A Guide for New Students



Arizona is known for being warm, well, maybe a little more than warm.  Arizona is known for being a desert where it feels like you are melting alive constantly.  Although Phoenix averages more than 100 days filled with triple-digit temperatures, there are still saving graces AZ offers for adventure and escape. In Northern AZ, mountains can be found as well as snow during the winter months proving that AZ has more to offer than just the heat.

The kind of things you will do in AZ will be different from most of the other places in the US. Unlike the Pacific Northwest or Colorado, AZ does not generally offer lush green hiking trails with lakes abounding, but also unlike other places in the US, it does offer amazing scenery that is specifically unique to AZ. This means a lot of hiking, camping, and even some astounding water adventures. Now let’s get into the good stuff and see what you can do in the great AZ outdoors.


Havasupai Falls

You’ve seen pictures, you’ve heard stories, now it’s your turn to explore the geographic masterpiece of Havasupai. With an 8 mile descent into the town of Supai, the initial trek can be laborious, but shortly after the town, you begin to hit the beautiful series of waterfalls: Little Navajo, Havasupai, Moony, and Beaver. This place almost made the cut as one of the natural wonders of the world and for a good reason. There could be 100 pages on all of the activities to do there, so go research, but be sure to prepare with all the permits. Find that info here. (P.S. yes, it is that blue. It’s real)

Grand Canyon

You can’t attend Grand Canyon University and never actually see the beauty it is named after! There’s a lot of different places to see near the Grand Canyon but these two are the best:

Horse Shoe Bend

Go here. It’s easy, free, accessible and beautiful. It’s common theme to drive here for the sunrise, it won’t disappoint.


South Rim

There’s tons of places to walk and observe the beauty of the canyon here. It’s only about a 3.5 hour drive from Phoenix, so it is perfect for a day trip.





Flagstaff is one of those places that seems like it doesn’t fit in Arizona as it has beautiful trees and colors in the fall. There are also mountains and streams. It’s the perfect place to camp with a group of friends. On top of the beautiful nature, the town of Flagstaff itself is interesting city as well with many cool shops and restaurants to enjoy.



To explore all of Sedona would take a lifetime but here are a few things you can start with:

Bell Rock

This is a beautiful, medium hike that will let you experience the true beauty of the red rocks that Sedona is known for.


Slide Rock

Slide rock is a wonderful water adventure in Sedona where one can cliff jump, swim and river-slide. These are natural slides in the river bed that allows you to slide around with ease. With all of these activities offered, Slide Rock makes for a wonderful experience. Be sure to check details here so you are aware of times to go, entrance fees and parking information.


Wet Beaver Creek

This beautiful hike into a canyon ends at a refreshing water hole 4 miles in. At the “Crack” you can swim, cliff jump and picnic to relax some before heading back down the canyon.



Sand Dunes of Yuma

You want to go to Tatooine? Well, head over to the Sand Dunes of Yuma. Some of the Tatooine scenes in Star Wars were filmed here and it’s a great place for an adventure or photo shoot.





Arizona Snowbowl

Finally, if you are dying for some cool activities, head north to Flagstaff where AZ Snowbowl is and ski or snowboard for the day.  This is a beautiful place where high altitudes and snow DO exist in Arizona. Check prices and details here.

Ending Thoughts

Go explore and do something adventurous. Put on a good playlist, get in the car, grab some friends and just go. Spontaneity leads to some of the best trips. If you attend GCU then there are hundreds of other students to get plugged in with. Join GCU Outdoor Rec or Lopes Outdoors and experience all that Arizona has to offer. Now, GO!