As temperatures rise, Arizona sinks

Arizona is sinking. The combination of groundwater pumping and warmer temperatures is shrinking aquifers and lowering water tables. And as the land subsides, fissures open, 2-mile wounds that devour infrastructure and swallow livestock. Four of Arizona’s five economic pillars — cattle, cotton, citrus and copper — use huge amounts of water, while the fifth, the state’s...

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Havasu Falls: Everything you need to know about the stunning Arizona experience

The dry and barren trail through Havasu Canyon refuses to give up the secret of what waits just eight miles away: an oasis of tumbling waterfalls and lush greenery, with turquoise pools that would seem more at home in Hawaii than in a remote corner of Arizona. That’s precisely the draw of Havasupai Falls, a roughly four-mile gorge in the Grand Canyon carved over the eons...

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‘This is a human tragedy and an ecological tragedy’

At Organ Pipe National Monument in far southern Arizona, the landscape’s ecology confronts its militarization: A migratory corridor collides with a wall, a natural spring could lose water to pumping for concrete, and both migrants and locals who cross the Borderlands are monitored and tracked. Here amid a sea of saguaros, standing tall like giant green tridents, and...

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A hiker went missing in Grand Canyon National Park before Christmas. Almost two weeks later, he was found alive.

  A Texas man who had not been seen since before Christmas at Grand Canyon National Park was plucked by helicopter from a trail on Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020 after hikers spotted him. Martin Edward O’Connor, 58, was checked by an emergency medical team, cleared to go and reunited with a family member Thursday night, according to a park spokeswoman. It was not clear...

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Get big views of downtown Phoenix on this less-used South Mountain hiking trail

South Mountain cuts an impressive profile in the skyline south of downtown Phoenix. The “mountain” isn’t a singular massif as the name implies, but a conglomerate of three parallel ranges that sit within the park boundaries and dovetail in a way that creates a fascinating environment of canyons, washes and rugged pinnacles. Over 50 miles of trails explore the park’s...

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Take a tour of this canyon for a less-crowded, more in-depth experience than at Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde National Park in southwestern Colorado is an archaeological gem thanks to nearly 5,000 ancient sites. Founded in 1906, the park preserves the heritage of the Ancestral Pueblo people who lived in the dwellings for almost 700 years. For a more peaceful journey through indigenous history, head to Arizona’s Canyon de Chelly National Monument. Situated in the...

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Prescott National Forest Has It All for Recreationists

In the American Southwest, only 120 miles from one of the largest cities in the country, lies an outdoor and recreational wonderland of lakes, mountains, and desert just waiting for those who seek adventure and the chance to bring home a story. This astonishing place where “the desert meets the pines” is Prescott National Forest in Central Arizona, a...

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U.S. agency considers more visitors to The Wave along Utah-Arizona border

The Bureau of Land Management is weighing increasing its daily visitor limits from 20 to 96 people a day at The Wave, a popular rock formation near the Utah-Arizona border. A 6-mile round trip hike through tall sandstone buttes and sage brush is required to get to the Wave, a wide, sloping basin of searing reds, oranges and yellows in the Vermilion Cliffs National...

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How to backpack Arizona’s eerie Superstition Wilderness

Arizona is home to some serious scenery: the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon. While those are far from any major city, just an hour from Phoenix sits an untouched swath of pristine Sonoran Desert. The Superstition Wilderness, with its eerie red spires and lanky saguaro cacti, offers equally stunning vistas, is full of wildlife, and has miles of trails to...

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New Verde Valley hiking trails show off views all the way to Flagstaff

Just a few miles north of Camp Verde, Arizona, Wet Beaver Creek cuts a meandering course through high-desert plains and sparse mesas on its way to the Verde River. For thousands of years, the perennially flowing stream has been the life blood for peoples who settled near its green corridor. The communities of Rimrock and Montezuma Lake are the most recent to evolve...

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This Phoenix hike shows how water carves up the desert

For Arizonans especially, the fear of running water should rank right up there with snakes and heights. Although storm water raging through usually-dry channels solicits choirs of oohs and ahhs, the flows are definitely not something to mess with. If the human brain has a “dangerous things archive,” an image of a roaring desert wash ought to be seared into it. They can...

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Arizona hike: The back way to Tonto Creek is rugged, rewarding

Occupying a few dusty acres between nowhere and Roosevelt Lake, the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it community of Jake’s Corner is a popular way station for outdoor enthusiasts. Its ramshackle appearance and come-as-you-are ambiance are big draws for anglers, hunters, boaters, bikers and ATV riders. Sometimes, hikers find the place, too. Located 22 miles north of the lake along...

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Hikers, check out these new trails in Fountain Hills, Arizona

With the restroom plumbing and water lines nearly complete and the access road mostly paved, the new Adero Canyon Trailhead in the Fountain Hills McDowell Mountain Preserve officially opened Nov. 17, 2018. After decades of planning and construction, the roughly 1,000-acre preserve now occupies a mountainous sliver of space between manicured golf communities and the...

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Hiking the Hayduke: Welcome to the Wild, Wild (South)West

The idea of the Hayduke Trail (HDT) was conceived in 1998 and is in fact not a trail at all, but an 800-ish mile route. It was designed by two adventurers who wanted to showcase the rugged, unspoiled beauty of the American Southwest by exploring the many national parks on the Colorado Plateau in Southern Utah and Northern Arizona, as well as the seldom seen but equally...

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It’s Time for First Day Hikes Once Again

What better way to kick off the New Year than by getting a jump start burning off those extra holiday calories in the great outdoors? On New Year’s Day, America’s State Parks have all 50 states offering free, guided First Day Hike Programs. These hikes provide a means for individuals and families to welcome the coming year in the outdoors, exercising and connecting with...

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Exploring Arizona’s Vermilion Cliffs

Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is only a few hours north of the state’s most famous attraction, the Grand Canyon, but most people have never heard of the stunning wilderness area, much less visited its swirling, colorful sandstone. There’s a reason for that—getting to know the monument isn’t easy. While the stunning 2,000- to 3,000-foot namesake cliffs run for...

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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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