Posted By Visit Mesa Team
December 18, 2020

Plan Now, Travel Later: Photogenic Places to Discover in Mesa

Between our sunsets, diverse options for exploration and access to water, Mesa makes for the perfect getaway. Here are some inspirational travel photos showing you why your next vacation should be in Mesa City Limitless®. We want everyone to stay safe and healthy as we enter the new year so make your travel plans now for that trip you will take together later.

Salt River

Bring out the paddle boards, kayaks or tubing rentals and go float down the Salt River! With picture-perfect views of Red Mountain, the Salt River makes for an ideal relaxation spot. Enjoy the calm flow of the stream or race against the river for a pretty good workout.

Did you know there are as many as 500 of these magnificent animals roaming the water’s edge on the lower Salt River and the shoreline around Saguaro Lake? Get there at the crack of dawn to go birdwatching. While you're floating down the river, see if you can also spot the Salt River Horses, that have been living on the Salt River reservation before the National Forest was created in the early 1900s.

Salt River Wild Horse Management Group

Superstition Mountains

One of the most popular day trips for anyone visiting Mesa is touring along the historic Apache Trail through the mysterious Superstition Mountains and into the foothills of the Tonto National Forest. Located in Lost Dutchman State Park, the Superstition Mountains rise 2,000 feet into the desert sky and contain some of the most photogenic lookout points. Five hiking trails are offered here that range in distance and elevation. If your looking for a challenge, try Siphon Draw Trail. You will surely get the rewarding feeling when you see the breathtaking views of the valley after the 5-mile hike to the top of Flatiron. For those who want to take it easy and soak up the view of the superstitions from below should try the Treasure Loop Trail.

Open year-round from sunrise to 10 p.m., the U.S. Forest Service protects these beautiful mountains in the nation's most popular designated wilderness area. Just around the bend, you can stumble upon the tiny town of Tortilla Flat Saloon and Settlement, a stagecoach stop settlement that once boasted a hotel and general store. There is so much to discover when you travel through the Apache Trail.

Canyon Lake

With 28 miles of shoreline and 950 surface acres of water and secluded coves, there is so much to explore on Canyon Lake. Take a voyage aboard Dolly Steamboat, a replica of a sternwheeler paddleboat for the ultimate water-lover experience. Cruise the lakes' secluded inner waterways and photograph desert bighorn sheep and other wildlife. If you're looking for a more thrilling adventure, try wakeboarding! Follow behind your boat rental on a wakeboard, traveling over the lake at high speeds. It’s totally fun and such an adventure. Here's another idea for adventure seekers - Canyon Lake is a great place to Jet Ski. Achieve high speeds on the lake, with a breeze racing past your face and through your hair. Stay cool when you #VisitMesa

Saguaro Lake

Named for the many beautiful Saguaro cacti that surround it, the lake has more than 22 miles of shoreline and is 118 feet deep at its deepest point. What we love about the lake is that it offers so much to do. If you are looking for an educational guided tour, the famous Desert Belle Tour Boat finds its home on the beautiful, sprawling Saguaro Lake, and it’s an attraction within itself. If you’d rather take boating into your own hands, check out the Precision Marine Rentals at the marina orr get even closer to the water in a kayak. Call REI Co-op Adventure Center Arizona for rentals and guided tours, life-jacket rental available too. Nothing’s more calming than kayaking across Saguaro, taking in the beautiful views while even getting a bit of a workout from the paddles.

Other Trails

Check out some of the other popular trails in Usery Mountain Regional Park:

Merkle Trail:
This 1-mile loop is not only short and sweet but perfect for all ages and skill levels! The trail offers amazing views of the Sonoran Desert and is most commonly used for educational tours as well! Learn more about the unique desert flora and explore views of saguaros, chollas, and palo verde trees on your stroll through the trail. Although the paths are not paved, the trail is barrier-free so your hike will be wheelchair accessible and stroller-friendly! Perfect for your little adventurers! Also, if you want to add some more exploration to your hike then climb over the small peak into the connecting Vista Trail!

Pass Mountain Trail:
Looking for a hike to fill up part of your day? This 7.4-mile trail begins at the start of the Wind Cave Trailhead and is the perfect day trip hike! The loop is rated as moderate and provides you with views of the Salt River, Four Peaks, and the Goldfield Mountains. You might even see some wildlife on this hike!

Wind Cave Trail:
One of the most popular and rewarding trails would have to be the Wind Cave Trail. Although it may be crowded due to its popularity, this 2.6-mile hike should be on everyone's bucket list. As you slowly increase in elevation, you will notice an abundance of beautiful wildflowers and saguaros near your path. At the end is where you reach the most rewarding part of the hike: the cave! For hikers who want more of a challenge, the trail doesn't have to end there!

For more fun trails click HERE!

Hotels to Stay at

Fly into the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport and stay at any of these accommodations!

Delta Hotels by Marriott Phoenix-Mesa (Pictured)

Courtyard at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport

Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites


Residence Inn Phoenix Mesa


Residence Inn Phoenix Mesa East


Best Western Plus-Mesa

For the full desert experience, bring your RV and check into the Eagle View RV Resort located on the Fort McDowell-Yavapai Nation.

We hope to see you soon! For more inspirational content, follow us on instagram at @visitmesa

Tags: HIKING , waterfun , Jet Skiing , Boat Rental , hotels , Travel Planning , inspiration , sunsets , lake

Categories: Accommodations , Attractions , Day Trip , Family Fun , Outdoor Adventure

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