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TravelPod Local Expert Chris Marshman currently lives in Arizona and has spent a great deal of time in the Grand Canyon National Park. He teaches backpacking, mountaineering and base camping at the local college.

sorcerer.png Chris says:

"Geologically, Arizona is a Backpacker's/Hiker's paradise. Mountain peaks over 12,000 ft, to the Grand Canyon which is a mile deep. Arizona is one of the few States left that the majority of the land is open to the public.

Arizona has been and continues to be influenced by different cultures going back 1000's of years. Arizona is one of the States with the largest Native American populations, many of which live on Reservations that are Sovereign Nations. Basically they're Nations with in a Nation.

Sporting Activities are left only to the Traveler's imagination. White Water Rafting, Mountain Biking, Horseback Riding, Off Road Vehicle Exploration, Caving, and more are all here. How long do you want to go for, a day, a week or more? All it takes is the time and the desire.

The Culinary Arts have found a home in Arizona. Have a bowl of Hualapai (pronounced Wall-a-pie) Stew with a huge chunk of Indian Fry Bread. A Native American dish found only in a small area of Western Arizona. Have one of the best Beef Steaks you'll ever have in Williams, Arizona at a restaurant family owned and operated for nearly a hundred years. Or maybe Chili and Tacos in Yuma, right at the U.S./Mexico border.

But one thing the First Time Traveler to Arizona should know. You will travel through a Native American Indian Reservation at some point in your journey. Reservations are a Sovereign Nation and they operate under their own Laws, different than the U.S. Many Reservations require a travel permit if you're going to explore their lands. Make sure you visit the Reservation Office before you go exploring their lands."

Post all questions to Chris ( UserID: Chrismarshman) here.
Hey Chris,

I am heading down to your neck of the woods. What can you suggest is not to miss in Phoenix area?
Carmella, you probably took your trip already, but I'll answer with my top 4 faves in case there are others coming to visit this area:

1.Hike to the top of Camelback Mountain. The views are spectacular - probably the best I've seen in the Phoenix area. Parking can be tough, but I haven't had a problem so long as I get there early.

2.Hike to the top of Usery Mountain (the Wind Cave trail). The saguaro cactus cover the area as far as the eye can see, which provides for a true "desert" hiking experience. There is a cover charge ($6), which sucks, but the experience is worth it. Every time I've gone with my roommate, we feel as though we have the entire mountain to ourselves. There are other hikers, but the area is so large, that we are all truly spread out.

3.For shopping, I would recommend the San Tan Village in Gilbert, AZ. There are so many shops, eateries, etc all located outside. A much more pleasant shopping experience, than having to walk inside a crowded mall.

4.If your itinerary allows, I would recommend driving 3.5 hours to Yuma, AZ. On the way there, stop in Dateland, AZ for a world-famous Date shake! Also, pick up some dates to bring back home as treats for your loved ones. The honey-covered dates are the best!! In Yuma, check out the sand dunes. True desert beauties. Also, drive the 8 miles and cross into Mexico. Have lunch in Algodones, Mexico, right over the border. Enjoy walking and browsing through the many souvenir shops :-)For more info and pictures, check out my Southwest blog:

Check out my blogs!
I have now been living in Arizona for 8 months, so I have a few more recommendations to add to the list!

-Lake Pleasant...a man-made wonder. Beautiful blue waters with charming islets sprouted about, camping sites, picnic areas, and so many great hiking trails! A must-see...a true oasis of water in the Arizona desert

-Tuzigoot ruins...15th century native american ruins, very impressive site. Not too far from the more famous Montezuma Castle

-Jerome...if you can battle your fear of heights, this charming ghost-town type of place is quite the site...nestled high on a mountain-top, the views are worth the drive...another perk?? A relief from the heat! I visited Jerome on a day that Phoenix was a scorching 108 degrees and Jerome was in the 80's and with a cool breeze! Sooooo worth the 2-hr drive!
Which resort would you recommend for a group of ladies ages 35-40?
We want spa services, mountain views, close to shopping and restaurants.
We've never been to Arizona before. Sorry, I should have asked can you help
us first. smile.gif

Wow, not sure how I didn't see this question before. Have you taken your trip yet? If not, my recommendation depends on which city you want to go to. If you want to go to Phoenix, I would recommend Camelback Inn by Mariott. My friends stayed there once and I visited. It's a beautiful resort, wonderful views, a bit of luxury, good location, and hiking trails in its backyard:

Sedona is 2 hours from Phoenix and known for it's spa/resorts. Also very scenic. I haven't stayed at any resorts there, but have visited many times. Here's a list you may find helpful:

Good luck!
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