Our initial plan for Southern Arizona did not include Phoenix. We really didn’t have a good reason for bypassing a major city in Arizona. When we were reviewing everything before heading out to Tucson from California I realized that Phoenix was only about an hour and ½ off of our trail. Also with the changes we made to or visit to Utah, we ended up not driving through much of northern Arizona. The final aspect of this decision was that we would be able to spend some time with my cousin Sonja who we hadn’t seen in years.
Phoenix City Park
While in Phoenix we made a point to head the largest city park in the U.S. – Phoenix City Park. We had intended to go mountain biking through the park but when we arrived we discovered that most of the trails and roads within the park were closed. Remember the pictures of this storm from Canyon Lands? That storm swept through this area and damaged a large portion of Phoenix City Park. The most scenic drive was about 4 minutes long and led to an overlook. We could see the city of Phoenix and Scottsdale from a distance. We’re able to snap a few pictures but had to move on.
On another day we decided to conquer Camelback Mountain. This mountain is aptly named because from a distance it looks like one of two camel humps. There are a few hikes that scale Camelback Mountain, the more difficult of the two is Echo Canyon. This hike consists of a relatively easy trail that heads to nearly vertical climbs and scrambling. The hike is a deceiving 1 and ¼ miles long. This is one of those hikes with a rate – it as difficult and they really mean it. I wouldn’t say that it’s technically difficult but it is mentally challenging and physically tiring. The summit is well worth it. Regardless of the challenge, my youngest conquered the 4 hour trail in crocs, putting the rest of us to shame.
Phoenix also has a Sea Life Aquarium. Unsure of whether not each Sea Life Aquarium was different we decided we would visit the one in Phoenix. It turns out that it is very different than the one from Legoland. Not only did they have different sea life they also had different mascots. The location in Phoenix was also in better condition than one and Legoland. I don’t know if that’s because Phoenix has fewer visitors or because there are maintenance issues at Legoland. If you’re in Phoenix with children this is a worthy stop.
After three nights in phoenix we headed to Tucson. Our travels to Tucson took about 10 times longer than it should have. If you want to read about it take a look at our post Stuck on I 10.
Tomorrow we’ll post about Tuscon.