It’s been a rough year for a lot of people, but there are still things you can do without spending a lot of money. In fact, some of the best places for tourists to go are absolutely free. Here are eight hidden gems in Arizona that won’t cost you a cent.
- Grand Falls.This waterfall is 30 miles east of Flagstaff in the Painted Desert on Navajo Nation land. They are 181 feet tall and flow into the Little Colorado River. These falls only flow at certain times of the year, so keep that in mind when making your plans. You’ll want to visit in March or April when the snow is melting on the White Mountains that feed into the falls. There are picnic tables if you want to bring lunch. It’s about a half-mile hike down to the water for a closer look.
- Spider Rock. Spider Rock is located in Canyon de Chelly National Monument, a park located inside of the Navajo Nation. Legend has it that Spider Rock is named after a Navajo character called Spider-Woman, who would take away any bad children. The rock can be viewed from an overlook off South Rim Road.
- Chiricahua National Monument. This “Wonderland of Rocks” consists of 17 miles of day-use hiking trails and an 8-mile paved scenic drive maintained by the National Park Service. There is no fee to use the hiking trails or scenic drive, but campsites are available for $20 per night if you’d like to stay in the park. The attraction is made up of hundreds of rhyolite rock pinnacles that were created by volcanic eruption millions of years ago.
- Mogollon Rim. The Mogollon Rim is a ridge forming the southern edge of the Colorado Plateau. It is popular for sightseeing due to its breathtaking views of Arizona’s scenery. There are horseback and hiking trails in the area as well as lakes for fishing and boating. The area is also popular with backcountry skiers in the wintertime.
- White House Ruin Trail. This is the only trail in Canyon de Chelly National Monument that hikers can traverse without a guide or a permit. The trail extends about 600 feet down from the cliffs on the south side of Canyon de Chelly and ends near a two-level ancient dwelling. The White House Run Trains starts at an overlook seven miles east of Chinle.
- Superstition Mountains. The Superstition Mountains are named for the many stories told by Native Americans about the area. There is also the legend of the Lost Dutchman gold mine, which adds to the superstition surrounding the area. There are many hiking trails, but they are not for inexperienced hikers. The trails are long and rigorous and are especially difficult when the weather is hot.
- Devils Bridge Trail. Devils Bridge Trail is a 4.2-mile hiking trail that offers a photo opportunity at Devils Bridge. Hikers must retrace their steps for the return trip, so that’s 4.2 miles each way. It’s best to leave early in the day to get a head start on the crowds since it is a popular hiking destination. Dogs are welcome but they must be kept leashed.
- Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Enjoy the sight of cactuses and other desert life growing in the Sonoran Desert. There are dozens of miles of hiking trails and you can participate in the Hike for Health Challenge and earn a reward.
Check out these eight hidden gems in Arizona if you’d like to get out of the house for some good outdoor fun.