Keep New Times Free
It’s almost spring — those beautiful few months right before it gets so hot that you regret buying a car with leather seats.
There are outdoor destinations and activities all over metro Phoenix, but recently, we got word that a national landscaping company put Mesa in the top five on a list of best cities for spring outdoor activities (Tucson made the top 10 list as well).
So, we’ve compiled a list of five places for the adventurer, the relaxer, the hiker, and the family to enjoy the Mesa scenery while it’s still below 100 degrees. Slather on some sunscreen, put on a big hat, and check them out.
Usery Mountain Regional Park has many activities nestled in the desert, including the gun range. Be sure to keep an eye out for wild horses.
Saying you’ve got your pick of outdoor activities at this park is an understatement. Usery hosts gun ranges, archery ranges, and miles of trail for hiking and biking. You can pitch a tent and go camping at their sites, or grab a kayak and enjoy the Salt River. If you’re lucky, you might even get a glimpse of the wild horses that roam the mountains.
Wind Cave’s incredible view from the top. Be on the lookout for the ground squirrels who live there and you’ve been warned that it’s an intermediate hike.
Located inside Usery Mountain Regional Park, this trail is an impressive intermediate hike with a fantastic view at the top. There’s plenty of natural desert beauty to be seen including cactuses, wildflowers, and wildlife like ground squirrels. Keep in mind that this trail gets narrow and steep toward the 2,000-foot trailhead. Bring a face mask or schedule a hike earlier on the weekend to enjoy it with fewer people.
The Cubs play ball for spring training at Sloan Park.
Opened in 2014, Sloan Park hosts America’s favorite pastime and is the spring training home for the Chicago Cubs. Currently at half capacity to follow COVID-19 guidelines, Sloan still has tickets available for the 2021 games. Which might mean you can kick up your feet on the seat across from you while you chow down on your hot dog and sip an ice-cold beer.
The Park of Canals includes history, a playground, and a quaint botanical garden.
If you want some history with your scenery, this is for you. This little-known spot has 4,500 feet of Hohokam canals and was listed by the National Geographic Society as an important site for Native American heritage. Kids can enjoy the playground and plant lovers can visit the Brinton Desert Botanical Garden. You’ll really want to bring a hat, as there can be limited shade in some areas.
Saguaro Lake offers mountain scenery and calm waters.
14011 North Bush Highway
Saguaro is a gorgeous 10-mile lake for your water adventures. Visitors can fish, kayak, water-ski, and enjoy one of the lake’s most popular pastimes — tubing. Relax, pop open a can of beer, and drift along the water. It’s a place for families, fishermen, and day drinkers who want to float in the sun.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free… Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who’ve won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism’s existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our “I Support” membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.