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Day Trips and Tours from Phoenix

Phoenix day trips add an extra element of fun during a stay in this sunny city. Sitting on the edge of the Sonoran Desert, Phoenix is a gateway to adventure. Places like the Grand Canyon aren’t far away either, so basing yourself here in Arizona’s heartlands is one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.

Here are the top day trips from Phoenix to help you plan your visit. There’s everything from historical trails to cowboy towns to keep you busy.

Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is one of the most famous natural landmarks in the United States. Formed by the Colorado River which slices through the Arizona desert, this colossal canyon is so vast that it can be seen from space.

On day trips from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon, you can hike along the South Rim, stopping at the scenic overlooks for photos. There are rafting excursions on the Colorado too, for those looking for an immersive experience. For the ultimate adventure, take to the skies on a panoramic helicopter tour and admire the majesty of the Grand Canyon from above.

Sonoran Desert

Many Phoenix day tours take in the delights of the Sonoran Desert as it’s right on the doorstep! This arid wilderness is home to unusual fauna and flora, including the iconic Saguaro cactus which makes for showstopping photos. The Tonto National Forest is the major draw, with its dense woodlands and jagged peaks.

Jeep tours and ATV excursions are popular pursuits, especially for first-time visitors wanting a quintessential desert experience. Feeling energetic? Then mountain biking trips and hiking trails offer an even more intimate connection with nature. You’re more likely to spot wildlife on foot – bighorn sheep and eagles are regularly seen here.

Sedona

The pine forests of Sedona make for a fairy-tale excursion from Phoenix. This area is enshrouded in mystery, thanks to the presence of several vortex sites. People have been coming here for centuries to harness the spiritual energy of the desert. Today, meditation and yoga sessions give 21st-century visitors the opportunity to channel the power of Sedona.

Jeep tours are a fun way to explore the more remote regions, where natural formations like Bell Rock stand proudly for photos. Don’t leave without exploring the ancient Montezuma Castle National Monument – an ancient Native Indian settlement hidden in the cliffs.

Salt River

Kayaking excursions are the order of the day on the Lower Salt River. Starting at Saguaro Lake and winding through the Tonto National Forest, the river is an idyllic destination for a kayaking day tour from Phoenix. Beginners are welcome, with both guided and non-guided tours available. Rafting trips and river tubing are also on the cards.

You can paddle at leisure along the waterway, watching out for wildlife from your boat. Free-roaming horses are often spotted along the riverbanks while birds of prey soar overhead. If you like nature, you’ll love a jaunt on the Salt River.

Apache Trail

Up for a road trip? The Apache Trail is a highly anticipated Phoenix day trip, taking you on a scenic driving route through the Superstition Mountains. Once used by the Apache Indians, the road was later relied on by miners searching for gold.

Whether you explore independently or as part of a tour, you’ll get a first-hand taste of the Sonoran Desert. The Apache Trail runs between Phoenix and the Roosevelt Dam, taking in several attractions along the way. At Canyon Lake you can enjoy a boat ride, while Goldfield Ghost Town offers a glimpse into gold mining life.

Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock State Park is a sprawling national preserve packed with geological landmarks and hiking trails. It’s the ultimate wilderness experience for intrepid explorers looking for something a bit different. The red sandstone buttresses are the main event, keeping watch over the lush green oasis down below. This is a land of contrasts, with the arid valleys supporting a surprising array of plants and animals.

The best way to explore Red Rock Canyon is on a day excursion from Phoenix. You can choose between jeep tours, ATV adventures and helicopter rides to get better acquainted with this colorful desert region.

Tombstone

Wannabe cowboys will be in seventh heaven visiting Tombstone, home to the famous "OK Corral" and "Big Nose Kate’s Saloon". This legendary Wild West town was once a frontier outpost, where sheriffs and outlaws battled it out in spectacular gun-slinging style.

On Phoenix day tours to Tombstone, you’ll walk in the footsteps of heroes and villains as you stroll down the streets. The wooden buildings give the town an authentic 1880s vibe, and you can visit the Courthouse which was the former stomping ground of Wyatt Earp. You might even see the shade of Doc Holliday wandering around the town.

Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon is a paradise for photographers and has appeared on many a postcard and calendar. The swirling reds and whites of the smooth rocky walls appear ethereal in the slanting light. Shaped by the elements over millions of years, this natural wonder was named after the animals that once roamed the surrounding plains.

The famous slot canyon is on Navajo land, and the only way to visit is with an authorized guide. If you book a day trip from Phoenix, this will all be covered. During your tour you’ll be able to walk through a section of the canyon – don’t forget your camera!