Apache Trail Road, Phoenix, Arizona (Sam Clemens/Photographer's Choice)

Camelback Mountain Echo Canyon Recreation Area, Phoenix, Arizona (Greater Phoenix CVB)

Night view of downtown Phoenix, Arizona (Greater Phoenix CVB)

Running in Papago Park, Phoenix, Arizona (Greater Phoenix CVB)

METRO Light Rail in Phoenix, Arizona (Greater Phoenix CVB)

Rocks and cacti in Phoenix, Arizona (Greater Phoenix CVB)

Phoenix, Arizona at dusk (iStockphoto)

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What to do in Phoenix

As America’s sixth-largest city (population: 1.5 million), Phoenix offers a surprising amount of outdoor adventure and wilderness solitude. Covering more than 16,500 acres on the city’s southern fringe, South Mountain Park and Preserve offers more than 50 miles of trails flanked by towering cacti and ancient Anasazi petroglyphs. While you certainly aren’t guaranteed solitude at iconic Camelback Mountain, this Phoenix rite of passage will get your heart rate up as you make the final, rugged ascent. For a more laid-back approach to the outdoors, visitors can hop on a trusty steed and tour the mountain ranges throughout the area or lace up their sneakers for a stroll through Phoenix’s Desert Botanical Garden, where a collection of 50,000 arid-land plants line five thematic trails.

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