Red Rocks and Forests


While Arizona’s geography does include the high deserts that everyone knows, it also features a few unexpected surprises—snow-capped mountains, pine-filled forests and red rocks.

Couple walking through the desert at Superstition Mountains
The Superstition Mountains.
South Mountain Park at sunset
Sunset at South Mountain Park, Phoenix

A Breathtaking Vista

South Mountain Park

Whether hiking, mountain biking or skiing, Arizona’s 194 mountain ranges provide an array of elevations and experiences for every skill level—and the views are always spectacular.

Arizona’s largest city, the Greater Phoenix area, sits in a valley completely surrounded by mountains and parks such as South Mountain Park and Preserve, the largest municipal park in the U.S. with about 58 miles of trails.

An Ecological Wonder

The Sky Islands

To the south in Tucson, mountains can be seen from nearly any spot in the city, especially those of the Catalinas and Mt. Lemmon, one of seven “Sky Islands” in southern Arizona that ascend from desert lowlands to 9,000 feet and forests.

Sky Islands are geographic wonders popular with climbers, hikers (the southern terminus of the Arizona Scenic Trail goes through them), cyclists as well as birders and biologists. The varying changes in elevation result in diverse plants, animals and temperatures—summer temps in the southern Arizona mountains can average twenty degrees cooler than their surrounding valleys.

Mount Lemmon overlook
A stunning vista from Mount Lemmon, Tucson
Snowboarding at Arizona Snowbowl
Snoboarding at Ski Bowl, Greer

An Elevated Perspective

The Mountains of Northern Arizona

In northern Arizona, the Mogollon Rim (“the Rim”) transitions from desert to forests of pine and alpine where bear and elk roam. The mountain ranges here include the White Mountains to the east and the San Francisco Peaks to the north—both with average elevations of 11,000 feet, which mean cool temps in the summer and snow in the winter. Snow skiing—downhill and cross-country—as well as snowboarding and sledding can be enjoyed at both Sunrise Ski Resort in Greer and Snowbowl in Flagstaff.

Elevate your Adventures

Keep Climbing

Family Activities

Family Fun in Arizona's White Mountains

Explore the cool communities of Arizona's White Mountains for a refreshing family summer getaway.

Outdoor Adventures

Sky Islands Diversity Beckons Adventurers

Escape the heat and explore the legendary towns and adventures of Cochise County.

Outdoor Adventures

Hiking Arizona

Lace up your boots and choose a trail.

Catalina State Park

Bring your horse, bicycle, or just your hiking boots and you’re bound to have a good time at Catalina State Park. Located less than 20...

Glen Canyon & Lake Powell

Spread over 1.25 million acres, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is an outdoor haven, renown for its stunning scenery and geologic...

Granite Mountain Wilderness

Take your hiking books to a geological site that will challenge and inspire you in the Granite Mountain Wilderness near Payson.

Madera Canyon

Madera Canyon is a retreat for birds and human snow birds alike, with cooler weather, extensive trail systems and mountainous scenery.

Mount Lemmon

Explore various trails, eat homemade fudge, and even rent a cabin for a weekend away in the pines at Mount Lemmon—Tucson's "summer retreat."

Oracle State Park

Immerse yourself in the beauty of the Sonoran Desert in Oracle State Park, an hour from Tucson. Take a hike and visit the historic Kannally...

Peña Blanca Lake

Peña Blanca Lake offers year-round outdoor and water recreation. Surrounded by grassy hills, Peña Blanca Lake, near Nogales, AZ is the...

Picacho Peak State Park

Don’t miss Picacho Peak, the most famous summit in the Sonoran Desert, which you can spot on the interstate between Tucson and Phoenix.

Sabino Canyon

Looking for a place to get outdoors that offers easy and challenging trails? This is that place. On the northeast edge of Tucson, Sabino...

South Mountain

South Mountain Park / Preserve is a point of pride for Phoenix. As the largest municipally operated park in the country, it is an enjoyable...

The Painted Desert

For an unforgettable encounter with Arizona nature, enter into The Painted Desert, a living painting. Hike among this vast landscape of...