If you're an outdoor adventurer, Arizona is a great playground for you to explore. The state has 24 National Park Service units where you can see natural wonders, get historical perspectives, visit a museum, boat, hike, picnic, or just relax.
On the map, you'll find the locations of Arizona's national parks, monuments, and recreation areas. You'll notice that there are no federal parks in Maricopa County, where Phoenix is located and where most Arizonans live. There are several, however, within a few hours from most Greater Phoenix locations—close enough for a day trip if that's all the time you have. The parks noted on the map in red are within 120 miles of Phoenix.
As you plan your visit to Arizona's national parks, be aware that the weather differs greatly in different parts of the state, as do the elevations of the parks. Dress accordingly, and be prepared for inclement weather in Northern Arizona during the winter.
National Parks Within Two Hours of Phoenix
North of Phoenix
- Tonto National Monument (visitor center, cliff dwellings)
- Montezuma Castle National Monument (museum, trails, cliff dwellings)
- Tuzigoot National Monument (museum, trails)
South of Phoenix
- Casa Grande Ruins National Monument (museum, outdoor ruins trail)
- Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (scenic drive, hiking, camping )
- Saguaro National Park (hiking, biking, scenic drive)
What to Know About Visiting a National Park in Arizona
Each Arizona national park, monument, and recreation area is unique, so be sure to check for detailed and up-to-date information at the U.S. National Park Service. In general, however, the following applies to national park areas.
- Some national parks charge a per-person fee, some charge a per-vehicle fee, and some are free for everyone. The website for each park is included in the map, where you can check the fees. Grand Canyon National Park charges by the vehicle, and the permit is good for seven days. Of course, tours, boating, and other activities arranged at the parks with third parties have independent fees.
- National parks that normally charge admission are usually free on the following dates: Martin Luther King Jr. Day (in January); first day of National Park Week (in April); National Public Lands Day (in September); and Veterans Day (in November).
- At the parks that permit camping, you can check availability and make reservations at Recreation.gov.
- Leashed pets (on leashes that are no more than 6-feet-long) are allowed at national parks, but they may not be off the leash, tied up, or confined. What that means is that if you are planning to spend more than an afternoon at a national park, you should probably leave your pet at home or at a hotel. Don't assume that you can take your dog on the hiking trails without checking first with the park you'll be visiting.
- Many parks have special events and activities during the year. Check the calendar. You'll find historical enactments, star parties, archaeology programs, bird walks, guided tours, and more ways to enjoy Arizona's natural beauty.
How to Get a National Parks Pass
Anyone can purchase an annual pass at federal recreation sites or online. Military and dependents can get a free annual pass. Seniors age 62 and older can get a lifetime access pass for a reasonable fee. People with permanent disabilities can get a free pass. Certain volunteers at federal agencies can get a free pass. Proof of U.S. citizenship, permanent residency, or disability may be required to obtain certain passes.