Things to do in Phoenix
Earn your spurs on a dude ranch
Ever fancied roaming the plains, lassoing cattle and starting a mass brawl in a saloon bar? Head to a dude ranch and learn to do at least two of those things. Tanque Verde Ranch (www.tanqueverderanch.com) is the perfect place to play cowboy for a day or for the full-on western experience, stay for a week.
Go for gold in the Weaver Mountains
Play the prospector in Phoenix and you may return home richer in more than experience. The Weaver Mountains, two hours from Phoenix, was the location of several large finds by early settlers. Arizona Gold Adventures (tel: +1 914 589 3985; www.arizonagoldadventures.com) will show you how to pan but it's up to you to find a fortune.
Rise above the sun in a hot air balloon
There's a vastness to Phoenix and the outlying Arizona landscape that's only really grasped from up high. From the basket of a hot air balloon, it's a wonder, especially as the sun rises over the desert. Hot Air Expeditions (tel: +1 480 502 6999; www.hotairexpeditions.com) offer dawn trips above the mountains that include a champagne toast.
Roar down a zip line
Home to some of the world's most dangerous predators, Out of Africa Wildlife Park (www.outofafricapark.com), is worthy of a visit to see the animals alone. If the rhinos, lions and crocodiles aren't quite wild enough, visitors can up the ante by roaring down a zipline (tel: +1 928 567 9947; www.predatorzipline.com) above the animals as they feed.
Test your putting skills in perfect golfing weather
Vast, green and manicured, the golf courses of subtropical Phoenix – all nine of them – are almost a feat of engineering. The usually warm and dry weather is great for golf too. The most popular course is Stone Creek Golf Club (tel: +1 602 953 9111; www.stonecreekgc.com), a challenging round that hosts the city's international competitions too.