which features the ruins of a Hohokam Big House.
Among the attractions in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area are Horseshoe Bend and the Glen Canyon Dam Overlook.  
Montezuma Castle National Monument is a popular spot with an easy trail to see the cliff dwellings. Montezuma Castle.
The entrance to the famous Upper Antelope Canyon leads to just one amazing view after another.    
The Sabino Canyon Recreation Area, a part of the Coronado National Forest, is just outside of Tucson with many excellent hiking options. A moderate half-day hike, starting from the Bear Canyon overlook, will take you to Seven Falls.  
Madera Canyon, also part of the Coronado National Forest, is about an hour drive south of Tucson and known for its excellent bird-watching. Here's a Broad-billed Hummingbird, a view from the Mt. Wrightson Picnic Area and an Elegant Trogon.
This view of the Catalina Mountains was seen on the easy 2.3 mile Canyon Loop Trail at Catalina State Park just north of Tucson. This lizard on a dead saguaro was seen on this trail also. The 1 mile Birding Trail also has many excellent views.
There are beautiful gardens at Tohono Chul Park in suburban Tucson. It's only 49 acres and surrounded by strip malls and industrial buildings, but you might completely forget this when walking on the 1/2 mile Desert View Loop trail. This blooming cholla was seen on that trail. The Desert Spiny Lizard was in one of the gardens.
Most trips to Tucson will feature a day trip to the botanical gardens and zoo at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. The Raptor Free Flight demonstration featured a Great Horned Owl, a Gray Hawk, and three Harris's Hawks. Among the birds in the hummingbird aviary were a Broad-billed Hummingbird and Costa's Hummingbird.
Early April at the Desert Museum found many Cactus Flowers blooming in the Cactus Garden, such as this Barrel Cactus, Claret Cup Cactus, and one other.
The Desert Botanical Garden is one of the highlights of a trip to Phoenix and you could easily spend a whole day there when things are in bloom. Here are Aloe Flowers, an Anna's Hummingbird, a Crested Saguaro and a Greater Roadrunner

Boyce Thompson Arboretum is about an hour drive from Phoenix and well worth the drive. Here is some Aloe in bloom and a detail of a Cactus.
The McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale provides many hiking opportunities both long and short. There's a short Nature Trail at the Lost Dog Wash trailhead where an easy loop hike takes you by Lost Dog Overlook. It was on that loop where I saw this Costa's Hummingbird and New Mexico Plumeseed.
The Gateway Trailhead is probably the most popular and offers many long hikes, but a short loop can be created using the Desert Park, Horseshoe and Saguaro trails. As you would expect, there are many Cactus along the trail.
The Tucson Botanical Gardens is a small but very scenic garden in the city of Tucson. Seen here are a Feather Cactus, Alicoche, Horse Crippler Cactus and Queen Victoria Agave.
The Upper Javelina Trail in the Tortolita Mountains is a moderate trail with very good views. Here's some Brittlebush and an Ocotillo blooming in early April.  
Picacho Peak Peak State Park, north of Tucson, has some difficult trails to the top of the peak, but also some easy ones, such as the Calloway Trail.
The town of Carefree is not too far from Phoenix and has an excellent botanical garden where you'll find the huge Carefree Sundial and this Gila Monster slide.  
Biosphere 2 is a unique place to visit and about 40 minutes from Tucson. Give yourself at least 2-3 hours to see the grounds and take a tour inside the building.  
Sweetwater Wetlands Park in Tucson is an oasis in the desert and a magnet for a large variety of birds. Here are some Great Egrets and a Northern Shoveler. Also the top of a Barrel Cactus.
Not far from Sedona, the Bell Rock Pathway is a popular, easy walking trail with great views. Combine it with the Courthouse Butte Loop to create a moderate, half-day hike.    
Just outside of Tucson, Gates Pass is where everyone goes to watch the sunset.

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© by Robert Cantor