Balloons, Birds and Waterfalls / Arizona Adventures Outside the Box

Hot air balloons drifting silently with the wind. These colorful gentle giants are more than seven stories tall! Photo:

Have you been ticking off those once-in-a-lifetime adventures on your Bucket List?  Here’s one to add if it isn’t already on yours – a Hot Air Balloon ride!  Picture yourself floating with the wind at 500′ to 4000′ above the ground with the breath-taking 360 degree views of the area.  The silence is broken only at those times the pilot flares the burner in order to add enough heat to maintain the desired altitude.  A chase crew follows your flight and is read to pack up the balloon and carry you back to your starting point.  Arizona offers commercial rides in Phoenix, Tucson, Sedona and more.  There are annual balloon festivals in Yuma, Tucson, Chandler, Lake Havasu, Sierra Vista, Safford where often visitors are able to join a chase crew and may just “earn” a free balloon ride.   These “gentle giants” are colorful and enchanting to watch as well as a wonderful way to get a different perspective on your vacation destination.

Ruby throated hummingbird – just one of a large variety that can be found at backyard feeders in Arizona. Photo:

Birders, bird watchers, nature-lovers can find a lot to love in Arizona.  There are many birding hot spots around the state.  The Sierra Vista area has several within short drives of each other as well as plenty of rooms if you plan to spend a few days there.  Located in the Southeast corner of the state, Sierra Vista is home to the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, internationally known Ramsey Canyon is just down the Highway, and less than an hour away is Madera Canyon – all popular with birders.  Those are just a few of the many places birders gather to peer through binoculars, hoping to sight that rare species for their life lists.   You may be surprised to learn that there are more than 400 species of birds found in this area, including hummingbirds of all colors and varieties.  Go to Explore Cochise dot com for a guide and more information.

Breathtaking Havasu Falls near the Grand Canyon is a hidden gem well worth the hike. Photo:

Do you love waterfalls?  In the desert, you ask?  Arizona is full of surprises!  The waterfalls in Arizona are mostly seasonal.  They are active during the snow melt in Spring, and during the monsoon season in Summer.  One of the most beautiful is Havasu Falls on the Havasupai Indian Reservation near the Grand Canyon.  It is nestled in a red-walled canyon which with its blue waters is quite the breath-taking sight.  There are no roads to this must-see spot.  One must walk or ride a mule eight miles down into the canyon where you can camp just north of the village at Havasu Campground.  Reservations and permits are required.  No pets allowed.

These are just a few of the many, many destinations Arizona has in store for you.  If you haven’t already planned a vacation here, we hope you will consider it in the near future!  Arizona – it’s more than just a Grand Canyon state.  Come see for yourself!

About Pat Mallett

One comment

  1. Pat this is a great report. I have never had a hot air balloon ride. My oldest daughter did and said it was thrilling. The chase car met she and her beau (and of course the balloon pilot) with a bottle of champagne, cheese and bread. Sounded so romantic.
    We were fortunate to enjoy a day trip on the Colorado River with Havasupai guides. We didn’t experience the worst rapids but the ones we did were enough for me. It is one of my most fond memories.
    Great article.
    Ginger Knox

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