Weekend getaway to Phoenix Arizona
Here are some of the fun highlights of my visit around Phoenix:
This gorgeous garden wows you at the start, with an impressive glass sculpture resembling a huge cactus placed in a beautiful entry garden. The cool thing about exploring the various desert themed gardens is the diversity of non-cactus and succulents that can also thrive well in this environment. You enter a variety of garden rooms with themes incorporating the Sonoran landscape, a kitchen garden, herb garden and even a colorful butterfly garden. I enjoyed walking through these various gardens which also integrated wonderful western styled architecture done in vignettes as though you would enter someone’s home. There’s a lot of well-placed artwork, information displays and colorful walkway features that pique your curiosity on what may be ahead on the trails.
Beautiful Chihuly glass entrance
Sculpture and water features at the Desert Botanical garden in Phoenix
I love that this area of Papago Park incorporates both the Botanical Garden, Zoo and the many hiking and recreation areas of the Park. I visited one of the most popular spots called the Hole in the Rock, where you climb through some Flintstone inspired natural red formations and boulders through an opening in this huge rock. Once you climb through, you get to see a panoramic view around the park and skyline to downtown Phoenix. The park is dotted with these impressive red rocks and formations that you can hike through extensive trails and explore some of the wonderful landscape on your own. I ended up extending my stay to explore more trails and then climbed up a strategic hill to watch the sunset over the downtown area.
Checking out the Hole in the Rock at Papago Park
A late afternoon hike at Papago Park
A very close drive to Papago park is Scottsdale and I heard so much about the art and food scene here, that I wanted to explore the area and find a cool dining spot for the evening. It’s all happening in Old Town and most of the fine art galleries are centered on E Main street with a world class mix of traditional Southwestern themed galleries to more modern and other popular artwork for sale. It was fun to walk through many of the covered galleries and check out each of the attractive sculpture, artwork and other collectibles on display. Fortunately, I only traveled with a hand carry so I wouldn’t be tempted with a pricey memento.
Checking out the art gallery scene in Scottsdale
Apache Trail at Apache Junction
I’ve so much about this trail and was pleasantly surprised by how much of the landscape, history and monuments have been well preserved. This was a fantastic road trip through the area covering a variety of scenic spots, desert terrain, hilltop drives, man made reservoirs with stunning views and colorful villages, mining communities and other unusual attractions. After driving along a fun two lane road, after the Tortilla Flats village, it becomes a packed red dirt road going up all the way to Roosevelt lake and the drive is really breathtaking. Since the drive is winding and dirt roads through many curving and hilly areas driving is slow and can take up the entire day depending on how far you want to go. But I enjoyed the fact that once you get past the popular Canyon lake reservoir, there are few visitors traveling past this area and you practically have all this amazing landscape for yourself to explore. This can be a 1/2 day to full day trip depending if you want to take the slow drive all the way to Roosevelt lake and back or around until you hit some paved roadways.
Views at Canyon Lake reservoir
Desert landscape on the Apache Trail
Driving through Superstition Mountain on the Apache Trail
My dining options around Phoenix
Accommodations at the Holiday Inn, Chandler
Overall Experience at the Holiday Inn Chandler
For more posts on exploring around Arizona, check out my posts below