Arizona State Parks and Trails is Roger Naylor’s tribute to this state’s finest places. Written in Mr. Naylor’s inimitable style, it reveals Arizona at its best, with colorful photographs and a personal writing style. Most of the trails depicted in this book Mr. Naylor personally hiked, enjoying the solitude and beauty of the many places described within its pages.
This book is divided into three sections: Northern Arizona, Southern Arizona, and Western Arizona. Each contain interesting historical references, notes on available programs, color pictures, Fast Facts, a description of amenities, hiking trails, flora and fauna, and nearby attractions.
The parks described in this book include, Picacho Peak, site of a Civil War skirmish; Patagonia Lake, a watery camping and RV resort; Kartchner Caverns, USA Today’s pick of America’s Best Cave; Colorado River State Park and the Yuma Territorial Prison, and many others I had not known about.
Here is a quote from the book’s introduction. “Coyote paid me no mind. He was just going about coyote business, giving me a sideways glance and tongue wag, which is canine for ‘what’s up?’ I watched as he loped across a meadow sprinkled with blackfoot daisies. The clumps of white flowers were scattered about like discarded wedding bouquets. Maybe a herd of runaway brides had stampeded past.”
Describing the descent into Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Naylor writes: “The last mile drops 750 feet in elevation and is thought to be the steepest paved road in Arizona. Many visitors reach the entry station with white knuckles gripping the steering wheel and smoke rising from brake pads.”
Here’s another Naylorism. Describing a famous Southern Arizona plant at Patagonia Lake State Park, he writes: “To conserve water, ocotillos only leaf out after being prompted by a serious rain. They shed their small leaves as soon as dry conditions return, which means they spend much of their lives stark naked. When the wind blows, their branches rattle like a skeleton orgy.”
Arizona State Parks: A Guide to Amazing Places in the Grand Canyon State (Southwest Adventure Series) by Roger Naylor is a useful and distinctively-written guide for those who want to explore the state’s many amazing places, whether by car, on foot or by boat. I highly recommend it to you.
Roger Naylor is an award-winning Arizona travel writer, hiker and all around nature lover. He also wrote Boots and Burgers which we review here.