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About Arizona

Once known as the Arizona Territory, Arizona became the 48th of the United States in 1912. But evidence at ruins sites suggests that the region was inhabited as early as 500 BC.

Like maps? Here ya go.

I plotted all my favorite places on this map for easy reference:

Arizona quick facts:

  • 35+ million acres of public lands
  • 35 state parks covering more than 64,000 acres
  • 20 national parks and monuments
  • 6 national forests

With over 114,000 square miles of land between its borders, you could fit the state of Indiana into Arizona three times and still have room to squeeze in Delaware and Rhode Island.

Saguaro cactus in natural desert habitat
Saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea ) can grow over 40 feet tall.

The tall, stately Saguaro cactus is an Arizona icon. Sure, there’s an expansive desert landscape here, but so is the largest forest of Ponderosa Pine trees in the world.

Much of the state receives only ten inches or less of rain per year, yet it’s incredibly blessed with GORGE-ous rivers and lakes that rarely freeze over. Oh, and there’s a large canyon here, too.

Are you ready to explore an amazing place loaded with unexpected sights, sounds and experiences?

Paul-Fiarkoski-Emerging-Mindeleff-Cavates-080418-cropped
My name is Paul and I’ll be your guide on this exciting Arizona Wonders journey.

I started this blog in 2017 after living in Arizona for five years. It’s my attempt to help showcase the amazing beauty of the Grand Canyon State for all to see. My goal is to share insights into this magnificent place that will help you explore the unique nooks and crannies of Arizona.

My obsession with the many wonders of Arizona began in 2014 when I went on a group hike with my church to an amazing place called Havasupai. Pictures might make you think you’re looking at a remote place on an island in the tropics.


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The journey to Havasupai started with a 5-hour bus ride from Phoenix to a dusty parking lot in the remote western stretches of the Grand Canyon. From there, our group hiked eight miles down into the canyon to a very basic lodge managed by the people of Supai village. As we neared the community, we crossed a small, swift-running creek of clear water that originated from a spring.

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Havasupai Falls

The next morning, we ventured down the canyon a few more miles. Every hundred yards or so, the creek got a little wider and ran a little faster. Eventually, we began to see small waterfalls. The falls got bigger and bigger as we ventured on. I felt like I was experiencing a place only possible in dreams.

Before I knew it, I was looking at a gushing waterfall that poured well over a hundred feet (33 meters) into a massive, clear turquoise-blue pool carved out of rock-like travertine. Unbelievably, we would come upon an even larger, more stunning fall further downstream. I felt like I was experiencing a place only possible in dreams.

Check out some of my photos from the Havasupai experience below. (Click any thumbnail image for larger view).

My Arizona Bucket list

The trip to Havasupai opened my eyes to a whole new perspective of Arizona and it changed my life. I couldn’t help wondering:

“If that magnificent place was accessible only to those willing to get out of the car (or bus in my case) and venture out, what else was out there waiting to be experienced?”

I chose to no longer just live in Arizona, but to actually seek out adventure and explore it. There are so many amazing natural wonders to see in Arizona that I created a bucket list.

Plot twist: my Arizona Bucket List is now a book

How this blog came to life

Before I started the blog, I used to post pictures on Facebook and tell a story or two after each adventure. My Facebook connections really began to take notice, even though many of them don’t live in Arizona.

I began to realize that more and more of my Facebook updates were about the wonders of Arizona, so I decided to set up this blog and named it AZ Wonders. The response has been fantastic!

Blog traffic growth since 2017

Feedback and encouragement from my followers keep me going. Through the WordPress blogging service I use, I am able to see which posts appeal to people most. In 2020, the blog registered over 100,000 views.

Recent blog posts:

This one post on azwonders.com is viewed by tens of thousands of people from around the world each year: Superstition Mountains cougar shadow. It ranks very high when people search for that amazing natural phenomenon that happens only a few days during the year, and only in Arizona.

time lapse of cougar shadow appearing and disappearing on a mountain
Time lapse image of the Superstition Mountains Cougar from 4th Ave & Goldfield Rd in Apache Junction
See the most viewed posts in recent days at the bottom of this page.

My favorite Arizona places

I am often asked what my favorite natural wonder in Arizona is. It’s hard to choose one, but below I’ve listed a few experiences that I’d love to do again and again.

Then, there’s this incredible place I fell in love with on an 8-day camping road trip around Navajo Nation in 2019: Walk in the footsteps of ancient Anasazi people at Rock Art Ranch near Winslow

How to use this site

If you made it this far down the page, you’re clearly interested in what I’m doing. Here are a few ways to get the most out of this site.

Use the menu at the top of the site to browse all kinds of cool stuff

Screen shot of AZ Wonders home menu

Explore Arizona

Click on the Explore Arizona drop-down to see posts categorized by topics such as hiking, mountains, plants, water, and more. Click on topics and tags for more articles similar to the one you’re viewing.

Insiders Guide

Under the Insiders Guide tab, you’ll find unique images and guest posts from other Arizona explorers, plus product reviews and other tips to help you get the most out of your Arizona adventures.

Example: type Grand Canyon and click the search icon to find all AZ Wonders posts that mention your search word(s).

Connect

  • Rate or like the posts (5 stars make me happy)
  • Use the comment box to ask questions or tell me what you’d like to see
  • Share AZ Wonders with others who might be interested

Become an AZ Wonders insider

You’ll get notified by email every time there’s a new post.

Start your AZ Wonders adventure now

I am so glad you’re here! Arizona is a place full of exciting adventures. Now, all you have to do is click around to explore more. Hang around and keep coming back because I’ve just begun to scratch the surface. There are so many more wonders to explore. And I want to share them all with you.

One more shameless plug for the Arizona Bucket List Adventure Guide & Journal:

Want the inside scoop on more amazing places like this? Grab a copy of Arizona Bucket List Adventure Guide.

17 Comments

    1. Thanks, katelon! I’ve been putting it off in favor of pursuing adventures. This is the year I get serious about doing things more strategically with the blog. Happy 2018 to you!

  1. We will definitely check this out when we come back from the east. Although we spent our time in the Tucson area during winter there are still a lot of natural wonders to be explored in AZ. Perhaps you might want to check my Arizona postings too, there may be areas you have not explored yet.

  2. Great blog! Thank you for coming over and checking out my blog and taking the time to comment. I have enjoyed a few of your posts and am thrilled to find someone else who loves this state as much as me.

    I am so grateful to live in this gorgeous state. We hike and 4 wheel in many beautiful places and come across some of the most beautiful places in the Back Country of this amAZing Arizona.

    Keep on posting and enjoying this wonderful state… your followers love it! (Especially the new ones!) 😊

    1. Thanks for the feedback. I haven’t gone off road much yet, except for hiking, but I admit I got a little OHV envy driving back from Lake Havasu last weekend. The people roaming around out in the desert make it look so fun.

      1. It is fun!
        We have a Jeep and head out about twice a week with several other 4 wheelers. I am going to post soon about the Back Country near Castle Hot Springs on Castle Creek Rd.
        We were in awe the whole trip!
        Merry Christmas!

      2. Sounds fun! We have a Jeep Wrangler but it’s not outfitted with all the stuff I see on many of the vehicles I see heading out there. Don’t want to turn it into an unintended camping trip, if you know what I mean.

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