Best outdoor recreation near Phoenix Arizona

The tourism industry in Phoenix Arizona is the 10th largest and oldest industry in all of Arizona. Arizona itself has a rich history filled with many geographical wonders and beauties which attract tourists from all over the USA and the rest of the world but Phoenix’s perfect blend of urban pleasantries and natural wonders is what makes it one of the most exciting tourist locations in the USA and a great place to visit for the outdoorsy types and city lovers alike.

One factor that sets Phoenix apart from other states when it comes to tourism is the world-famous mountains and canyons that welcome visitors day and night.

The grand canyon is one of the most geologically significant canyons in the world and is truly a sight to behold and is truly deserving of its status as a wonder of the world. Arizona’s antelope canyon is another internationally recognized treasure for photographers because of its unique geological structures of which countless images have been featured in publications such as National Geographic. The mountainous terrain in Arizona makes Phoenix a prime location for hiking; thousands of tourists flock to Camelback Mountain each year for a great hiking experience and to behold the natural beauty of Arizona from nearly 1,000m above ground.

If you are interested in learning some of the secrets of these 3 phoenix Arizona gems then read on because we will be breaking down the best ways to experience the grand canyon, antelope canyon, and Camelback mountain in Arizona.

Grand Canyon from Arizona Side during the golden hour with yellow sun shining on the mountain

1. The Grand Canyon

The grand canyon is a sight to behold that mere pictures can not do justice. This wonderful canyon was formed by sediments carried by the Colorado river over thousands of years of water flow, exacerbated through nature’s power of rain and wind. The Arizona side of the grand canyon has many wonderful secrets and mysteries and is a perfect place for a trip with the family.

North Rim vs. South Rim

There are 2 main rims of the grand canyon that you can visit from Arizona which is each geographically very different, these are the South Rim and the North Rim.

The most iconic views of the Grand Canyon can be seen from the South Rim, and it is for this reason (paired with its easier access from many of AZ’s larger cities as well as the fact that it’s open year-round) that it gets more than 90% of the Grand Canyon’s visitors as a whole. The South Rim has the easiest trails of the canyon which make great hiking for amateur and experienced hikers alike: just remember to eat enough and pack enough water if you plan on making long hikes. This end of the grand canyon also has several options for lodging: there are hotels nearby as well as several campsites which offer cabin rentals but because of the high volume of tourists it is advisable to book these months in advance

The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is for the serious adventurers and it gets 10% of the visitors for several reasons. The north rim is further away from most major cities than its southern counterpart and offers far fewer amenities so if you stay at the north rim be prepared to camp. The views may be considered by some as lackluster when compared to the iconic south rim views but there is a beauty to be found here nonetheless. The real charm of the North Rim is the lack of chaos when compared to the average day bustle of all the visitors in the South Rim. Those that want to enjoy the quiet ambiance as opposed to picturesque views should consider the north rim, just make sure to fill up on gas before heading up because the closer you are to the North Rim the more expensive it gets! This side of the grand canyon is also closed during the off and winter seasons so make sure it’s open before you make the drive up.

2. For the Photographers (Antelope Canyon)

Photo of the inside of upper Antelope Canyon in Arizona

Some of the most stunning photographs of the beauty of nature have come out of Antelope Canyon. This wonderful canyon was formed in a similar manner to the grand canyon- through sharp sediments carried by the rains and winds of the aggressive monsoon seasons which would cut into the earth and over time create the unique structure of the canyon.

Getting from Phoenix Arizona to Antelope Canyon.

The Antelope Canyon is about a 4 and a half hour drive from Phoenix Arizona. If you want to enter the canyon for a photography tour the lower canyon will cost you 20 dollars per person and the upper canyon (with its even more stunning geology) will set you back 80 dollars per person. It is also important to note that to get to the canyon from Phoenix you will be entering Navajo territory and will be required to pay a fee of 6 dollars

Antelope Canyon Photography tips

Photography is undoubtedly one of the biggest reasons to visit Antelope Canyon and a great photograph can make a good memento of your trip to Arizona. Here are some tips to take the best photos at the canyon.

Use a photography Tour service: the tour guides are seasoned photographers and more importantly Antelope Canyon veterans. They have spent quite a while helping guests photograph these Arizona canyons and will show you some of the most iconic spots

Use the widest camera lens possible. Shots taken with a wide lens in these canyons will allow you to photograph a larger area and let in more light; these pictures will look better 10 times out of 10. While on the note of equipment to bring along, a tripod will help improve photo quality substantially so if you have one at your disposal don’t forget

it!Look for areas of high contrast. Not all areas in the Antelope Canyon are made equal when it comes to photography. Look for areas with high contrast, where shadows meld with bright spots: these are often the spots where you will score the best of the best photos.

Red light reflected off the surface of rocks in Arizona's Antelope Canyon

3. Camelback Mountain, Phoenix Arizona

Those who are not willing to make the 3-4 hour drives up to the grand canyon or antelope canyon but still want to experience the beauty of Phoenix Arizona firsthand should look no further than Phoenix’ own Camelback Mountain.

Hikers that make it to the top of Camelback Mountain will be greeted by sweeping views of the Phoenix cityscape which look breathtaking night and day. There are many unique forms of vegetation peppering the mountain which are beautiful to tourists and natives alike; hiking the Camelback will truly increase your appreciation for the wonders of nature in Arizona.

Camelback Mountain is 20 minutes northeast of central Phoenix in Echo Canyon Park and offers some of the most scenic hiking trails in all of Arizona. The trails of Camelback mountain vary substantially in difficulty but whether you are an amateur hiker or a veteran looking for a challenge, Camelback Mountain will have something that meets your fancy.

While absolute beginners and those not looking to work up any kind of swat can enjoy the trails circling the base of Camelback mountain, the more ambitious and intermediate hikers can take the 1.5 Cholla Trail on the east side of the mountain; a relaxing hike up to a gorgeous summit.

For seasoned veterans and experienced hikers looking for a challenge consider taking on the 1.2-mile Summit Trail. This is an incredibly steep journey to the top and can be a relentless hike if you are unprepared but is also regarded as one of the most scenic hikes in all of Phoenix, AZ.

Experience Phoenix AZ

As natives to Arizona, we at Black Hat Security Phoenix have experienced many of its mountains and canyons; this is why we can say that The Grand Canyon, Camelback Mountain, and Antelope Mountain are some of the greatest outdoor experiences that Arizona has to offer. If you ever have the opportunity to visit, you are now prepared to make the most out of each of these natural wonders so be sure to check them out.

To learn more about tourism in Arizona please check out