A Guide to State Parks in the Phoenix Area

Phoenix is one of America’s great tourist destinations. It is also the fifth most populous city in the nation. This combination of factors make recreational activities in the area fairly high-demand. But, if you’re looking to get away from it all and avoid crowds, there’s always the option to head out into nature and check out one of the local state parks. Here’s a list of nearby parks that will help you get some time away and allow you to fully unwind, whether you’re a long-time Arizona resident or a tourist:

-Picacho Peak State Park-

Picacho Peak State Park is a wonderful destination in which to take in some local beauty or enjoy a little bit of history. The park, which is located conveniently just off of I-10, is close enough to Phoenix to be a very comfortable day-trip. While you visit the park you can take in any of its many hiking trails, climb Picaho Peak, or enjoy a Civil War battle reenactment.

Nearby Attractions Include:

* The Casa Grande Ruins National Monument

* The McFarland State Historic Park

* Firebird International Raceway

-Lost Dutchman State Park-

Lost Dutchman State Park is a place of truly magnificent natural beauty, and is one of the Phoenix area’s top outdoor attractions. The park, which is named after an infamous lost gold mine, is open 365 days per year, from dawn until 10 pm. It offers hiking trails, a 70-site campsite, restrooms and showers, and a visitor’s center full of helpful information about the area. A word to the wise, however, is that campfires are completely forbidden within the park, due to high risk of uncontrollable fire-spreading.

Nearby Attractions Include:

* Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park

* Tonto National Forest

* Superstition Mountains

* Saguaro & Roosevelt Lakes

* Apache Trail & Apache Canyon

-Roper Lake State Park-

The Roper Lake State Park is the perfect Phoenix-area destination for those who want to get out into nature … without leaving the comforts of home behind. Although camping is available, there are also cabins for rent, and the nearby town offers such citified activities as shopping, bowling, and cinema. Within the park itself there are campgrounds, wonderful fishing areas at stocked lakes, a natural hot springs bathing area, and gorgeous views. Roper Lake is open to guests from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm, 365 days per year, but if you want to rent a cabin then advance reservations are highly recommended.

Nearby Attractions Include:

* Pinaleno Mountains

* Riggs Lake

* Coronado National Forest

* Mount Graham

* Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area

-Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park-

The Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park is located to the southwest of Phoenix and is one of Arizona’s premier state parks. Located at 2400 ft of elevation, this natural gem includes some of the most beautiful treed landscapes in the state. It also features a visitor center, public gardens, and picnicking areas. The Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park is open from 6:00 am to 3:00 pm during the Summer and from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm during the off-season. This establishment is particularly recommended for fall visitors.

Nearby Attractions Include:

* Apache Trail

* Queen Creek Canyon

* Apache Leap Mountain

* Pinal Pioneer Parkway

* Lost Dutchman State Park

* Picketpost Mountain

* Old West Highway

-Oracle State Park Center for Environmental Education-

The Oracle State Park and Center for Environmental Education is roughly 4,000 acres in size and is essentially a state of Arizona park that is aimed at helping to educate the public about environmental issues. Along with the Environmental Education Center, the park also boasts 15 miles of hiking trails, horseback riding, a picnic area, and youth educational classes. The park is closed on Christmas Day, but otherwise is open 7 days a week from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm. This is one of the Phoenix-area’s best family options in terms of state parks, and offers truly remarkable educational opportunities.

Nearby Attractions Include:

* Arizona Trail (seven-mile section maintained by park)

* Historic Town of Oracle

* Catalina State Park

* Biosphere

* Mount Lemmon

* Peppersauce Canyon and Campgrounds