Tag Archives: sonoran desert

Steve Moore, president and CEO of Visit Phoenix; Andrea Streat, director of meetings and events for the American Alliance of Museums; Alyssa Kolat, conference manager for the International Association of Fire Chiefs; and James Jessie, senior vice president of sales at Visit Phoenix.

Visit Phoenix spearheads sales blitz in D.C.

Commuters hailing a cab or waiting for public transit in Washington, D.C. this month are likely to get a glimpse of iconic Phoenix imagery before their trip commences.

Visit Phoenix (CVB) is blitzing the D.C. area with a transit-based advertising buy that includes mini-billboards atop taxis and digital posters in transit stations. The ads showcase Visit Phoenix’s “This is Phoenix” ad campaign, which is built around dramatic photography of Greater Phoenix outdoor activity in the Sonoran Desert.

The ad blitz coincides with a sales mission in the Washington D.C. area by Visit Phoenix, the Phoenix Convention Center, and nine of the city’s largest hotels and resorts. The convention sales mission delegation will meet with professional associations and national trade unions, hundreds of which are headquartered in and around the nation’s capital.

Visit Phoenix staff just completed its fiscal year with a 30% increase in Phoenix Convention Center future year bookings and a strong rebound in resort/hotel leads and bookings. Continuing this momentum, the Phoenix convention sales delegation will meet with more than 250 DC convention planners and association executives through sales appointments, reception-trade shows, and a meeting planner forum during its three-day sales mission.

“Washington is a hotbed for meetings and conventions, and our sales team maintains a strategic presence there with in-market offices and annual events,” said Melissa Gogel, vice president of marketing, communications and tourism for Visit Phoenix. “To support those sales efforts, we’re placing our new ‘This is Phoenix’ ads in some high-traffic transit locations. The goal is to increase the exposure of the Visit Phoenix brand in one of our most important markets, and to do it at a time when our sales team is saturating the market with face-to-face calls.”

The delegation of sales professionals from Phoenix will host four events during the next three days, with one event each in Washington, Alexandria, VA and Chevy Chase, MD.

Phoenix was ranked No. 10 in the list of the “Top 50 U.S. Cities for Conventions in 2013,” according to Cvent, a technology company that connects event planners with more than 200,000 venues in destinations across the United States. Phoenix earned its top-10 destination based on its weather, its air-travel accessibility, its spectrum of meeting-friendly hotels and resorts, and its newly expanded convention center.

“The Phoenix Convention Center was expanded with big association groups in mind,” Gogel said. “It has the space and sophistication to host the biggest of them, or to host smaller ones concurrently. Our focus is to keep the convention center, the hotels and resorts, and the destination as a whole at the top of mind for meeting planners in D.C. and beyond.”

golf

Camelback Inn Announces New $10 Million Golf Course

The JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa announced that it will unveil its new Ambiente golf course at Camelback Golf Club in the fall of 2013. Spanish for the word “environment,” Ambiente, which is designed with a detailed eco-friendly focus, will become the first new golf course development project in the Phoenix-Scottsdale and Paradise Valley areas in over five years, and one of a select group of new courses to be built nationwide.

The completion of the $10 million Ambiente golf course will culminate a seven-year, $70 million Marriott renewal project at Camelback Inn, designed to blend reverence for the past with relevance for the future. From preserving the resort’s 1930s adobe brick to the stylish renovation of the Inn’s 453 casita-style guestrooms, and from a new 20,000 square-foot, hi-tech grand ballroom to the debut of BLT Steak, Laurent Tourondel’s modern American steakhouse, the renewal project involved virtually every aspect of the historic resort. Today the new-look 125-acre Camelback Inn, set on its Sonoran Desert surroundings in Paradise Valley, strikes the perfect balance between showcasing the best of the resort’s storied past, while setting a visionary course for the future.

Adding to the lore of Camelback, Ambiente is expected to gain golf industry-wide acclaim for its distinct design, the challenging, yet enjoyable experience it presents to golfers of all levels and the overall aesthetic and environmental qualities it brings to the Phoenix-Scottsdale area. In concert with the popular Padre golf course, Ambiente will help to establish a one-of-a-kind 36-hole Southwest golf destination, for both leisure and group golfers, within the enchanting resort atmosphere of the Camelback Inn.

“Ambiente is more than just a new golf course, for it represents the final phase in Marriott’s unmatched commitment to reinvigorate Camelback Inn for the future, while preserving its history and the unique Southwestern style that has made it a favorite for generations of travelers,” said Jim Rose, General Manager, JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa. “While Ambiente is sure to distract golfers with its natural beauty and breathtaking views of Mummy Mountain, Camelback, the McDowells and the Phoenix Mountain Preserve, our golfing guests will find a friendly test of skill and shotmaking that will redefine the golf experience at a resort long known for its exceptional service, palette pleasing food, luxurious accommodations and spirit of adventure.”

The launch of Ambiente, which replaces the old Indian Bend golf course, will create a uniquely different golf experience than the Padre course, which today is regarded as a great parkland style golf course that, while scenic, boasts numerous water hazards, towering Pine and Eucalyptus trees and 18 golf holes that will test every golfer’s ability. In contrast, Ambiente, which was designed by notable golf architect Jason Straka on behalf of Hurdzan/Fry Environmental Golf Design, will present a distinct challenge where accuracy and a good strategy command the day, as every hole will force even the best players to focus on each and every shot. Golfers will find the eye-catching elevation changes, as well as rolling fairways with significant drops throughout the course, are among its most striking features.

Ambiente will also feature five sets of tee boxes, designed to positively impact today’s golf industry “growth of the game” effort. The new forward tees have no forced carries and offer easier approach angles, which create opportunities for aspiring golfers to enjoy regardless of their playing ability. One of the most golfer-friendly features of Ambiente is the creatively shaped greens. The overall green acreage, which stands at about 122,000 square feet, offers great movement, character and feel. Visually intimidating, the putting surfaces are very fair, but will challenge golfers to bring their best putting stroke every time out.

Environment is a significant part of the Ambiente golf course story, which centers on water conservation, wildlife habitat creation and an overall 50 percent decrease in pesticide/fertilizer and fossil fuel use, as compared to the former Indian Bend golf course. The design and layout of the course will be highlighted by 100 acres of new native desert and grass areas that will feature a mix of acacias, jojobas and sagebrush among many other desert shrubs and grasses, as well as an eye-catching collection of both summer and winter desert wildflower mixes.

These native areas, which will require one-third less water than Indian Bend, will be complemented by 85 acres of hybrid turf grass that also requires significantly less water, while reducing the daily labor and machinery intensive maintenance of traditional Bermuda grass. Overall, the combined native areas will give the course a more Northern desert look compared to the area’s traditional Sonoran Desert layouts, making it a must-play Southwestern layout in Paradise Valley.

From an Audubon standpoint, Ambiente is designed to cater to wildlife, which is part of Marriott’s overall role as a steward of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary program. By removing over 100 acres of turf grass and replacing it with native desert and grass areas, bird inventory, as well as the local mammal population, will increase substantially.

Adds Rose, “Environmental consciousness has long been a hallmark at Marriott, and we believe that Ambiente is a perfect example of the Company’s commitment to protecting wildlife and natural resources, while continually serving as a leader in eco-friendly business practices. Upon completion, we expect golfers in the community will find that Ambiente stands alongside the premier golf landscapes in the Phoenix-Scottsdale market, while we expect the course to redefine the destination golf experience for group and leisure customers visiting the Camelback Inn.”

guayule

Guayule could drive Arizona’s economy

It’s common knowledge that America’s largest import is oil, but do you know what’s second? Hint: it’s a commodity used for tires, hoses and thousands of household products.

The United States imports 100% of it’s natural rubber from the Hevea tree grown in nations like Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. Once upon a time, there was enough rubber to supply all of our needs, thanks to imported natural rubber and synthetics made from petroleum, but like with everything else in the global economy, the need for rubber is being stretched beyond it’s supply.

Enter Arizona, the home of a native Sonoran Desert plant called guayule (why-you-ly). A hundred years ago, it was touted by names like Edison, Firestone, Ford and Rockefeller as the panacea for our nation’s rubber shortage. Ironically, it even appeared on the front page of the New York Times on December 7th 1941, touted as a backstop supply of rubber in case of Japanese aggression. Shortly thereafter, over 25,000 acres was put into production as part of the war effort.

Unfortunately, like every other time guayule has cropped up, worldwide prices or geopolitics have conspired to cut it down before long-term research could be done–until now.

In 2009, a Casa Grande company, PanAridus, started acquiring the largest privately owned germ plasm bank of guayule on the planet, marrying the sciences of genetics and bio-agriculture to making guayule profitable for farmers to grow and for tire companies to use in the manufacturing process.

Guayule and Arizona are a match made for a planet with finite resources. Not only does the plant use about half the water as conventional crops like cotton or alfalfa, but it’s grown on unproductive and arid land. One hundred percent of the plant is used, either for rubber, resins or as cellulosic biomass.

With consistent testing in hand, PanAridus is now growing more guayule per acre than can be grown by tapping the Hevea tree, and this past autumn for the first time in history, guayule samples were publicly offered to be tested against ‘traditional’ rubber sources that have been used to make tires, tubing and medical supplies.

Will 100 years be worth the wait? With an exploding Asian market, the possibilities for a center for the $300 billion tire industry being sited in Arizona look positive. PanAridus is currently looking at sites for a test facility in rural Arizona that will allow it to grow its patented strains in large enough quantities for tire companies not just to test its purity, but to actually blend it into the tires they sell all around the world.

Blending rural agronomy with genetics to grow crops like guayule will give us key strategic advantages we need not only to create jobs at home and increase profits at the farm gate, but also to create a ‘best practices’ sustainable industry that can be exported around the world.

 

Michael Fraley is CEO of PanAridus. Learn more at www.PanAridus.com.

guayule

Guayule could drive Arizona's economy

It’s common knowledge that America’s largest import is oil, but do you know what’s second? Hint: it’s a commodity used for tires, hoses and thousands of household products.

The United States imports 100% of it’s natural rubber from the Hevea tree grown in nations like Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. Once upon a time, there was enough rubber to supply all of our needs, thanks to imported natural rubber and synthetics made from petroleum, but like with everything else in the global economy, the need for rubber is being stretched beyond it’s supply.

Enter Arizona, the home of a native Sonoran Desert plant called guayule (why-you-ly). A hundred years ago, it was touted by names like Edison, Firestone, Ford and Rockefeller as the panacea for our nation’s rubber shortage. Ironically, it even appeared on the front page of the New York Times on December 7th 1941, touted as a backstop supply of rubber in case of Japanese aggression. Shortly thereafter, over 25,000 acres was put into production as part of the war effort.

Unfortunately, like every other time guayule has cropped up, worldwide prices or geopolitics have conspired to cut it down before long-term research could be done–until now.

In 2009, a Casa Grande company, PanAridus, started acquiring the largest privately owned germ plasm bank of guayule on the planet, marrying the sciences of genetics and bio-agriculture to making guayule profitable for farmers to grow and for tire companies to use in the manufacturing process.

Guayule and Arizona are a match made for a planet with finite resources. Not only does the plant use about half the water as conventional crops like cotton or alfalfa, but it’s grown on unproductive and arid land. One hundred percent of the plant is used, either for rubber, resins or as cellulosic biomass.

With consistent testing in hand, PanAridus is now growing more guayule per acre than can be grown by tapping the Hevea tree, and this past autumn for the first time in history, guayule samples were publicly offered to be tested against ‘traditional’ rubber sources that have been used to make tires, tubing and medical supplies.

Will 100 years be worth the wait? With an exploding Asian market, the possibilities for a center for the $300 billion tire industry being sited in Arizona look positive. PanAridus is currently looking at sites for a test facility in rural Arizona that will allow it to grow its patented strains in large enough quantities for tire companies not just to test its purity, but to actually blend it into the tires they sell all around the world.

Blending rural agronomy with genetics to grow crops like guayule will give us key strategic advantages we need not only to create jobs at home and increase profits at the farm gate, but also to create a ‘best practices’ sustainable industry that can be exported around the world.

 

Michael Fraley is CEO of PanAridus. Learn more at www.PanAridus.com.

NYSubwayWrap_SpaExterior

Scottsdale Launches Warm-Weather Campaign

The Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau is promoting Scottsdale as a warm-weather destination in New York, Canada, and other top markets with the launch of its 2013 warm-weather marketing campaign.

During February 2013, New Yorkers riding the 42nd Street subway will find themselves soaking up the sun in the Sonoran Desert, relaxing in a Scottsdale spa or taking a casual stroll along the fairway. The exteriors and interiors of three subway cars will be wrapped with Scottsdale’s unique tourism assets: the Sonoran Desert, Old West heritage, spas and golf. Each wrap will direct riders to StepIntoScottsdale.com.

The chosen line connects Grand Central Station and Times Square, the two busiest subway stations in the country. Each day, 100,000 riders will spend their daily commute surrounded by iconic images of Scottsdale, with more than 33.6 million viewers during the campaign’s duration.

In addition to the New York subway wrap, the bureau will promote Scottsdale’s sun-soaked winter season through television commercials, radio spots, online and mobile ads, and billboards.

From Dec. 31 through March 31, Scottsdale’s local-weather forecast, including a weather-sensitive ad that will appear when the weather in viewer’s area reaches a certain chilly temperature, will appear on Weather Channel Canada. This national buy includes television ads that will be seen by 21.8 million viewers. Canadian Traffic Network in Toronto and Edmonton also will feature Scottsdale radio spots that are expected to reach more than 8 million listeners.

Additionally, the bureau will promote Scottsdale in Chicago, Denver and New York via Weather.com. Weather.com users who access the website from a downloaded desktop app or a mobile app will see a banner ad with Scottsdale’s high temperature. Likewise, digital billboards in Chicago will flash Scottsdale’s temperature and the campaign-landing page WarmUpinScottsdale.com, serving as a constant reminder of the sunny paradise in the Southwest.

Resort  South Pool 2 mb

Final phase of $60 million Fairmont Scottsdale Princess renovation

Fairmont Sc­ottsdale Princess, a distinctive AAA Five-Diamond Southwest resort in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, is announcing the final phase of its full-scale, five-year $60 million property renovation plan. Designed to enhance the guest experience for both leisure and corporate travelers, the improvements coincide with the resort’s 25th anniversary in December 2012, underscoring its continued evolution and status as a vibrantly contemporary, premier entity in the hospitality market. The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is owned by a joint venture between Strategic Hotels & Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: BEE) and Walton Street Capital, L.L.C. The resort’s renovation strategy is the innovation of Strategic Hotels, who also serves as the resort’s asset manager.

Set to be complete in spring 2013, the final $25 million phase of the resort’s renovation plan includes the debut of the Palomino Conference Center and remodeling of the Princess Conference Center (opening November 1, 2012); the introduction of the innovative Well & Being at Willow Stream Spa; the outdoor enhancement of Michael Mina’s BOURBON STEAK; the addition of a “living wall” to the resort’s façade; the re-concepting of the resort’s three-meal restaurant LV Bistro and enhancing the Fragrance Garden for weddings and group events.

“We are proud to unveil these exciting additions, which will highlight the resort’s meetings and events, spa and culinary offerings,” said Jack Miller, General Manager of the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. “We are particularly eager to debut the new Palomino Conference Center and newly renovated Princess Conference Center,” Miller said. “The expanded and upgraded facilities will further establish Fairmont Scottsdale Princess as a preeminent meetings and events destination, and our cutting edge spa and wellness offerings will serve as great assets to planners and guests alike.”

The Phoenician in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The Phoenician To Offer “5 Days to Get Away” Discovery Package On Cyber Monday

The Phoenician, Arizona’s premier AAA Five Diamond resort destination in Scottsdale, Ariz., will take part in Cyber Monday, November 26, the busiest online shopping day of the holiday season, unveiling its exclusive “5 Days to Get Away” package.

The special offer can be booked through November 30, 2012, for stays between December 1, 2012 and March 31, 2013. The package includes:

  • AAA Five Diamond luxury accommodations, with guestrooms starting at 600 square feet
  • Daily breakfast for two
  • A 1-hour-and-15-minute, round-trip aerial sightseeing tour for two of Desert Splash Adventures’s “Apache Air Trail,” featuring spectacular views of the Sonoran Desert and Tonto Basin with a water landing on Lake Roosevelt

The 250-acre Phoenician, located at the base of Camelback Mountain, offers both a 583-room AAA Five Diamond luxury resort hotel and an exclusive Five Diamond boutique hotel, The Canyon Suites. The 60-room Canyon Suites provides more intimate surroundings and enhanced services, creating an atmosphere of uncompromising splendor. The Phoenician’s cuisine includes Il Terrazzo, J&G Steakhouse and Relish Burger Bistro. A championship golf course, 11 tennis courts, boutique shops, nine swimming pools, a $25 million art collection and The Center for Well-Being and Salon Mila are on-site as well.

Rates start at just $529 per night, and a two-night minimum stay is required. Transportation to/from the Desert Splash Adventures Seaplane Tour, conveniently located at the Scottsdale Airport, is not included.

For booking, as well as terms and conditions, please visit thephoenician.com/cybermonday, or call (866) 716-8136 and ask for rate plan: 5DAY1. For more information on Desert Splash Adventures and the “Apache Air Trail,” visit desertsplashadventures.com.

The Phoenician

6000 E. Camelback Rd.,
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Local: (480) 941-8200 | Toll-free: (800) 888-8234
thephoenician.com

 

Seahorse (Alex Kerstitch) (

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Announces Its New Warden Aquarium

Any interpretation of the Sonoran Desert region would be incomplete without recognizing the importance of the fresh water rivers that flow through it and the Sea of Cortez or Gulf of California. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum will unveil its dramatic, new permanent aquarium dedicated to revealing the remarkable story of this miraculous region in December 2012.

“Without this sea and the summer monsoon that brings moisture from it, the lush Sonoran Desert known today would be an entirely different place,” state Craig Ivanyi, Executive Director of the Museum. “This body of water truly represents a full half of the Sonoran Desert Region – literally 100,000 square miles of desert-ocean and an astounding 900 islands!”

This exhibition, “Rivers to the Sea”, in the new Warden Aquarium, will highlight the roles of the region’s rivers, including the mighty Colorado, and the Gulf of California. Two galleries are planned: one highlighting the region’s freshwater rivers and aquatic life and the other featuring the Sea of Cortez and representative sea life. Primary funding for the new exhibition was generously provided by the Bert W. Martin Foundation.

The galleries will encompass over 1,100 square feet and include 14 tanks displaying a variety of fresh- and salt-water animal species. Some of the Museum’s numerous aquatic conservation projects impacting many aquatic species will be highlighted in the galleries.
The exhibition area will also include a touch tank with marine invertebrates, like sea stars and hermit crabs, for a hands-on encounter for visitors. A visit to the new Warden Aquarium will be included with the purchase of a general admission ticket.

The Sea of Cortez is extremely diverse containing one of the world’s smallest and most endangered marine mammals, the vaquita, a rare type of porpoise, migratory whales that no longer migrate, over 800 types of fishes, five species of sea turtles, and the rarely encountered American crocodile. In addition to the varied species of wildlife, the Sea of Cortez provides much of the moisture for the region’s summer rains which have tremendously influenced vegetation on the terrestrial part of the Sonoran Desert Region.

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is one of the nation’s leading outdoor, living museums, featuring more than 230 animals and 1,200 varieties of desert plants. Its mission is to inspire people to live in harmony with the natural world by fostering love, appreciation, and understanding of the bi-national Sonoran Desert region. The museum is located at 2021 N. Kinney Road, in Tucson Mountain Park adjacent to Saguaro National Park (West). It is open daily year round with operating hours varying by season. Call (520) 883-2702 or visit www.desertmuseum.org for more information.

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Photo: Flickr, DrStarbuck

Things To Do In Arizona: Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Take a tour at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, and you’ll quickly understand why this museum attracts millions of visitors to its grounds. With an assortment of animals in their natural settings and instructional, educational programs, the Arizona-Sonora Desert is not only a must-see, but a must-experience.

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum’s commitment to research and protection of plants, animals and the land of the Sonoran Desert region has helped the museum attain its goal to connect people and nature. For instance, its natural history museum of the Sonoran Desert comes complete 1,200 kinds of plants within its botanical garden and exhibits that recreate the desert as well as 300 animal species. With almost two miles of paths to trek on the 21 acres of desert landscape, this breathtaking experience will have visitors questioning their eyes as they struggle to believe how such beauty can exist in one museum.

Also found at the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum is the Center for Sonoran Desert Studies, a hub for research, education and conservation of the Sonoran Desert. The Center for Sonoran Desert Studies provides interdisciplinary studies with a focus on whole-organism and community biology, projects that promote habitat conservation, as well as collaboration with the people of Mexico in its research and education.

The museum also welcomes field trips and offers classes and outreach programs to visit the museum year-round. Summer, Winter and Earth camps are available as well as a Coati Kids’ Club for ages 6-12. Scouts and preschool programs are also welcome to participate and plan events at this unique museum that makes connecting with nature so easy.



For more information about the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, visit desertmuseum.org.

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
2021 N. Kinney Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85743
(520) 883-2702
desertmuseum.org

Custom Homesites - Vistancia Entry Overview

15 New Custom Homesites Available Within Vistancia

A recent increase in custom homesite interest has triggered the release of 15 new custom homesites within Blackstone at Vistancia in Peoria, a private, gated golf community within the Vistancia master plan.

Thirteen of the new custom homesites are located along the 12th, 13th and 14th holes of Blackstone’s award-winning, championship golf course designed by Jim Engh. The remaining two are adjacent to the 17th the hole and back the 1st hole as well as feature spectacular views of the Blackstone clubhouse, a 30,000-square-foot Spanish Colonial architectural style clubhouse.

Characterized by heavily vegetated washes, Saguaro forests, gently sloping flat lands and an abundance of desert wildlife, Vistancia includes a 900-acre preserve offering spectacular mountain and golf course views. Perched high above a golf fairway or tucked into a secluded desert background, Blackstone at Vistancia offers a diverse selection of custom homesites allowing homeowners the option of creating a luxurious home that is tailored to fit every aspect of their individual lifestyles.

“Blackstone at Vistancia offers a relaxed, yet elegant lifestyle in a beautiful Sonoran Desert setting,” said Mark Hammons, vice president/general manager of Vistancia. “With renewed consumer interest in custom land sales we are pleased to offer more opportunities for buyers to build a custom, dream home in our vibrant community.”

Blackstone provides two custom homesite options: Natural Desert Homesites and Graded Homesites. Natural desert homesites are a minimum of three-quarter acre and are preserved in a natural desert state that encourages grade-adaptive architecture and enhances the natural topography. Each homesite has a defined building envelope to maximize open space between homes.

Graded homesites are a minimum of one-half acre and are developed as buildable pads. Shared walls lend privacy and capitalize on the maximum use of each homesite.

With several architectural styles permitted throughout the community, homeowners are able to select the architect and custom builder of their choice, providing flexibility to design unique indoor and outdoor spaces.

Design guidelines have been created to assist owners, architects and builders in designing residences and making improvements on existing custom homesites within the community. Matched textures, carefully chosen stone and meticulously crafted finishes have been incorporated into these guidelines to accommodate each owner’s unique desires without interrupting the flow of the community. These guidelines also ensure a sense of design continuity within Blackstone.

Blackstone welcomed its third custom home this spring with the groundbreaking of a three-quarter acre, approximately 10,000-square-foot desert contemporary-style home nestled along the 14th hole of Blackstone’s championship golf course.

Blackstone at Vistancia is a 590-acre community within the 7,100-acre master plan of Vistancia. Upon completion, Blackstone will include approximately 500 luxury and custom homes. Custom homesites in Blackstone start from the $90s.

Vistancia is located northwest of Lake Pleasant Parkway and Happy Valley Road in Peoria set amongst a stunning backdrop of mountain ranges and pristine desert surroundings. The master-planned community now has a second entrance and exit providing both north and south access. Take Loop 303 to the new Lone Mountain Parkway (exit 127). The Vistancia Information Center is located at the guard-gated entrance of Blackstone Country Club.

For more information about custom homesites at Vistancia visit www.vistancia.com or call 623-933-6233.

Photo: dougtone, Flickr

Lost Dutchman State Park

Famously named after a lost gold mine, the Lost Dutchman State Park, located 40 miles east of Phoenix in the Sonoran Desert, is a great place to escape to, especially for those looking for adventure and a chance to strike it rich.

According to legend, Jacob Waltz located a gold mine in the 1870s. He and a fellow comrade supposedly hid one or two caches of gold in the Superstition Mountains. In 1891, Waltz died and the location of the glorious gold mine died with him as well. Clues were left to where the location allegedly is, however, no one has been able to find the mine for the past hundred years.

The gold mine has drawn thousands of visitors that hope to get lucky. All searches end in disappointment and questions as to if Waltz really hid gold inside the mountains.

Besides the infamous, rumored gold mine, the park also offers a variety of trails that lead into both the Tonto National Forest and the Superstition Mountains. Visitors can hike the challenging Siphon Draw Trail to the top of Flatiron. Those wanting a leisurely stroll through the park can walk along the Native Plant Trail and take in the desert scenery.

While camping or enjoying a picnic at one of the park’s facilities, one of the many native wildlife, including coyote, mule deer, jackrabbit and javelina are bound to be seen. With 72 campsites, the wide-open space is a great place to enjoy the natural wildlife and star gaze at night.

With a plethora of hiking and biking trails, nature walks and a chance to find gold, the Lost Dutchman State Park is a great place to visit for a few hours or even a few days, just don’t get lost trying to find the Lost Dutchman’s Mine.

For more information on the Lost Dutchman State Park, including driving directions and park fees, visit www.azstateparks.com.