The state of Arizona is home to the Grand Canyon and many other sites that tourist come in droves to see. As you travel through our state, it can be easy to make mistakes that might put you in danger or ruin your trip. Avoid these 10 common mistakes, visitors make when visiting Arizona. 

1. Only Visiting The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is amazing and you definitely should see it from a few of the different sides. Now, that does not mean this should be your only main destination, because then that means your missing out. 

Arizona is not just composed of the Sonoran Desert. What you will find is old ghost towns, abandoned mines, red sandstone cliffs in Sedona, haunted hotels in Jerome, river adventures, canyons, snow adventures, and more. In addition, we have many historical sites like Montezuma’s Castle or the Petrified Forest National Park

We have riparian zones with crystal clear waterfalls and rivers, so don’t miss out on visiting them.

2. Not Having Enough Water

This unfortunately is a common mistake that my wife and I encounter many times a year. When hiking or even traveling across Arizona, you should always have extra water, in case of an emergency.

The saying goes, to take more water than you should and drink more water than you would. Arizona has large areas of open land without people or emergency services. That is why it is smart to take extra water in case you ever get stranded for a period of time. 

Planning on hiking, then you should also take extra water. Without a doubt, we have come across people on a trail that needed water. We always carry a few extra bottles for situations like this. Take caution, it is easy to get dehydrated or heat stroke when it’s hot. It is the most common death in the Grand Canyon. 

Always carry extra water and make sure to hydrate yourself.

3. Should Of Had Layers For Clothes

Having breathable layers for your clothes is a smart choice. The temperature can drastically change due to weather or time of day. You will want layers that can keep you warm when its cooler and to take off when the temperature rises. 

Make sure to have breathable material for your clothes that can dry quickly. It is impossible not to sweat when it is summer or you are doing activities. 

Fun fact is Arizona is the only state to have a portion of all 4 of the North American deserts. It would then seem like that is all that we are composed of, but that’s not correct. Only around 42% of the land is desert, with the rest being composed of grasslands and forest.

So it can be easy to travel and end up crossing into different ecoregions with vast changes in temperature. Exploring Arizona, then be prepared for weather changes.  

Best to layer up, since you can always take off a few when it gets hot out.

4. That Weather Will Creep Up On You

The state of Arizona can produce some amazing sunrises and sunsets, mostly due to small dust particles in the air. What we also have is heatwaves in the 120ºF, monsoons, dust storms called haboobs, flash floods, lightning storms, and wonderful weather the rest of the time. 

It can be easy to misjudge the weather and be caught off guard easily. Always check weather reports or know what to expect for each of our seasons before your visit. Most of the extreme weather is known to occur during the summertime, so be prepared. 

If you come across heavy rain, then get to high ground and wait it out. Do not ignore flash flood signs, it can cost you your life. As for the haboobs we have, the safe bet is to pull over and wait it out. They don’t last long and your headlights will be useless for you, due to the dust. 

Be cautious on driving in a Haboob.

5. Mind That Ledge Since It’s A Long Fall

Every year we hear about at least a few tourist who sadly die after falling off the side of cliffs. Mostly it happens at the Grand Canyon or at the famous Horseshoe point, by Page. 

Many of our famous tourist destinations include canyons, cliffs, or overlooks to view the landscape. Most do not have railings, so that means your safety is in your own hands.

It can be easy to slip on loose dirt or rocks and if that happens, you might be going over. The first reported fall was in 1925, when Lewis Thompson, tripped while taking a picture and fell 700 feet. Since then, the state has seen a few deaths every year from falls, so do not end up on this list.  

Remember, it is not worth your safety, just to get that picture of you close to the edge. Stay safe and always keep an eye on what’s around you. 

The Grand Canyon has a few deaths each year due to visitors falling off the side.

6. Feeding Or Coming Close To Wild Animals

Wild animals are wild for a reason and should never be touched or feed. If you ever try, then you are putting yourself in danger as well as the animal.

What happens if you try feeding one? You are teaching them to approach humans for food. This can be dangerous to those humans who might not have any food and thus might get hurt due to aggression. 

So you want to try to poke that rattlesnake with a stick, bet you didn’t know they can strike you still from 1/3 to 1/2 a distance of it’s body length. Without a doubt I promise you that they can strike faster than you would be able to react. Other animals to look out for are the Bark Scorpion, Gila Monster, or the Arizona Coral Snake to name a few. 

Please do not feed or touch any wild animal. Some are quite dangerous.

7. Know About the Stupid Motorist Law

The fact that we have to have a law such as this is quite ridiculous, honestly. As you travel, you will come across signs that say do not enter when flooded. They are placed there for your safety. 

Weather can cause flash floods within a moments notice for unsuspecting drivers. If you see water start to fill up a wash or the road, then stop and turn back. That water can be deeper than it looks and can easily sweep you away. 

Wonder what happens to those that ignore this advice and end up getting rescued? Well they end up paying for that rescue. Yep, the Stupid Motorist Law in fact makes it where a driver that ignores the posted warning will have to pay for their rescue. 

You will see signs like this throughout Arizona, so make sure not to enter a wash when it starts to flood.

8. Don’t Wander Off Trail

When you visit, you will see we have many trails and national forest to explore. Trails are marked for a reason, to keep you safe and to help protect the environment. 

Many people think of the old western films when you think of Arizona. We have Tombstone and many other ghost towns to explore. 

In fact, the only reason many of these towns were ever created was due to successful mines. Over time, these mines dried up and closed to leave behind history in the forms of ghost towns. What they also left was abandoned mine shafts. 

So if you plan on wandering off trail, you might stubble upon one, but not in a good way. They can be very unsafe and dangerous. There are still over 100,000 abandoned mine shafts that are not secured yet. So do not go looking for one or go off trail. 

Arizona has many trails to hike, just make sure to stay on them.

9. It Is Illegal To Damage A Saguaro Cactus

Most people do not know that cacti are more endangered than Pandas are, but they are. A recent study, published in Conservation Biology, concluded that only 18% of cactus species will actually grow outside of a protected area.

For Arizona, the famous Saguaro Cactus is protected under state law. Sadly in the past, people have destroyed or damaged them. Why are they so important?

A single Saguaro can live for around 150 to 175 years. Thats a long time and during this time, they become homes for birds and a place filled with nutrition for other animals. By damaging one, you are damaging other animals and insects home and their chance of survival. Another fact about the Saguaro Cactus, is the flower that they produce is also consider Arizona’s state flower. 

The Saguaro Cactus are found throughout the state and are protected. Please do not try to damage them.

10. Leave The Historical Sites Intact

We have a lot of history ingrained into our state. From Native American to natural geological landmarks, the state is filled with sites worth visiting. Most of these sites are still standing because they are protected.

For future generations to enjoy them as well, they need to stay intact, without damage. This means, do not walk past protected barriers, and especially do not touch or take anything. These ruins, are already in deteriorating shape and carelessness can destroy them. 

Montezuma Castle was constructed on the side of a cliff face over 1,000 years ago.






Have you visited Arizona and have any other suggestions? Let us know in the comments. Have any other activities or places we should see, let us know in the comments section. From Phoenix? Hi neighbored! Thanks for taking a look at our site and don’t forget to subscribe for future articles and tips. 

The information on this website has come from research and by experiencing it ourselves. Opening hours, closures, prices, etc. are always subject to change. We try to keep up to date on any new information, or tips to help make your adventure more enjoyable.

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