On the heels of news of more state park closures, I figured I should out myself as a mediocre park visitor. The truth is, despite being a native Arizonan, I’ve only visited about half of our state parks. In my defense, I’m not a boater and have thus avoided water-related parks, and our national park quest has kept me plenty busy. Nonetheless, several state parks have been on “to-see” list for quite some time. In particular, I’ve unsuccessfully tried to schedule daytrips to the Yuma parks, Riordan Mansion, and the Patagonia/Sonoita Creek area. Having recently taken up kayaking, I also thought I’d get to a few more of the state parks to do some paddling. I guess I’d better hurry the hell up.
Arizona State Parks I’ve visited:
- Boyce Thompson Arboretum
- Fort Verde
- Homolovi Ruins
- Kartchner Caverns
- Lost Dutchman
- Picacho Peak
- Red Rock
- Slide Rock
- Tonto Natural Bridge
- Tubac Presidio
I would be hard pressed to choose my favorite Arizona state park. It might be Lost Dutchman, simply because the front range of the Superstitions hold such personal meaning to me. Picacho Peak is also on that list – even though I’ve only been to the park once, it’s been a constant and important landmark (the way Chimney Rock was to Oregon Trail travelers). I’ve been to most all of the national park caves, and Kartchner Caverns truly is world-class. I have a ton of great childhood memories of Tonto Natural Bridge. Hmm, tough call.
Favorite state park: (tie) Tonto Natural Bridge/Kartchner Caverns/Lost Dutchman
Most surprising state park: Homolovi
Last state park visited: Catalina
Out of state parks
In our roadtrip travels, we’ve also hit quite a few out of state parks. I’d have to do some research to list them all, but I’m guess there’s at least another forty or fifty or so (including more than 20 in California alone).
Favorite out of state park: (tie) Big Basin (California), Custer (South Dakota)
Most surprising out of state park: (tie) Louisiana Purchase (Arkansas), Oregon Trail Ruts (Wyoming)
Last out of state park visited: Poverty Point (Louisiana)