30 places to welcome spring

Blow the dust off winter with blooms gone wild, bike trips in the blossoms, gushing falls, and more

Listen for the rush of desert cascades
Photo by Joel Hazelton; written by Matthew Jaffe

Listen for the rush of desert cascades

Along the margin where the city and the Sonoran Desert converge east of Phoenix, spring reveals the desert not as a parched wasteland of bleached cow skulls, but as an ephemeral garden. When rains come (and this is looking like a good year), the Superstitions brighten—if briefly—with the vivid orange and yellow of desert wildflowers and flow with waterfalls (Peters Canyon, pictured). Catch them before they disappear.

Insider tip: “Reavis Falls is actually one of the tallest waterfalls in Arizona—nearly 196 feet,” says Jon Colby, a local hiking and mountain biking guide with Arizona Outback Adventures (aoa-adventures.com). “Some take long and tough hikes to reach. But right off State 88 at Fish Creek, there are small and pretty cascades. A few minutes and you’re there.”

Eat: Saddle up on a barstool (they’re real saddles) for a half-pound Bullrider Burger topped with cheese, bacon, and green chiles at Tortilla Flat. $; 20909 E. Apache Trail; 480/984-1776.

Stay: Rough it in the mountains, then indulge in the desert’s softer side at Scottsdale’s FireSky Resort and Spa. From $299; fireskyresort.com

Do: Hike the Peralta Trail past saguaros and dramatic boulder stacks to Fremont Saddle, 5 miles round-trip. Tonto National Forest; fs.usda.gov/tonto

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