Description - Known as the "Valley of the Sun," and covering over 400 square miles, the Phoenix metropolitan area lies southwest of the Mazatzal Mountains, near where the Verde and Salt Rivers meet. Green lawns prevail in this city in the central Arizona desert. Phoenix supports the largest population of any Arizona city at over one million people.
Cultural attractions within Phoenix include the Heard Museum, the most acclaimed in the city, featuring Native American works of art and ethnographic objects. The Pueblo Grande Museum and Cultural Park is located in east Phoenix and provides visitors with information about the Hohokam Indians and their lifestyle. Also in the city is the Desert Botanical Garden that maintains over 2,000 species of desert and exotic plants along a two mile nature trail.
Natural Areas abound in and around Phoenix. The Phoenix South Mountain Park lies south of the city and includes Dobbins Lookout at 2,330 feet. Tempe and Papago Parks lie immediately west of Arizona State University in eastern Phoenix. Squaw Peak Park and North Mountain Park are green areas in northern Phoenix. Extensive National Forest lands in the Tonto National Forest lie north and east of the city. Lost Dutchman and McFarland State Parks are both located in this region. Casa Grande Ruins National Monument lies southeast of Phoenix and encompasses 60 structures built by ancient Pueblo peoples over 600 years ago.
Recreation - Recreation abounds in this southwestern city. Walking, viewing exhibits, hiking and photography opportunities are available within the city. Camping, hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking opportunities are numerous in the public lands north of the city.
Climate - Winters in this area bring beautiful weather, with mild warm days (60- 70F) and cool nights (40's). Summers can be extremely hot with daytime temperatures of 100-115 degrees, and evening lows in the 70's to 80's. Long hikes are not recommended in the summer. Even short hikes require lots of water, a hat, and sun screen lotion. The higher elevations of this area experience much cooler temperatures and higher amounts of precipitation. The mountains of this region often receive snowfall during the winter months.
This region encompasses the area within about a fifty mile radius of Phoenix, including Casa Grande, Scottsdale, Mesa, Sun City, and Cave Creek. Prescott National Forest lies north of the city and Tonto National Forest lies to the east. Interstates 17 and 10 intersect in Phoenix.