4WD Adventures
4wd Adventures

Mountain Biking Adventures

Biking Adventures

Hiking Adventures

Hiking Adventures

Quick Trip Reports
QTRs

I'm excited to announce my new book, The Kachina Accord, has been published. This is the second book in the Jason Holt series. Click here for more details.






Who are the Experience Arizona Adventurers?

Matt Marine

Matt Marine is an Arizona resident who loves exploring Arizona's wonderful outdoor adventures. To find out more about Matt, click the link below.

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Cat-Dog

Cat-Dog is my faithful trail companion. Her real name is Cammie. Why do I call her Cat-Dog?

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Interns

Nick Smallwood

The more I experience Arizona, the more I realize how lucky I am to live in such an amazing place! From snowcapped-mountains to saguaro laden deserts, the serene beauty of Arizona never ceases to amaze me. Through my passions for photography and writing, as well as my thirst for adventure, I hope to take you along on an exciting new journey across this wonderful land

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See Intern Page for previous interns


It's a Jeep Thing
Jeep people are awesome, but we do have our idiosyncrasies. Join me as we look at the humorous side of owning and loving Jeeps.

Feature Adventures
Want to try something different? These stories showcase a wide varitey of unique adventures that allow you to experience them first hand!



Portrait Photography
A collection of photo galleries showcasing my portrait photography - typically portraits with a slight twist.

My first book. It's a mystery called Devil's Moon and has already received outstanding reviews. Set in Sedona, Devil's Moon offers anyone who enjoys a good mystery (or who just loves Arizona) a great read.

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I'm excited to announce my new book, Kokopelli Harvest, has been published. Click here for more details.


Outdoor Adventures based on Offroad Exploration!

Arizona N2O - The Lighter Side of Experience Arizona

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Do you know your Aizona trails? Figure out where I am in Arizona and win some cool stuff!

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Click to explore Arizona ghost towns and mines

Disclaimer

Read the Experience Arizona Disclaimer before attempting any of our adventures. Check with local authorities (FS, BLM, etc.) before heading out on any adventures for updates road conditions, closures, etc.

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Road Closures

Trails and roads listed within this site may be closed at any time by the Forest Service, private property owners or other governmental agencies. It is your responsibility to verify state of trail prior to attempting to run it.

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On this page
Camp Grant Massacre
White-Lined Sphinx

Fishing Spider

Steam Pump Ranch

Highway 87

High Jinks Ranch

Ostrich Festival

Battle of Picacho Peak
Pima Air and Space

Joe Mulhattan

Gold Mining

Bighorn Sheep

Arizona Memory Project

Battle of Turret Peak

Zebra Tailed Lizard
Lesser Known Ruins
Horsehair Worm

Manzanita

Natural Arches
Catalina Honor Camp
Hassayampa Bridge
T.C. Schnebly

Total Wreck

Gleeson

Campo Bonito

American Flag
Strawberry School
George Bascom
The Saguaro Cactus
The Gila Monster

New Adventures

4WD

Click here for the latest 4WD Adventure

Mountain Biking

Click here for the latest Biking Adventure

Hiking

Click here for the latest Hiking Adventure

About Arizona

As you already know, Experience Arizona is all about Arizona, so I thought I'd dedicate a section of the website to Arizona's diverse wildlife, plant life, people, history and unique places!

Arizona is so rich in these aspects that I could spend the rest of my life writing about them. Since I can't do that, I'll try to give you a different flavor of Arizona every month.

Therefore, I'd thought I'd start off with one of the most unique creatures in Arizona: the Gila monster!

Have fun and be safe!

NOTE: I am not an expert in this subject area. The information provided is gleaned from a wide variety of sources, including personal experience. All information is thought to be correct, but I have not verified it in depth.

Camp Grant Massacre

At dawn on April 30, 1871 approximately 6 Americans, 48 Mexicans and 92 Tohono O’odham crept into an encampment of Aravaipa Apaches who had recently surrendered to the nearby Camp Grant and slaughtered over one hundred Apache, mostly women and children. To the western world, this became known as The Camp Grant Massacre (even though the killings didn't officially occur on Camp Grant property). Click the link below to read more about how and why this took place.

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White-Lined Sphinx

We recently met a bunch of the larvae stage (caterpillars) form of the White-lined Sphinx moths trying to cross a road. These caterpillars are huge (same with the moths) and are very beautiful.

These moths are so big they are sometimes mistaken for hummingbirds. They also can give you quite a surprise if you pick them up like we did as we were trying to rescue a few from getting run over on a road.

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Arizona Fishing Spider

We found this bad ass spider down along Pena Blanca Canyon over Labor Day. It lurks along the water's edge waiting for prey either on top of the water or below. They are big enough to catch small fish and frogs. If you don't believe me, you'll have to watch the video!












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Desert Tortoise

In August I was lucky enough to find THREE desert tortoises all in the same area (within 50 feet of each other). This was only the second time in my 30 years of exploring that I'd come across these elusive, but gentle creatures. So my youngest daughter and I began doing a little bit of research on them and decided to work together on their story.

Wow! Amazing animals. I had no idea that they could last a year without drinking water, their population has been cut by 90% since the 50's and the Mojave species is on the threatened list. Find out more about this wonderful animal and why picking a wild tortoise up can actually kill them...

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Steam Pump Ranch

Today, Steam Pump Ranch is a small series of buildings nestled among the busy commercial complexes in Oro Valley that don't draw a lot of attention.

Most people don't know what a huge impact this ranch had on Tucson and southern Arizona. And how the men and families that lived there would shape our state. Now owned by the Town of Oro Valley, you may want to drop by during one of their open houses and see why this place was once known as a desert oasis.


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Highway 87

Join Rebecca as she makes a wrong turn on her way to Chandler and finds a wonderful surprise.

Rebecca takes aim at some less seen places along Highway 87 in her new photo gallery and finds that the road less taken may bring the greatest reward.


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High Jinks Ranch

Nestled in the northern side of the Catalina Mountains along the Cody Trail Number 9 section of the Arizona Trail lies High Jinks Ranch. Once owned by the infamous Buffalo Bill Cody, the ranch is now being remodeled into a rustic bed and breakfast and martial arts dojo.

Rebecca Miller and I recently received a tour of the ranch and found it to be a beautiful and magical place. If you enjoy hiking along the Arizona Trail, Arizona history or just delicious homemade apple pie, you'll want to read on.

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The Chandler Ostrich Festival

What Arizona event has 400 pound bird races, stubborn donkeys, carnival rides, music events, exotic bird shows and enough good food to feed your entire family? The Chandler Ostrich Festival! This annual event celebrates the wonderful ostrich (among other things) and if you enjoy something a little different, you'll want to put this on your bucket list. Rebecca Miller attended the festival last month and came back with a delightful (and delicious) report.

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The Battle of Picacho Peak

Many people don't know that there were battles that took place in Arizona between Union and Confederate soldiers.

One of those battles took place just below Picacho Peak in 1862.

You can revisit this dramatic event every spring as the Picacho Peak State Park has the Civil War in the Southwest event. It makes an interesting and fun day for the whole family.

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Pima Air and Space Museum

Rebecca Miller, our new intern, just spent a couple of hours at the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson.

If you've ever been there before, you know that there are tons of cool planes to see. But have you really seen them?

Take a look at the museum through a photographer's eyes. I think you'll find that you've missed some interesting aspects the museum has to offer. Maybe you can catch a few of these during your next visit...

Pima Air and Space Museum Gallery

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Joseph Mulhattan

Did you know that kangaroos can herd sheep? Or that a vast underground cavern was found in Kentucky? Or President George Washington's body was found petrified?

You probably have never heard of Joe Mulhattan, but perhaps you've heard some of his lies. He was known in the late 1800s as the World's Best Liar and the Prince of Lies.

When I was researching the Ripsey Mine, I found numerous articles stating vast amounts of gold were found in the area. I was really excited, then I read who had authored them. Mulhattan has to be one of the most entertaining people in Arizona's history. And how did he get nominated for President of the United States?

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Stanton, Weaver and Octave

A little north of Wickenburg are a trio of old ghost towns that were once part of one of Arizona's biggest gold booms in the 1860s. The towns were rough and dangerous and seem to epitomize the term "Wild West": murder, theft and treachery.

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Executive Orders and Gold Mining in Arizona

Did you know it was once illegal to own gold or mine gold in the US? This didn't happen that long ago and the reasons may surprise you, they did me. It may also be one of the reasons why there isn't a lot of remains left at some of the mines we see today.

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Bighorn Sheep

The desert bighorn sheep are magnificent creatures. They have adapted to live in the arid desert and are making a small comeback in Arizona. I was lucky enough to see a herd in southern Arizona and took some truly amazing pictures.

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Fairbank

Visit one of southern Arizona's best preserved ghost towns. No four-wheeling or hiking involved. If you're going to Tombstone, this is a nice place to visit.

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Arizona Memory Project

The Arizona Memory Project is an awesome collection of digitized photographs, maps, documents, etc. that chronicles Arizona's rich history.

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Battle of Turret Peak

The Battle of Turret Peak was small in numbers, with probably less than 100 total participants, but it marked the turning point in General Crook's Tonto Basin Campaign and ultimately led to the defeat of the Yavapai and Tonto Apache Indians in central Arizona.

Click here to go to the Battle of Turret Peak page and find out why this skirmish had such significance.

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Zebra Tailed Lizard

If you've been out in the Arizona desert for any length of time, you've probably run across one of these guys.

The zebra tailed lizard is common to much of the state and he's easily recognizable with his black and white striped tail.

He's a quick lizard who doesn't mind the heat. You'll often find them in sandy soil by washes. They are one of my favorite Arizona lizards.

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Lesser Known Ruins in Arizona

Want to get off the pavement and see some ancient ruins that most people don't even know about?

I found a website that lists many of the lesser known Indian ruins in Arizona. Most of these are quite difficult to get to, which is the reason they aren't well know. But also the reason they are in such good shape. And a reason for high adventure!

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Horsehair Worm

Ready to go ewww? I recently found one of these while hiking in Catalina State Park. This long, thin worm was swimming in the water and I had no idea what it was.

When I first read about it, the worm reminded me of the creature from the move Alien. But, thankfully, it's harmless to humans and our pets. It's a very interesting creature if you're lucky enough to see one in the wild.

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Manzanita

Have you ever seen this strange, but beautiful looking tree? It's branches are smooth and a combination of red and gray. It's called Manzanita. See why it's one of my favorites.

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Arizona Natural Arches and Bridges

Arizona has the third largest number of arches in the US. What a wonderful opportunity to go explore these wonderful features. Click here for more information and for a link that provides a ton of information (and pictures) of Arizona's natural bridges and arches.



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Catalina Federal Honor Camp and Gordon Hirabayshi

Seven miles up on Catalina Hwy (Mt. Lemmon near Tucson) are the remains of a fairly unique old prison camp previously known at the Catalina Federal Honor Camp (or Old Prison Camp) which was renamed the Gordon Hirabyshi Recreational Area for one of its inmates. Yep, that's right. Named for an inmate. The story of how that happened is interesting.


Catalina Federal Honor Camp ...

Gordon Hirabyshi ...

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Hassayampa Bridge

This is an awesome piece of Arizona history. Built in 1924 and still in use today, the Hassayampa Bridge is the only bridge in Arizona that combines through and pony truss spans.






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T.C. Schnebly

Ever wonder how Sedona got its name? We have a few people that we owe our thanks that this town isn't called Schnebly! Click link below to find out more.













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Total Wreck

This is a easy 4WD adventure to an some old mines and town site in southern Arizona. The trip is really fun, but there's not much left of the place.




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Gleeson

This is a easy trip on a graded dirt road that can usually be accessed by passenger cars (in good weather) to the ghost town of Gleeson. This is a well-graded dirt road (actually pavement for a big portion of the trip) and should be able to be traversed by passenger cars in favorable weather. Gleeson is a "living" ghost town in that there's still some residents to live there. Unfortunately, many of the interesting buildings are on private property so access is limited.

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Campo Bonito

Campo Bonito is the mining group in which William "Buffalo Bill" Cody invested in the early 1900s near Oracle, Arizona. Cody mined gold, silver, quartz and tungsten in the area. Oracle and Campo Bonito are rich with Buffalo Bill history.




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American Flag

An interesting short stop for ghost town buffs (though there's not much to see due to private property limitations) is the small ghost town of American Flag near Oracle, Arizona.





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Strawberry School House

The next time you're in Strawberry (near Payson), take some time to visit the "Oldest Standing School in Arizona." Built in 1884, this log cabin school is rich with history and interesting artifacts.

The school house is open to the public from May to September on weekend and holidays. It's located on Fossil Creek Road, not far from the center of town.

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George N. Bascom

Second lieutenant George N. Bascom is notorious in Arizona lore as the instigator of the "Bascom Affair" which started more than a decade of bloody warfare between the native Indians and white settlers.



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The Saguaro Cactus

The Saguaro cactus is the icon of the southwest. And rightly so. It is a magnificent cactus.

Saguaro is an Indian word that can be difficult for first time speakers to pronounce. The correct pronunciation is "sah-wah-ro" or "suh-wah-ro." The formal name for the saguaro is Carnegiea gigantea (named for Andrew Carnegie). The saguaro is a unique plant in many different ways!

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The Gila Monster

The Gila monster is a true misnomer. Although this lizard is venomous, it's anything but a monster.

This slow moving lizard usually doesn't pose any threat to humans. Instead, it is they who have to fear us. Due to their name, unique nature and rarity, their population is decreasing rapidly.

If you are lucky enough to see one in the wild, take a minute to observe this beautiful creature. He is the only venomous lizard in north America and only one of two in the world!

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