Arizona canyon famed for waterfalls to reopen after flooding

Weeks after flooding rushed through a world-famous gorge off the Grand Canyon, sending tourists fleeing to higher ground, the Arizona tribe that calls the area home is ready to welcome visitors to its reservation known for towering waterfalls that cascade into blue-green pools. The Havasupai reservation has reopened for the first time since July 11, 2018, when about 200...

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Along the border, 500 miles of desert species

One early March morning in southern Arizona’s Coronado National Memorial, an uneven line of scientists and amateur naturalists in floppy hats and hiking pants crept up a steep hillside through yellowed grasses and dark shrubs. Plant names – scientific and common – flitted through the cool air, as the group covered the terrain, moving at the pace of lichen. The dry winter...

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Petrified Forest National Park: 10 tips for your visit

One of the largest concentrations of petrified wood in the world is found at Petrified Forest National Park in eastern Arizona, about 110 miles east of Flagstaff and 210 miles west of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Scientific studies show that the petrified trees found within the park date back 211 to 218 million years. Add to that dramatic, colorful geological formations and...

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Tips for staying safe while hiking in Arizona

Thanks to amazing weather and topography, southern Arizona can be a hiker’s dream. That dream can become a nightmare if you don’t take basic precautions or plan ahead, especially when the temperatures soar. When the heat comes, hiking or other outdoor activities should be limited to early morning hours and be completed no later than 10 a.m. Anyone planning on...

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Arizona’s Cave Creek hike is a wonderland of rocks

The site of Cave Creek Regional Park has a storied history. Before there were hiking trails, campgrounds and picnic ramadas, the park, north of Phoenix, and its surroundings were used by the ancient Hohokam people, mine operations, farms and ranches. Yet the park’s relics of human endeavors are transient compared to its geological features. Although the 2,922-acre site...

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Arizona’s Wild Burro Trail is a gateway into the Tortolita Mountains

Trekking in the Tortolitas, northwest of Tucson, Arizona, is a journey into national park-quality desert country — where some 600 species of plants create a comely, prickly, colorful landscape. Palo verde, ironwood and mesquite trees thrive alongside cacti, including chollas, barrels and grand stands of saguaros. The range boasts a large population of crested saguaros —...

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How to not need rescuing when you hike in Phoenix

In Phoenix, Arizona summer weather usually starts before the rest of the country’s winter ends. As the temperature starts to tick upward and out-of-town guests arrive for springtime merriment, its important to remember how quickly a day hiking in the desert can turn into a nightmare mountain rescue situation. Last year, Phoenix’s fire department had to rescue...

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At The Wave, competition for hiking permits is fierce

Ranger Ron Kay glanced at an anxious crowd crammed into a U.S. Bureau of Land Management office in Kanab, Utah. “All these hopeful faces,” he murmured as the minutes counted down to a drawing for permits to hike to The Wave, an iconic basin of striated orange sandstone just south of the Utah-Arizona state line. More than 80 applications were stacked in front of Kay on...

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Nine Tips for Hiking Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls sits atop the desirable adventures for many hikers from the first time they see a picture of the aqua blue water cascading down red rock walls into the crystal pool below. On the hike, you will see Navajo Falls, Havasu Falls, Mooney Falls and Beaver Falls which are some of the most picturesque waterfalls and dramatic scenery found in the Grand Canyon. There...

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Arizona elk headed to West Virginia

Dozens of Arizona elk will soon roam southern West Virginia’s reclaimed coal fields, bugling a call of the wild not heard in the Mountain State since the Civil War. The Arizona Game and Fish Commission last year voted to send 60 elk to help the effort. In late January a team of wildlife managers and volunteers captured and quarantined the animals at a state wildlife...

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Keep an eye out for Salt River wild horses on this Mesa-area hike

The Sonoran Desert Trail System in Arizona’s Tonto National Forest has more than 20 miles of interconnected paths between Usery Pass Road and Bush Highway just south of the Salt River Recreation Area. The northernmost route in the system is the Wild Horse Trail, which is also part of the Valley-circumnavigating Maricopa Trail. As its name suggests, the trail passes...

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Ordinary citizens collecting scientific data has become important to researchers

Public participation in gathering and analyzing large amounts of scientific data began as a major trend about 15 years ago in a movement called “citizen science.” When asked if scientists could produce this same work without the help of citizen scientists, the general refrain was typically “absolutely not.” The internet and the availability of powerful, yet simple tools...

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Purchase opens 32,600 Arizona acres near Coronado Forest to hiking

The U.S. Interior Department’s purchase of a plot of private land will allow public access to 32,600 acres of previously isolated forest land in Arizona, a move that drew praise from wilderness advocates and hunters alike. The deal opens up two parcels of public land, one in the Coronado National Forest and one northwest of Safford, that had been inaccessible because...

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Volunteers remove tons of trash from Arizona National Forest land

Arizona’s Natural Restorations remove trash, graffiti and anything foreign to the environment from natural areas throughout the state. They have a passion for nature and believe outdoor restoration and education ensures everyone will be able to enjoy the outdoors for generations to come. They approach every project with a commitment to long-term change and making...

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Stewards needed to keep hiking trails clear after monsoon storms

Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation needs help maintaining hiking trails near Tucson. Monsoon 2017 has let up for now, but just weeks ago storms dumped lots of rain on southern Arizona. All that rain caused weeds and other plants to grow out of control. County officials are looking for trail stewards to make sure these trails continue looking good....

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Night hiking: Beating the heat in Grand Canyon

Below the Tapeats on the South Kaibab Trail is a great place to stop and rest called “Big Shady.” When it is hot, this spot is nice and cool. But folks are here huddled up above the trail in the shelter of a slight overhang in the cliff, trying to stay dry and wishing that there weren’t so many clouds in the sky. Rather odd given that it is the middle of August. But it...

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Trail work in Arizona’s Rim Country

Trails are complicated things. It doesn’t always take the easiest route and sometimes isn’t clear, dwindling into a wash and then sneaking out to the lowlands and zigzagging erratically up a steep slope. For trail builders, forging a path with flow is everything. The way a trail bobs and weaves around trees and rocks should be effortless. It should curve to hide what is...

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Arizona Girl Scout troop teaching Hiking 101 class

Last year, more than 350 hikers required rescue in Arizona parks and preserves and at least 10 died. These are statistics that Ahwatukee Girl Scout Troop 1395 passionately hopes to reduce. And while helping hikers learn safety through education, the troop’s eight members are working toward their Silver Award – the highest honor at the Cadette level. The scout’s...

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The Ultimate Guide to Monument Valley

With sandstone buttes, colossal mesas, and panoramic vistas, Monument Valley is one of the USA’s iconic landscapes. Sure, it’s possible to drive right through the Valley, visiting the main sites in just two or three hours, but if you really want to explore it, consider spending at least a day here. There are even quick excursions and scenic drives in the nearby area, if...

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Petrified Forest National Park: Ancient and Spectacular

The area is the only national park that includes a part of the historic U.S. Route 66. Welcome to the Petrified Forest National Park. The word “forest” may mislead visitors. The park is in a desert. And the word “petrified” — which can mean “afraid” — may scare visitors away. But fear not. “Petrified Forest” gets its name from the trees that have, over...

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Hualapai Mountain Park a great destination for hiking, cycling, picnicking and even camping

Hualapai Mountain Park is a 2,300-acre preserve located just outside of Kingman, Ariz. Often overlooked in favor of larger and better-known parks, it is a gem hidden in the pines with elevations ranging from 4,984 feet to 8,417 feet at Hualapai Peak. The park is named for the native Hualapai Indians. Their name comes from the landscape, meaning “Pine Tree Folk” or...

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New hiking trails at Buckeye, Arizona’s Skyline Regional Park

Attention hikers: Be on the lookout for new trails in the coming weeks. The Phoenix West Valley’s newest hiking destination is rolling out fresh dirt just in time for fall hiking season. As of the end of September, Skyline Regional Park in Buckeye will have added five new trails for a total of 17 miles of non-motorized routes. Since it opened in January, the...

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A Proposed Hiking Ban in Phoenix Draws Outrage

When the temperature hits the triple digits in Phoenix, AZ, hikers continue to hike. They snake their way up Camelback Mountain, which has a 2,680-foot summit with spectacular views of the city. They pack the picturesque mile-long trail up Piestewa Peak. They traverse the towering cactus dotting South Mountain Park. And some of them find themselves lost, parched, in...

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Phoenix proposes hiking ban during hot temperatures

Phoenix may close hiking trails in its more than 40,000 acres of desert preserves during intense heat that statewide already has claimed several lives this summer. Temperatures reaching 110 degrees would prompt the closure of city trails for people, through a policy under consideration this week. Dogs would be stopped from hiking when the mercury hits 100 degrees. The...

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SPEX launches a new concept in hiking in Sedona

Hikers in Sedona, Arizona have a new option when it comes to exploring their deep thoughts out on the trail. Sedona Philosophy Experience (SPEX) has officially launched and is busy helping its customers navigate not only the trails of Sedona, but also the mindful philosophical discussions that hiking so naturally stimulates. “We are delighted to bring philosophy out of...

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How state, national parks near border became safe for visitors again

Caution: “Smuggling and illegal immigration may be encountered in this area.” Visitors to state and national parks, monuments and memorials in Southern Arizona have undoubtedly seen these signs posted along popular hiking trails. The sites near the Mexico border are great spots to find hiking, bird watching and camping, but also provide the perfect place for undocumented...

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Thousands of Ancient Petroglyphs, ‘Dramatic’ Solar Calendar Reported in N. Arizona

Archaeologists exploring the remote mesas of northern Arizona have uncovered a trove of previously undocumented rock art, including more than 1,500 petroglyphs, and confirmed the presence a prehistoric solar calendar, which has been marking the seasons for more than 700 years with a striking “shadow dagger” that travels across its sandstone face. Researchers made these...

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AmeriCorps team discovers pleasure and peril building trails at Casa Grande Mountain

They’ve encountered scorpions, lizards and the perils of navigating around the abundant cacti that dot Arizona’s Casa Grande Mountain landscape, but a team of 11 AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps volunteers say they’re enjoying building a new trail in the city’s most popular hiking park. “Every time we take a break, we sit down and stare across the...

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Arizona hike: Y Bar is a strenuous challenge

Although tame in comparison to some other notoriously arduous Arizona hiking trails, Y Bar has several opportunities to pause for thought. The trail is steep, rocky and requires traversing of talus slopes and narrow, cliff-clinging turns with deep drop-offs. On days when it’s clear of obstacles, this challenging trail in the Mazatzal Wilderness is achievable by...

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Trekking Through the Aravaipa Canyon, Arizona

Aravaipa Canyon is extremely narrow—at many points, probably no more than a quarter of a mile from rim to rim—which means that to explore the canyon you often hike right through the stream bed. Traverse the entire twelve-mile length of the canyon and you’ll cross the creek at least forty times, sometimes in water that’s knee deep. Aravaipa Creek is a rarity in the...

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Aspen stands in Southwest suffering from fungal disease

Visitors marveling at the fall foliage in national forests might find that some of the aspen leaves are brown and blotchy or gone already. Spores released from leaves and twigs that were infected by a fungus last summer were carried to new leaves by splashing rain and wind this year. The result is that instead of presenting golden yellow colors, leaves in some aspen...

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Anatomy of a flash flood

Last week 20 people died in a wave of flash floods in southern Utah, eerily similar to a summer in Arizona 18 years ago. Of those who died, seven were in a narrow canyon in Zion National Park and another 13 were lost when their cars were swept away from around the town of Hilldale. The seven in Zion were geared up with helmets and ropes, not the most trained group, but...

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