Wild West Adventure
- Where to Go
- The Best of the Valley of the Sun
- Wild West Adventure
- Let Scottsdale Rock Your World
- Finding Water in the Sonoran Desert
- Spring Training
- Arizona Family Road Trip
- Phoenix Points of Pride
- Southwestern Culture and Heritage
- Nocturnal Scottsdale
- Exploring Phoenix’s Architecture
- Unexpected Arizona
- Desert Chic
- Chilly Drinks and Cool Eats in Scottsdale
Sure, it’s tempting to kickback by the pool or to spend day after day on the golf course, but Arizona is the land of rugged cowboys and roughneck ranchers. Put down the margarita — the state’s wild side is calling, from natural rockslides and mechanical bulls to racetrack driving.
In the Air
Tempt both gravity and death by flying a plane on a “combat mission” over Phoenix’s East Valley at Fighter Combat International. Even beginners learn to take the stick during in-the-air training in air-combat tactics, “smoke chases,” lead-and-follow drills, and weapons training.
In the Water
Take the plunge at Arizona’s best swimming hole in Slide Rock State Park, situated seven miles north of Sedona. Glide down the 80-foot-long natural rockslide, which was carved into the granite and red sandstone canyon floor by Oak Creek.
On the Road
Former racer Bob Bondurant and his team coach thousands of students every year at The Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving, a custom- designed, 60-acre facility near Phoenix’s Firebird International Raceway. Single-day courses are designed to implant skills ranging from introductory racing techniques to highway survival.
Get honest-to-goodness, “no frills” lessons in cowboyin’ at Arizona Cowboy College. From half-day sessions on horseback riding and roping to the comprehensive six-day course, learn authentic cowboy skills by working at this cattle ranch in Scottsdale.
A ride with iconic Pink Jeep Tours is the most popular way to romp over Sedona’s red rocks. Charismatic guides describe the geology and ecosystem surrounding Sedona as they drive beefed-up Jeep Wranglers over steep boulders and occasionally treacherous passes.
Catch a glimpse of the nocturnal desert by donning night-vision goggles with Desert Storm Hummer Tours in Scottsdale. Spot bats and coyotes, and hunt for scorpions using UV lights that cause their exoskeletons to glow.
On a Mechanical Bull
Cowboy boots meet high heels at Saddle Ranch bar in Scottsdale. Partiers channel their inner urban cowboy by riding the bar’s main attraction, a mechanical bull — which is surrounded by an inflatable mat and padded guards.
On a Bike
For a moderately challenging half-day trek, try Submarine Rock Loop in Sedona. The 10-mile loop starts with a single-track trail that varies between dirt and hard clay, leading to slickrock at Chicken Point and Submarine Rock.
© Jeff Ficker from Moon Phoenix, Scottsdale & Sedona, 1st edition