Although Scottsdale is known for its fabulous sense of community – including year-round festivals, art walks, farmers’ markets and so much more – sometimes you need a big adventure. If you’re looking for things to do in Arizona this weekend, indulge yourself in one of these three wild (and maybe a little off-the-beaten-path) adventures.
3 Things to Do in Arizona This Weekend (Especially if You Live in DC Ranch)
There’s no shortage of genuine ghost towns, hidden waterfalls and dramatic canyons in Arizona – and we have plenty of amusements and attractions, like Bearizona and Out of Africa. But those are typically pretty publicized, and that means they’re well-trafficked. If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary that nobody else knows about, you’re in luck. Try one of these three things to do in Arizona this weekend to dive into the parts of the Grand Canyon State’s secret history or its thrilling present:
- Explore Ruby Ghost Town
- Climb the walls of Walnut Canyon
- Drive from Clifton to Alpine
Here’s a closer look at each.
Things to Do in Arizona This Weekend: Explore Ruby Ghost Town
Ruby Ghost Town isn’t what you’d expect – it’s a real ghost town tucked down south, just 4 miles north of the Mexican border. Surrounded by the Coronado National Forest, it’s tough to find… but incredibly rewarding when you do. It was once the largest mining camp in southwestern Arizona, and it’s incredibly well-preserved.
The road to Ruby heads south from Arivaca. It’s a 12-mile drive, and half of it is unimproved and gravelly. It’s usually in good condition most of the way, although monsoons can really do a number on it. You should call the caretaker before you visit to make sure he’ll be there to let you in.
You can explore Ruby at your leisure (and at your own risk – there are open mine shafts all over the place) for $15 per adult (12 and older). You can also fish in the lake for $20 per person or camp for $20 per person per night. The gates are locked unless the caretaker knows you’re coming, so make sure you get in touch online or by phone before you head out. Unless you’re paying by PayPal, you’ll need the exact amount for your entry fee in cash.
Pro Tip: Wear good shoes. There are ancient (and rusty) nails on the ground in some places, and you’ll encounter broken glass in some of the buildings. As of summer 2020, there was a nest of rattlesnakes in the barn near the lake.
Things to Do in Arizona This Weekend: Climb the Walls of Walnut Canyon
Walnut Canyon isn’t one of Arizona’s most-trafficked National Monuments, but it should be. The naturally curved canyon walls, which are remarkable geological formations on their own, create breathtaking views – but when you couple the views with the knowledge that the Sinagua people inhabited carved-out cliff dwellings here more than 700 years ago, it becomes truly spectacular. You can stroll along the Island Trail to take a step back in time; Park Rangers walk up and down to answer your questions, point out unique formations and explain what the robust pueblo community was like in its heyday.
The ancient Sinaguan people who once lived in the canyon used rope and wooden ladders to get up and down the sharp cliffs; there were no trails or stairs leading to the dwellings. The Island Trail takes you to 25 of these dwellings and provides you with spectacular cross-canyon views of dozens more.
Things to Do in Arizona This Weekend: Drive From Clifton to Alpine
Clifton, in the heart of Greenlee County, is almost all the way to New Mexico – but it’s definitely worth the trip, especially if you take the “back way” through Miami. Clifton isn’t a huge, buzzing metropolis; it’s a small, hole-in-the-wall town that neighbors the Morenci Mine, Arizona’s largest copper operation. When you drive through the genuine floodgates at Clifton, you can marvel at the buildings still intact from the time of the Irish Orphan Abduction in 1904. Check out the old mining cabins and look for holes dug into the mountains behind them; the miners used to use them as refrigerators.
You might even see some of Clifton’s famed mountain goats, which often sit atop the old jail, skitter across the winding mountain roads, and even graze in the old miner’s cemetery across the road from the rock dump site at Morenci Mine.
Then, continue on to Morenci, where you can drive through the heart of the mine and into the stunningly beautiful mountains along the Coronado Trail. Keep heading north, through Hannagan Meadow, until you reach Alpine, where you can rent a cabin and stay the night before tackling the winding mountain roads again.
Are You Buying or Selling a Home in DC Ranch?
Thinking about selling your home in DC Ranch? Call us at 480-360-0281 to find out how we’ll market it to all the right buyers. If you’re also looking for a new home, we’d love show you any listing in the community. Let us know what you’re looking for and we’ll be happy to search for something that’s a perfect match for your needs.
While you’re here, check out our:
- Country Club Village homes for sale
- Desert Camp Village homes for sale
- Desert Parks Village homes for sale
- Silverleaf Village homes for sale