Amid cacti and brush, beneath milk-white clouds, Cocoraque Trail Ranch & Pavillion's sprawling desert scenery makes it impossible to discern whether it's 1890 or the twenty-first century—and it hardly matters. Wranglers and ranch hands still work as they did more than a century ago when Señor Benito Robles homesteaded the rustic ranch. Today, Tucson native and third-generation cattle rancher Jesus Arvizu is at the helm. Under his guidance, ranch hands rise before sun up to shoe and groom horses, mend fences, and film commercials for blue jeans.
Upon arrival to the 16,000-acre ranch, visitors step into the time of cowboys and cattle. A red-dobe ranch house built in the 1890s facilitates cookouts with a mesquite-fired grill and an adjacent picnic area. Aspirant riders can team up with seasoned wranglers and ranch hands to participate in genuine cattle drives, herding livestock in their signature "V" formation. For large-scale old-timey gatherings, the ranch's open-air pavilion accommodates weddings, birthdays, and parties with a saloon-style bar, a covered eating area, a dance floor, and a bonfire pit.
A partner gym of Rocks & Ropes, The Bloc climbing + fitness is a 20,000 square-foot, air-conditioned rock-climbing destination. Inside, a dozen autobelays allow visitors to make high, harness-assisted ascents. Or, you can test your bouldering skills on a 7,000 square-foot wall. In addition, the gym offers yoga, meditation, and pilates classes in its 2nd-story heartSTONE studio, welcoming both beginners and experts. The gym also includes cardio and weight equipment for those looking for a vigorous exercise or a heart-to-heart talk with a treadmill.
When the ore vein beneath the mining town of Goldfield faulted, the once booming settlement dwindled. As the number of residents dropped, its fate seem sealed as a ghost town. However, as time marched on, and the historic structures endured, the ambience of the place became something of a tourist attraction. Locals saw an opportunity to transform the old town into a unique amusement park, paying tribute to the past with family-friendly fun, games, and rides such as The Dolly Steamboat and Gold Panning at Prospector's Palace.
Goldfield's skyline is markedly different today, thanks to the knowledge of renowned thrill-ride designer Stan Checketts. The expert—whose work can be found in Las Vegas casinos, Six Flags, and Disney parks—transformed the once empty air into an adrenaline-pumping ride: Superstition Zipline. Visitors safely strap into ski lift-like seats to ride two at a time. The ride propels people backwards, then sends them soaring above the old mining buildings.
During Joe Czerwinski’s 21-year tenure climbing rocks, he has designed competitions for events such as the Asian X-Games and Junior X-Games, as well as high-profile companies such as ESPN and Disney. As a competitor, he has ranked in the top 20 for every single adult-level national event he participated in and has represented the United States as both a coach and an athlete. This vast knowledge helps him run Focus Climbing Center, where he strives to maintain a fun environment for his clients. Inside the center, thrill seekers can find massive 30-foot-tall climbing walls and boulder above 24-inch thick gymnastics floors. Each wall is adorned with colorful faux rocks that people can grip and step on during their ascent to the top.
Climbers cling to large, composite structures, strategizing their way up the side of a rocky cliff. They have come to conquer Climbmax Climbing Gym's myriad rock-face combinations and master the art of blindfolded belaying on thick, padded floors. Before challenging themselves on the climb-through cave or scaling an overhang, climbers slip into a harness and climbing shoes for safety.
In addition to climbing areas geared toward beginners and advanced climbers, a children's area features its own pint-sized climb-through cave where youngsters learn to appreciate all aspects of the stimulating sport. Thick padding covers the floors of each climbing area, ensuring safe landings and comfortable, celebratory belly flops from the wall's summit.
Since hosting their first class in 1989, Arizona Climbing and Adventure School's instructors have sent an estimated 37,000 students scurrying up the earth's craggy cliffs. Instead of learning climbing in an indoor facility, participants climb nature’s precipices outdoors upon the Southwest's cliffs and mountains. Adventurer and school director Mark Brontsema guides his students and fellow instructors by a philosophy that emphasizes self-reliance, goal setting, and teamwork. He now brings more than three decades to his post as school director, taking time from a busy schedule that includes writing gear reviews for the New York Times.
The school offers a large number of courses that target students of varying skill levels and reveal technique secrets in small groups of two to six students. Classes may focus on rappelling and anchors, guide services, and equipment-free bouldering, which relies solely on the climber's hands, feet, and retractable suction cups. Adventure courses include day trips and overnight climbing excursions, while special workshops address topics such as backpacking, being an ecologically responsible climber and hiker, and using GPS devices.