Active Adventure in Arizona

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Scottsdale Arizona… home to one of the world’s most revered natural wonders, cowboys, rodeos and WestWorld.

But before you start getting ideas about robots luring visitors to act out fantasies through artificial consciousness, relax. This one merely serves as an exhibition centre with “limitless possibilities for event producers and planners”.

If you find yourself in this part of the world, for business or pleasure, skip the hotel gym workouts for the wild outdoors. Trade kettle bells, dumbbells and barbells for mountain boulders, hiking trails and lassoing horses.

Just watch out for the cacti, mountain ridges and occasional malfunctioning host.

McDowell Sonoran Preserve
Photo: McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Scrap the step machine and scale a peak

Trade in the gym’s step machine for more than 100 miles of shared-use trails in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. This 30,200-acre desert sanctuary showcases the rugged beauty of Scottsdale’s landscape and sports some awe-inspiring trails with options for all levels of fitness and hiking ability. Test your limits by attempting the steep Sunrise Peak summit trail.

FlowRider The Westin Kierland
Photo: FlowRider The Westin Kierland

Hop out the pool and grab your board for desert surfing and yoga

Surfs up at Westin Kierland Resort. The Flowrider Wave Machine brings the ocean wedges, barrels and rip curls to the desert resort. Practise your surfing skills and test your balance in a safe environment.

At the Fairmont Princess, Scottsdale you can find dry-surfing lessons in the comfort of a studio. Ride the electronic surfboards in an intimate class of fellow surfers and yogi.

This class will see you planking, posing, squatting, kicking and jumping on your boards to surfing footage playing in the background. Surfing in the desert is also a serious workout. The boards flex and tense arms, core and legs for the best work out on a board.

Camelback Mountain
Photo: Camelback Mountain

Swap the stair master for a Camelback Mountain ascent

Get lean and mean on Camelback Mountain. With an elevation of 2,704 feet, Camelback Mountain is a challenging climb just minutes from downtown Scottsdale.

This urban trek offers stunning views of Camelback Mountain Echo Canyon Recreation Area and Arizonan desert landscapes. Don your trainers and hit the Cholla trail for an invigorating run or scale the steep ascent of the Echo Canyon Don’t forget to post your personal best ‘climb times’ to the official Camelback Mountain website.

Cowboy College
Photo: Cowboy College

Ditch the dumbbells and lasso a stallion at Scottsdale Cowboy College

Scottsdale Cowboy College gives you two tickets to the gun show. Sign up to become a real cowboy at a working cattle ranch and to work, eat and sleep under the stars. The college is a family owned and operated business cementing Scottsdale’s nickname of “The West’s Most Western Town”.

They have been in operation since 1969 and ran the first session of the “Cowboy College” back in 1989.The courses are designed to be a serious attempt at teaching horsemanship skills and ranching techniques for life.

Lassoing a horse is also a particularly good work out for the arm muscles and far more exciting than the gym’s dumbbell shelf.

Gateway Loop run
Photo: Gateway Loop run

Trash the treadmill for the Gateway Loop trail run

Bin your treadmill, step outside and pull on a pair of trackies for the Gateway Loop run. This 4.5 mile pathway explores the bajadas and foothills of McDowell Sonoran Preserve before winding back to the Gateway Trailhead, just 15 minutes’ drive from central Scottsdale.

The path is well-trodden, the views of surrounding Scottsdale are spectacular but fear not, there is no death-defying drop off should you lose your footing.

Arizona Outback Adventures
Photo: Arizona Outback Adventures

Skip the rowing machine and kayak the ‘Second Grand Canyon’

One of the best ways to enjoy the Scottsdale countryside is by kayak with Arizona Outback Adventures. Swap the sweaty rowing machine in the gym for the real thing and work out those shoulders muscles.

On a guided river trip in Arizona’s 2000 ft. deep Salt River Canyon, also named the ‘second Grand Canyon’, you can paddle down spectacular rapids while experiencing pure Arizonan desert scenery.

The Upper Salt River is often referred to as an undiscovered secret of the state and is located just two hours’ drive from Scottsdale.

Scottsdale Arizona
Photo: Scottsdale Arizona

Mount up the mountain bikes and dump the spin class

Arizona Outback Adventures also provides adrenaline-fuelled biking challenges in the Sonoran Desert. Cycling tracks criss-cross Northern Scottsdale for the casual day tripper.

For those seeking the ultimate biking challenge peddle up to Brown’s Mountain in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

This meandering biking trail slaps you with a semi-permanent grin as it carves and turns on the groomed desert single track. Regular spin classes never provided such a heady thrill ride.

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