15 Day Trips From Scottsdale To Experience The Wild West

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Scottsdale is one of the most charming cities in Arizona and is known for its many golf courses, resorts and spa centres. The city is a great jumping point for some great adventures including the stunning Grand Canyon National Park, Mogollon Rim and much more.

Let us explore some of the best day trips from Scottsdale which you can explore with your friends and family.

Prescott, Arizona


Prescott is one of the most historic cities in Arizona, and it was also once the capital of the state. The city is home to more than 800 buildings and structures that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

You can explore these historic sites throughout the city, which include Falcon Nest, North America’s tallest private residence. Visit the Sharlot Hall Museum which will tell you more about the history of the place with the help of interactive exhibits,  live history programs, and alfresco theatre shows.

Another place you should explore is the Whiskey Row District, which was once one of America’s most infamous red-light districts. Today, the district has been transformed into a hip nightlife area where you can explore bars, clubs and live music venues.

Distance: 1 hour and 53 minutes 

Ideal for: History buffs

McDowell Mountain Regional Park, Arizona


Located around 30 minutes away from Scottsdale, McDowell Mountain Regional Park stretches for 21,000 acres. The regional park provides a huge area for exploring which makes it a great day trip from Scottsdale.

The McDowell Mountain Regional Park offers some of the best seasonal outdoor recreational opportunities in the greater Sedona area. The park is also home to some great multi-use trail networks, offering opportunities for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking.

There are three mountain biking trails as well which can be used for practicing biking. Apart from that, the park is also home to many animals like javelina, deer, and coyotes.

Distance: 30 minutes 

Ideal for: Outdoor enthusiasts

Desert Botanical Garden, Arizona

Desert Botanical Garden

Located in Central Phoenix, the Desert Botanical Garden holds one of the most spectacular collections of desert plants. Spread over an area of 140-acres, the botanical garden located within Phoenix’s Papago Park.

The garden was founded in 1937 by the Arizona Cactus and Native Flora Society and now it showcases more than  50,000 plantings of over 4,000 taxa, including 379 rare and endangered plant species. 

There are several trails through the gardens which you can explore, the Sonoran Desert Nature Loop Trail, the Desert Discovery Loop Trail, and the Plants and People of the Sonoran Desert Loop Trail.

After all, that hiking, sit down at the lovely patio cafe that serves great American dishes. 

Distance: 11 minutes 

Ideal for: Plant lovers

The Apache Trail, Arizona

Apache Trail

The Apache Trail is a famous attraction in Arizona and makes for an unforgettable destination. Drive past ghost towns and rugged desert scenery, which stretches through the Superstition Mountain. 

This trail was once home to the Apache Indians and spans the same route as modern-day AZ 88. Visitors can drive through the historic route today and explore its magnificent scenery at sites such as the Tonto National Forest and Theodore Roosevelt Lake.

Distance: 2 hours and 15 minutes 

Ideal for: Road trip lovers

Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area, Arizona

Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area

Located north of Scottsdale lies the Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area. The park encompasses a number of diverse Lower Sonoran desert habitats, including riparian creek habitats along the banks of picturesque Cave Creek.

Visitors can explore the park through a 10-mile  hiking trail network, or enjoy hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding in the park. Do visit the Mariposa Hill Trail which is named after the lilies.

Distance: 43 minutes 

Ideal for: Outdoor enthusiasts

Route 66, Arizona

Route 66

Drive two hours north to Flagstaff to pick up Route 66. It makes for a fascinating day trip from Scottsdale.

Route 66 was a crowning achievement of the mid-2oth century and it stretches between Chicago and Santa Monica. The 401-mile road is also referred to as the “Mother Road” by driving enthusiasts.

Also known for its kitschy roadside attractions, Route 66 makes for an interesting trip. There are many attractions throughout the highway like the unique Wigwam Village Motel, Painted Desert National Park, Black Mountain, and Meteor Crater.

Distance: 2 hours

Ideal for: Road trip lovers

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon is known the world over as a natural wonder which is preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the original Seven Wonders of the World, Grand Canyon National Park is an iconic landmark that must be visited if you are in Scottsdale.

It was established as a national park in 1919 and attracts the second-highest visitorship of any national park today. 

Here you will get to see amazing red, brown, and pink rock layers that were carved during Precambrian times by the flow of the majestic Colorado River. 

Distance: 3 hours and 55 minutes

Ideal for: Family fun

Flagstaff, Arizona


Flagstaff in Arizona is one of the most beautiful cities in the state as it is set against the stunning backdrop of the impressive San Francisco Peaks. 

The city is best known for the famed Arizona Snowbowl ski resort which is located 9200 feet above sea level. The resort offers excellent opportunities for skiing and winter sports.

You can also explore the historic downtown Square and stop by the Flagstaff Ale Trail for beers. 

Flagstaff also serves as a popular gateway for regional natural areas such as Grand Canyon National Park and Humphreys Peak.

Distance: 2 hours and 35 minutes

Ideal for: Family-friendly getaway

Sedona, Arizona


One of the most picturesque cities in Arizona, Sedona is located against the backdrop of stunning red sandstone rock formations. Located just two hours from Scottsdale, Sedona makes for one of the best day trips from the city.

It is a lovely city for shoppers as there are shops galore in Uptown Sedona. The city enjoys a mild-year round climate which makes this city a great pull for tourists.

It is also known as a great pull for New Age Tourism. Have your fill by roaming around the city’s charming New Age shops, boutiques, and art galleries or attend major annual special events like the Sedona Bluegrass Festival.

Distance: 2 hours and 13 minutes

Ideal for: New Age enthusiasts

Jerome, Arizona


Once a mining town, Jerome is now a bustling arts community that truly deserves a visit. The city is located at the site of the state’s largest former copper mine, which produced more than three million pounds of copper per month.

Now, you can tour the area as it is a part of the  Jerome State Historic Park and offers guided tours throughout the year.

Don’t forget to visit the eclectic boutiques, art galleries, and a mix of art studios as well.

Distance: 2 hours and 11 minutes

Ideal for: Art lovers

Verde Valley, Arizona

Verde Valley

Around 100 miles from the capital of Arizona lies Verde Valley which is a stunning natural area in central Arizona.  The Verder Valley is blessed with the Verde River which is one of the last remaining free-flowing river systems in the state.

The valley is home to amazing cities like Clarkdale, Cottonwood, Jerome, and Camp Verde and Sedona. 

A great point of interest here is the  Verde Canyon Railroad. The railroad is situated in Clarkdale and the train passes through 20 miles of land.

Distance: 31 minutes

Ideal for: Families

Tombstone, Arizona


Tombstone is a historic mining town and deserves a visit if you love history. The town is well known for its major role throughout the legendary Wild Wild West of the 19th century

It is also home to the renowned O.K. Corral, which hosted a famed 1881 gunfight between members of the Earp, Clanton, Claiborne, and McLaury families.

Change the pace a little and visit the iconic Bird Cage Theatre for a show or play.

Distance: 2 hours and 59 minutes

Ideal for: History lovers 

Tucson, Arizona


Tucson is one of the largest cities in Arizona and definitely deserves a visit. Located within Pima County, Tucson makes for a great trip from Scottsdale.

The city is also home to the University of Arizona. There are many family-friendly attractions that the visitors can explore like the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, which is home to wildlife parks and the Saguaro National Park.

Cultural attractions include the Pima Air and Space Museum and the Gaslight Theatre.

Distance: 1 hour and 50 minutes

Ideal for: Family getaway

Phoenix, Arizona


The bustling capital city of Arizona surely deserves a visit from Scottsdale. Home to over a million residents, Phoenix is the United States’ largest capital city.

The city is home to many cultural attractions including the unique historic attractions of Heritage Square. Just like any other big city, Phoenix is home to many bars, restaurants, museums, and art galleries.

Attractions in the city include Arizona Science Center and Phoenix Art Museum.

Distance: 21 minutes

Ideal for: Family getaway

Kartchner Caverns, Arizona

Kartchner Caverns

The impressive geological attractions at Kartchner Caverns deserve a visit. It is one of the most beautiful show caves which spans more than 2.4 miles of stunning underground natural passageways.

The caves were discovered by Randy Tufts and Gary Tenen in 1974. Today, you can tour the caverns and view natural wonders like the Throne Room, home to one of the longest soda straw stalactite formations in the world.

Distance: 2 hours and 35 minutes

Ideal for: Family getaway


Scottsdale in Arizona makes for one of the best places for doing some unusual and beautiful day trips. From the Grand Canyon to the historic cities of Tombstone, there are lots to explore in the state.

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