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