Arizona’s Most Popular State Park: How to Visit It

Arizona’s Most Popular State Park: How to Visit It
Arizona’s Most Popular State Park: How to Visit It


The Grand Canyon State is home to 29 state parks that showcase Arizona’s natural beauty, historic moments and popular recreational spots.

While Grand Canyon National Park often overshadows other, lesser-known parks, Arizona’s state parks welcomed more than 3 million visitors in 2023, up 2% from the previous year.

With so many different places to explore, it can be difficult to choose which state park to visit. There is also the newly designated Rockin’ River Ranch State Park in Camp Verde.

Here’s everything you need to know about Arizona’s most popular state parks and how to visit them.

The 10 most visited state parks in Arizona

According to the Arizona Office of Tourism, these were the 10 most visited state parks in Arizona in 2023.

  1. Lake Havasu State Park: 484,716 visitors
  2. Slide Rock State Park: 430,476 visitors
  3. Catalina State Park: 270,482 visitors
  4. Patagonia Lake State Park: 243,147 visitors
  5. Dead Horse Ranch State Park: 219,439 visitors
  6. The Lost Dutchman State Park: 213,311 visitors
  7. Picacho Peak State Park: 167,142 visitors
  8. Kartchner Caverns State Park: 133,728 visitors
  9. Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area: 129,360 visitors
  10. Tonto Natural Bridge State Park: 121,755 visitors

Lake Havasu State Park

Located near the famous spring break town, Lake Havasu State Park is known for its peaceful beach camping. The park also offers visitors boat access to the lake for water sports.

Details: 699 London Bridge Road, Lake Havasu City. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. $15-$20 per car (up to four people).

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Slide Rock State Park is a national park with a population of 1,600 and is located 1.7 km from the national park.

At Slide Rock State Park near Sedona, visitors can cool off in the refreshing waters of Oak Creek. Originally the Pendley Homestead, the state park is known for its slippery rocks that form a sort of natural slide. Slide Rock is 80 feet long and has a 7% gradient from top to bottom. Combined with the seaweed on the rocks, visitors are in for a real treat.

Details: 6871 State Route 89A, Sedona. Daily March through November, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; December through February, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. $10 to $30 per car (up to four people).

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Catalina State Park

Catalina State Park is located at the foot of the Santa Catalina Mountains in Tucson. The 5,500-acre park is a nature lover’s paradise with more than 5,000 saguaros and numerous wildlife-viewing trails.

Details: 11570 N. Oracle Road, Tucson. Daily 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. $7 per car (up to four people).

Patagonia Lake State Park

Patagonia Lake State Park is an oasis in southern Arizona. The lake is perfect for swimming, fishing, and boating. The protected shore and hiking trails offer visitors the opportunity to observe deer and many different species of birds.

Details: 400 Patagonia Lake Road, south of Patagonia. Open daily; gates close 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. $15-$20 per car (up to four people).

Dead Horse Ranch State Park

About 105 miles north of Phoenix, Dead Horse Ranch State Park is nestled in the gentle bends of the Verde River in Cottonwood. The park is perfect for hiking, camping and wildlife viewing in cool weather.

Details: 675 Dead Horse Ranch Road, Cottonwood. Daily 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. $7 per car (up to four people).