Arizona: 5 ways to escape the heat.

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Rose Canyon Lake
Rose Canyon Lake on the way to Summerhaven.

May in Arizona The snowbirds have fled and the locals are either getting ready to embrace the heat or plan ways to cool down. Here are five ways that we’ve found relief from the summer furnace.


Drive to Summerhaven – The Catalina Highway leaves the northeast side of Tucson and snakes up the Santa Catalina Mountains to the small town of Summerhaven.  Temperatures at the pine-covered top can be 20 degrees cooler than Tucson.


Salt River tubing
Tubing the Salt River is a summer delight.

Salt River Tubing — Yes Virginia, you can float a river through the desert in the summer. The Salt River below Saguaro Lake is a great tubing outing on a hot day. Plus, you get to see college kids doing really stupid things. A concessionaire provides a shuttle and tube rentals.

Humphreys Peak summit
It’s a lot cooler at 12,635 feet on Humphreys Peak.





Climb Humphreys Peak – The highest peak in Arizona looms over Flagstaff, a town which makes a great summer getaway. The trail to the summit is fairly steep, and you’ll definitely feel the altitude and cooler temperatures.

White Mountains Arizona
Arizona’s White Mountains are actually green.






Find a White Mountain lake – The White Mountains and the Mogollon Rim sweep across central Arizona like a brush-stroke of green and feature the largest ponderosa pine forest on the continent. All that green means cooler temperatures. Twiddle your toes in one of the little lakes dotting the mountains.

Arizona monsoon sunset
Arizona monsoon storms can leave you speechless.




Enjoy the monsoon season – Tropical moisture pushes in from the south during the summer and says hello to rising desert heat. The result, one of the best natural light shows south of the aurora borealis as lightening and rain pour down on southern Arizona. Okay, so this isn’t really escaping the heat but when the show’s over the temperature drops, the clouds part and the sunsets blow your mind.

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