Arizona Desert Beauty Run 2023 | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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Arizona Desert Beauty Run 2023

Dates for possible Arizona Desert Beauty Run

  • March 12-18

    Votes: 1 100.0%
  • March 26-April 1

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • April 9-15

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Other

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters


Staff member
Elite Explorer
March 14, 2005
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Mesa AZ
City, State
Year, Model & Trim Level
2000 EB Explorer 5.0
EDIT: So far its looking like March 12-18th, at the Lake Pleasant campsites. (Camping | Maricopa County Parks & Recreation)

I'm posting this a year in advance because I want people to see it and be able to think about it and plan for it. Avoid the "Man I'd have loved to have gone if I'd just had time to plan for it!" responses.

Ok, here's the deal. Even as I'm helping to organize a Colorado Color Run, (which I am really looking forward to) I'm realizing that Arizona has things to offer as well. Challenging trails, beautiful scenery, nice camping, etc. Yes, the trails are a different kind of challenge, the beauty is from a different perspective, and the camping is.... well... not as many trees. But it's still great. To that end I'm proposing a run/get-together in the Phoenix/Mesa area (hereto known as "The Valley") in... Mid-March 2023. I'd suggest early March, but I'd like to do a Backway to Crown King run and that involves higher altitudes (cooler temps). It also ends at the old mining town of Crown King which is a very interesting place to visit and grab some good food before heading home on a more "civilized" route. Other possible day trips include a trip to Sedona which is kinda like visiting Telluride (playground for the rich) Beautiful town and scenery, nice place to visit VERY expensive to live in.

Challenging trails include:
Log Corral (this trail is sponsored and maintained by the Mesa4Wheelers, a great group)
Sunflower Mine Loop
New River Canyon

Moderate trails would be:
Sycamore Creek loop
China Dam/Thule Homestead
Backway to Crown King

Camping in the Mesa area (I list Mesa because its near to where I live :) )
Lost Dutchman State Park - A nice place that sits just in the shadow of the Superstition Mountains. Great sunsets, and views. Its well run and maintained.
Usery Mt Regional Park - I don't know as much about this park but I've driven through it. It also is under the Superstition Mountains and is very near Bulldog Canyon, a nice place to go wheeling, though not overly challenging.
McDowell Mountain Regional Park I don't know much about other than it is an RV resort that is in the Four Peaks region
There is also a KOA in Apache Junction AZ.

This is just a short list of trails and campsites. For the more civilized there are of course hotels and motels to stay at.

What do ya think? We have annual trips to CA, CO, and UT. How about one for another great off-road state, AZ?
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Also lots of nice camp sites at Lake Pleasant. I bet you all thought I'd make this thread and then forget about it didn't you? LoL


Would love to make it!! I used to wheel down there quite a bit and went down yearly for the Arizona Classic bronco Stampede, the last 5-6 years I went it was based out in Table Mesa.

I'll have pics of the Log Corral run next month. The Mesa4Wheelers are doing a run then.

This is still in my head, it hasn't gone away. I've just been busy making sure Lil Eddie is ready for the Colorado run in August.

Timing is important in The Valley (Phoenix/Mesa area) as if you are too late the summer sun will BAKE you. Best times are October to May. I can make it any time next year as I live here (vacation days of 2022 are all already spoken for). I also don't want to make people choose between Moab and this as I know that Moab will win every time LoL.

So sometime between mid-March and Mid May?.... what works for people?

March is more comfortable. Maybe I could borrow my roommates excursion to go play.

True, March is better weather wise. I'm fairly open as I don't have to travel far. I'll probably just set the camper up at a campsite nearby wherever most of the chosen trails are. I'm thinking Lake Pleasant. They have great campsites and are close to China Dam trail, Thule Homestead, and Backway to Crown King. Of course there are boondocking sites close to Florence that are closer to Box Canyon. Lots of great trails there. Usery Mountain Regional Park, and Lost Dutchman state park are both nearby Bulldog Canyon, and are a short drive to 87 which takes us to Sycamore Creek, Log Corral, and Sunflower Mine. They both have full hookups as well.
So if you're thinking of coming let me know what week works best for you, and we'll get it set up. You might also take a look at trails Offroad and see which trails you find interesting.


I like the idea of lake pleasant, pretty close to my house. about 20 years ago I worked at desert mountain in Carefree. Cave creek road turns into seven springs rd. It's on the bucket list of places to go. Map shows a few trails off that road.

I have plans for March 24-25 but that's it so far.

Hmmm...... March 12-18? in that area?

Ok, I've kinda let this thing slide through the holidays. But I'm bringing it back to attention. I'd love to get a chance to meet at least as many members from the AZ area as possible, if not the western US. So far it kinda looks like March 12-18, does that work pretty well?

Ok, its looking like its going to be a small gathering of people from the valley if that. How about we reduce it from a week to a long weekend? March 10-12? Maybe 10-13? I can get the days off and plan runs if I know how many can make it.

I'm available March 10-12. I live near Buckeye, so the Lake Pleasant area works for me. I've done a couple back way to Crown King runs but it's been a couple years since the last one.

Thats awesome. If we can't get a meet together, we should be able to get a one day run together with local members. Let's plan a Crown King run on the 11th, meeting at Pleasant Lake. My wife likes Crown King so maybe I can even get her to go. We can head up the backway to crown king, have a burger there and then head home. Or we could do a two-day event and do Crown King one day and something near Lake Pleasant the other day. Say China Dam and the Homestead.

Wife and I are free that weekend. Let us know what works for everyone, and we'll be there!

Awesome! So that's 2 rigs and possibly 4 people for a run to Crown King. Any other AZ folks wanna join in?

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Ok, for anyone in the AZ area, we're meeting at a Chevron station on I-17 and Carefree road (Highway 74 I believe) We're meeting at 8am. We'd love to have more there!