Only have a short amount of time in Arizona but love exploring? There’s still plenty to do with a short amount of time. This was the second very short trip we’ve taken to Phoenix and we squeezed in a lot in both trips!
We just returned from 48 hours in Phoenix. We had plane ticket credits that we had to use before they expired so we decided to visit Arizona to see the Cubs at Spring Training and get in a little hiking. It was a fantastic trip!
To be completely honest, this entire trip was actually 6 days (8 days if you include travel days) but we only spent two of those days in Phoenix. We squeezed in as much as possible during those 48 hours!
Here’s our trip report on the days we spent in Northern Arizona (that includes Sedona, Flagstaff, and the Grand Canyon!)!
Trip Dates: March 22-23, 2018
48-Hour Outdoor Explorer Guide for Phoenix, Arizona
- Superstition Wilderness Area
- Miners Needle Loop
- 9.1 miles, 1,300 ft elevation gain
While we normally choose more difficult hikes, this was one that we wanted to do on our first full day in Phoenix. It’s a little over an hour outside of the city but worth the drive. There are a few different hikes that start from this trailhead but we decided to do Miners Needle Loop. We decided to take the loop starting with Heart Attack Hill (the park volunteer informed us of the nickname) and work our way back around. Heart Attack Hill was basically the only semi-difficult section of the trail. This hike was a great desert hike with many different landscapes and formations.
Our Trip: After hiking, we ate lunch at Chipotle and then went to Sloan Park (the Cubs spring training stadium) and watched batting practice. That evening we went to Scottsdale and ate dinner at Bootleggers Modern American Smokehouse and then to watch the Cubs play the Giants at Scottsdale Stadium (the Giants spring training stadium).
- Phoenix, Arizona
- Camelback Mountain
- 2.6 miles 1,200 ft elevation gain
This was my third time climbing Camelback Mountain and Scott’s second time. We’ve done both sides of the trail (Echo Canyon Trail and Cholla Trail) and neither one is easy! It’s very important to state here that this hike is extremely difficult. Many rescues happen on this mountain which put the rescue workers in danger and use up many resources. Don’t let the short distance fool you – only attempt this hike if you are physically able and prepared. Also, this hike is very crowded. We started really early (as usual) and it was still a very crowded hike. You will be sharing the trail so please be courteous of those around you. If you need some tips, here’s a Hikers Etiquette Guide.
The hike is relentless the whole time and for the majority of it, you will be scrambling over boulders, especially near the top. This means that on the way back down you will likely have to scoot down on your bottom in some places. If you are physically able and prepared this is an awesome workout that is close to the city and short enough where you still have the whole day in front of you!
Our Trip: After hiking, we went to Whole Foods and got sushi and salads to eat before the game. The Cubs game was at Sloan Park, which was within walking distance of our condo rental. We left after the game and drove to Cottonwood, Arizona. We checked into the Tavern Hotel (great hotel!) and ate dinner at Colt Grill.
Additional Ideas for Your 48 Hours in Phoenix:
- Hit the course before or after your Camelback climb (or another short hike of your choice)!
- Hot Air Balloon Ride
- Talk about an exciting way to see the city and the desert!
- There are a ton of hiking trails in Phoenix or within a short drive. Hit two in one day for a full day of hiking!
- Spring Training Baseball Games or Regular Season Baseball Games
- We had the opportunity to see spring training which was amazing but the Diamondback also have a stadium in Phoenix so check their schedule before you head out!
Tips for a Memorable Hike in Arizona:
- Wake up early and get started before the heat of the day (and the crowds!)
- Only participate in activities that you are physically able to complete
- Always obey the signs at the trailhead and along the trail – they are there for a reason
- The weather can vary greatly – be prepared
- Drink plenty of water and take water with you on the trail
- Eat plenty of food and take snacks with you on the trail
- Tell someone where you are going and when to expect you back
Have you visited Phoenix or climbed Camelback Mountain? Is there something we missed that should be added?!1