Thursday, January 9th, 2014

5 Ways to Experience Nature Around Scottsdale

Scenic salt raft

 Editors Note: This post was contributed by Molly Mickel from Mild to Wild Rafting. Who better to get outdoor adventure tips from than someone who experiences it daily.

Being set right in the middle of the Sonoran Desert has its advantages. Scottsdale is surrounded by plenty of outdoor activities to escape the business of the city. Molly Mickel of Mild to Wild Rafting gives us an expert look at some of the best spots to explore!

Salt River Rafting – Snaking through the Sonoran Desert, one of the biggest, warmest and most beautiful deserts in North America, the Upper Salt River Canyon is the spot to be when Arizona heats up. Rafting the 1000 foot deep Upper Salt River Canyon, delivers thrilling whitewater rapids, surreal scenery and abundant wildlife.

McDowell Sonoran Preserve – Currently encompassing 27,800 contiguous acres with more than 100 miles of trails, open from sunrise to sunset, the McDowell Sonoran Preserve boasts unique geology, stunning geography, lush cacti forests and diverse wildlife. Also offering some of the finest birding in Arizona, the preserve is a favorite of both avid and beginner bird watchers. 

Phoenix Mountains Park and Dreamy Draw Recreation Area – Surrounding the base of 2,608-foot Piestewa Peak, Phoenix Mountains Park and Dreamy Draw Recreation Area offer outdoor enthusiasts some of the most fantastic views and secluded valleys in the area. With dozens of miles of trails to enjoy, there’s no need to fight crowds for desert solitude. Picnic in the hills surrounded by mesquite trees, desert lavender and giant sagebrush, while exploring local wildlife – cottontail rabbits, gila monsters, coyotes, hawks and so much more. 

Bartlett Lake & Verde River – Locals and tourists alike frequent Bartlett Lake for an array of recreational opportunities, including shoreline camping, boating and fishing. As part of the Tonto National Forest, Bartlett Lake is home to mule deer, bald eagles, javelina, coyotes, as well as many indigenous desert plants, including the majestic saguaro and blooming ocotillo. Tonto National Forest campground improvements, handicap accessibility, and safety features provide for safe, enjoyable recreation. 

Superstition Wilderness Area – Designated as a wilderness in 1939 and expanded to its present size in 1984, the Superstition Wilderness now contains approximately 160,200 acres and includes an extensive trail system of varying conditions. Stunning yet rugged, the wilderness radiates with searing summer heat and bitter winter cold. Preparation for appreciated Superstition WIlderness Area is crucial, but the rewards are plentiful.