Lean into the heat: Here are 4 of Arizona’s best places to visit during the summertime

Arizona Republic (July 16, 2021) by Roger Naylor

Drought, heat waves, wildfires and forest closures. It’s not exactly the post-pandemic summer celebration many of us planned for.

We had visions of camping in a cool pine forest atop the Mogollon Rim. Or fishing in a fast-flowing trout stream in the White Mountains. Or hiking above the timberline on Humphreys Peak, climbing past the last few twisted bristlecone pines to cross a final stretch of alpine tundra and stand for a moment on the roof of Arizona, where the temperature has to be almost chilly, right?

Arizona’s national forests have reopened after a closure that started in June and ran through the Fourth of July weekend. But even when nature conspires against us, we don’t give up on summer. Let’s go the other way. Let’s lean into the heat. Instead of heading north and east in Arizona, aim west and south where plenty of summer fun awaits.

Oracle: Biosphere 2 and a lovely ranch house

Nestled in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains, this tiny town offers a few interesting options. Start off with a visit to Oracle State Park, a wildlife refuge with miles of hiking trails, including a segment of the Arizona National Scenic Trail.

If you prefer staying indoors, tour the historic Kannally Ranch House. Built by five siblings in the 1930s, the Mediterranean-style villa spreads across four levels. Walls are double adobe, 18 inches thick, and keep the heat at bay. The house contains three spiral staircases, including one of natural stone.

The Kannally Ranch House has been beautifully restored. Most original features are still intact and original pieces of furniture give the place a homey feel. Adorning the walls are dozens of Impressionist-style paintings with a Western flavor, the work of Lee Kannally, who suffered nerve gas poisoning in World War I and developed tremors. He took up painting as a form of therapy.

Self-guided tours of the home are available anytime. Masks are required.

Details: $7 per vehicle. 520-896-2425, https://azstateparks.com/oracle.

 

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