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Hikers, bikers and climbers in Greater Phoenix have come to the same conclusion as coyotes, roadrunners and jackrabbits: The Sonoran Desert is a great place to play.

The Sonoran Desert is home to the kind of cactus most people only see in cartoons. The majestic saguaro, found in no other desert in the world, can grow as tall as 50 feet and live as long as 200 years. And you don’t necessarily need hiking boots or a mountain bike to see one: Professional outfitters are happy put adventurous sightseers in the saddle of a horse, the seat of a Jeep, the basket of a hot-air balloon or the harness of a glider.

How you experience the desert is up to you. Explore the different ways below and visit our outdoor recreation media gallery for more inspiration. 


Brian Jump shares how the mystique of the desert turned an intended short stay in Phoenix into a career as an outdoor guide.


Take an 80-second tour of the Sonoran Desert, which is a paradise for lovers of the outdoors.


Explore the listings below for professional tour guides, equipment rental, activities and more.