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Last updated: June 28, 2023 • Traveling Around the World

Hidden Gems in Arizona

Arizona is a state that conjures up images of sweltering heat, cacti, and cowboys. While it’s true that the Grand Canyon State is famous for its desert landscapes, there’s much more to explore beyond the well-known tourist spots. From secluded waterfalls to picturesque ghost towns, plenty of hidden gems in Arizona are waiting to be discovered. 

If you’re tired of the crowds in the city of Scottsdale or the heat of Phoenix, it’s time to dig deeper and uncover the lesser-known wonders of this southwestern state. In this article, we’ll take you on a journey to some of the most hidden places to visit in Arizona, where you can experience the beauty and mystery of the natural and cultural treasures that many people overlook.

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, or an adventure seeker, there’s something for everyone in the hidden gems in Arizona. So pack your bags, put on your hiking boots, and get ready to explore the best-kept secrets of the Grand Canyon State. Let’s dive into the world of hidden gems in Arizona!

Best hidden gems in Arizona

Arizona is home to some of the country’s most breathtaking landscapes and unique destinations. If you’re looking for off-the-beaten-path destinations, here are the best-hidden gems in Arizona. 

Antelope Canyon

canyon page arizona

One of the hidden gems in Arizona that is a must-visit for anyone who loves adventure, beauty, and a touch of mystery is Antelope Canyon. This magnificent natural wonder is one of the hidden places to visit in Arizona that will take your breath away. Antelope Canyon is known for its narrow passageways, sandstone walls, and beams of light that stream to the rocks. It is a photographer’s dream, an adventurer’s paradise, and a spiritual heaven all wrapped up in one. 

To get to Antelope Canyon, you must travel to Page, Arizona, a small town near Lake Powell. Once you arrive, you’ll embark on a guided tour that will take you through the canyon’s narrow corridors, winding pathways, and stunning natural formations. As you step into Antelope Canyon’s depths, you’ll feel like you are entering another world, surrounded by towering rock walls that seem to glow in the sunlight.

The best time to visit Antelope Canyon is during the summer months when the sun is at its highest point in the sky. It is when the famous beams of light illuminate the canyon’s walls, creating a breathtaking spectacle that is not to be missed. It’s worth noting that Antelope Canyon is a sacred place for the Navajo people, so visitors are asked to be respectful and mindful of their surroundings while exploring.

Devil’s Bridge Trail

travel devils bridge trail

Located in the Sedona area, Devil’s Bridge Trail is a breathtaking hike that leads to one of the most impressive natural wonders in the state. The trail is known for its picturesque scenery and stunning views of the red rock formations that make Sedona famous. But what makes this trail truly special is the Devil’s Bridge itself- a natural sandstone arch that spans over 50 feet and stands 54 feet high. 

While Devil’s Bridge Trail is becoming increasingly popular among tourists, it’s still considered one of the hidden places to visit in Arizona. The hike is moderate in difficulty, making it accessible to hikers of all levels

But don’t let the moderate difficulty fool you- the hike is still challenging and requires a proper preparation. Bring plenty of water and wear appropriate hiking shoes. The trail is 1.8 miles round trip, so ensure you have enough time to complete it before sunset. The best time to hike Devil’s Bridge Trail is in the morning or early afternoon, as it can get crowded later in the day. 

As you make your way to the Devil’s Bridge, take in the stunning scenery around you. The trail winds through a beautiful forest of juniper trees, and you’ll see red rock formations and sweeping vistas of Sedona’s unique landscape. When you finally reach the Devil’s Bridge, take a moment to admire the impressive natural wonder before taking the iconic photo of yourself standing on the bridge (if you dare!). 

Goldfield Ghost Town

goldfield arizona usa

If you’re looking for a unique experience in Arizona, why not head down to Goldfield Ghost Town? Tucked away in the mountains just outside of Apache Junction, Goldfield is one of the hidden gems in Arizona that you won’t want to miss.

Once a bustling mining town in the late 1800s, Goldfield is now a living museum that offers visitors a chance to step back in time and experience the Wild West for themselves. You will have the opportunity to visit one of the best museums in the USA.  From panning for gold to riding on the narrow-gauge train, there’s something for everyone at Goldfield Ghost Town. 

But what sets the ghost town apart from other tourist destinations in Arizona is its authenticity. It is not some tourist trap created to cash in on the Old West craze. Goldfield is the real deal, complete with authentic buildings and artifacts from the time. 

One of the best ways to experience Goldfield is by taking a walking tour of the town. Led by knowledgeable guides, these tours offer a fascinating glimpse into the town’s rich history. You’ll hear stories about the infamous gunfights that took place in the streets, learn about the daily lives of the miners and their families, and see firsthand the tools they used to extract gold from the earth. 

For a more hands-on experience, head to the gold panning area and try your luck at striking it rich. Who knows, you might uncover a nugget of gold hiding in the Arizona soil for over a century. 

Sabino Canyon

sabino canyon hiking trails

Located just a few miles from Tucson, Sabino Canyon is a natural wonderland that tourists often overlook. But if you’re looking for hidden places to visit in Arizona, this should be at the top of your list. 

The canyon is known for its scenic hiking trails, which wind through towering rock formations and lush vegetation. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a casual stroller, you’ll find many paths to explore. 

One of the highlights of Sabino Canyon is Sabino Creek, which runs through the canyon and provides a refreshing respite from the desert heat. Take a dip in the cool water or simply enjoy the scenery from one of the many lookout points.  

But Sabino Canyon isn’t just a place to enjoy the great outdoors. It’s also home to a fascinating array of wildlife, including bobcats, coyotes, and Gila Monsters. Keep your eyes peeled; you might even spot a rare species like the Mexican spotted owl. 

If you’re looking for a unique way to experience Sabino Canyon, hop aboard the Sabino Canyon shuttle. The open-air shuttle takes you on a guided canyon tour, narrating the area’s history and ecology. 

Kartchner Caverns 

welcome to kartchner caverns

Nestled in the southeastern corner of the Grand Canyon State, Kartchner Caverns is one of America’s most impressive underground wonders. For years, this natural wonder was one of the best-kept secrets in Arizona, known only to a select few. But now, the secret is out, and Kartchner Caverns is quickly becoming one of the must-see hidden places to visit in Arizona. 

Unknown places in Arizona may be hard to come by, but Kartchner Caverns is a true hidden gem. This stunning network of caves boasts some of the most impressive rock formations in the world, including towering stalagmites and stalactites, delicate soda straws, and even underground waterfalls. And with two massive caves to explore-the Throne Room and the Big Room- there’s no shortage of breathtaking sights to see. 

But what sets Kartchner Caverns apart from other hidden gems in Arizona is its commitment to conservation. Unlike many other underground attractions, Kartchner Caverns is carefully protected to preserve its natural beauty for future generations. And thanks to this dedication to preservation, visitors can experience the caves in all their unspoiled glory. 

Montezuma Castle National Monument

omntezuma castle ancient view

Located in Camp Verde, Arizona, Montezuma Castle National Monument is a hidden gem that is often overshadowed by more well-known sites. However, this pre-Columbian cliff dwelling is a true wonder of the ancient world and a must-see for anyone interested in archaeology or indigenous culture. It is one of the best places to visit in Arizona

The monument is named after Montezuma, the famous Aztec emperor, even though it was built by the Sinagua people who inhabited the area over 600 years ago. 

But Montezuma Castle isn’t just a historic site; it’s also an excellent place to explore the natural beauty of Arizona. Stunning red rock formations surround the monument, and several hiking trails offer breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

While Montezuma Castle may not be as famous as the Grand Canyon, it’s one of the best-hidden places to visit in Arizona. The monument is relatively small, but it’s well worth the trip for anyone interested in history, archaeology, or natural beauty. 

So, the next time you’re in Arizona, don’t overlook Montezuma Castle National Monument. This hidden gem is a true wonder of the ancient world and a testament to the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the people who once called this area home. Plus, it’s a great way to escape the crowds and discover some of the lesser-known treasures of the state. 

Final thoughts

So there you have it! Arizona is more than just the Grand Canyon and the famous tourist spots. There are plenty of hidden gems in Arizona waiting to be discovered by adventurous travelers. From historical ghost towns to breathtaking natural wonders, the state is full of hidden places to visit in Arizona that will leave you in awe. Why not step off the beaten path and explore the unknown? Who knows what hidden gems in Arizona you might stumble upon? Whether it’s a secluded hiking trail or a magnificent canyon, these hidden places to visit in Arizona will surely make your trip unforgettable. 

So pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready to discover the hidden gems in Arizona that most tourists overlook. Trust me; you won’t regret it!


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