Southern Arizona can do little to escape its cliché-ridden image as a landscape of cow skulls, tumbleweeds, dried-up riverbeds, and mother lodes—but it doesn’t need to. Abandoned mining towns, sleepy Western hamlets, rugged rock formations, and deep pine forests beckon visitors for birding, hiking, and horseback riding, as well as more tame adventures like wine-tasting, stargazing, and moseying down historic main streets. This diverse range of activities, along with the feel of stepping back in time, affords a rich and satisfying tour.In 1540, 80 years before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, Spanish conquistador Don Francisco Vásquez de Coronado led one of Spain’s largest expeditions from Mexico along the fertile San Pedro River valley, where the little towns of Benson and S… Read More
The western side of the state wasn’t untouched by the search for mineral booty and the rage to plunder. Interest in going for the gold in California gave rise to the town of Yuma. The Colorado River had to be crossed to get to the West Coast, and Fort Yuma was established in part to protect the Anglo ferry business at a good fording point from Indian competitors. The Yuma Tribe lost that battle, but another group of Native Americans, the Tohono O’odham, fared better in this part of the state. Known for a long time as the Papago, or "bean eaters," they were deeded a large portion of their ancestral homeland by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, and you’ll traverse their vast reservation if you travel to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and Kitt Peak Observatory.