8 Best Places to Hike and Swim in Arizona

By Sarah Hunt, AZFB Communications Intern

Hiking and swimming are just a few of the fun activities Arizona has to offer. Since it is so hot right now, I recommend doing the trails with a swimming hole at the end so you can cool off! If you go on a regular hike, make sure to go early in the morning and bring plenty of water. In a few months it will be cool enough to hike later in the morning and evenings! Here are some of my favorite spots as well as a few I’m excited to try. Make sure to check online for their hours before you go, some may be closed due to COVID-19 or wildfires.


  1. Lake Powell: If you’re up for a road trip, Lake Powell is one of the best places to swim, go boating, camp/go houseboating, jet ski, and wakeboard. Enjoy the scenic red rock and blue water as you adventure through hiking spots like Hole in the Rock, Sandy Hill, or Rainbow Bridge.


  1. Bull Pen: This site has hiking options as well as a swimming hole, complete with a rope swing and cliff jumping spots. Bring the whole family or some friends. Bring a picnic and make a day of it!


  1. Fossil Creek: The swimming hole here has beautiful, clear water. It requires a one mile hike to the natural pool. The roads are rough so ensure you have a car able to handle it, and buy a Tonto pass at your local gas station so you will be able to get in.


  1. Saguaro Lake: Our family loves to go boating, wakeboarding and wakesurfing here because it’s close to the valley and has plenty of water to play in. But even without a boat, this is a great place for camping, picnics, swimming, tubing, paddle boarding, fishing and kayaking.


  1. San Tan Regional Park: I like this park because it has a variety of difficulty levels for their trails. There’s the steep Goldmine trail if you’re looking for more of workout, or there’s Dynamite trail, which is mostly flat but is made more for distance. See below for a picture of the view at sunset! It has lots of switchbacks and is a great trail for walking. And did I mention the whole park is dog-friendly? Don’t forget to bring a leash!

  1. Canyon Lake: Canyon Lake is pretty similar to Saguaro Lake, and is a great option for the same activities if it’s closer to where you live or if Saguaro is too busy for you.


  1. Wave Cave Trail: This is a moderate hike; it makes for a good family outing. At the end you can take pictures in the Wave Cave, where it looks like your standing on a wave of rock!


  1. Water Wheel Falls Hiking Trail: Make sure to bring your swimsuit and a towel! This is a mile and a half hike to Ellison Falls Swim Hole. It is moderately difficult and makes a great place to walk, hike, swim, and appreciate nature.

Make sure to check out Fill Your Plate’s blog for more fun summer activities!

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