Here Are the Best Ways to Truly Nourish Your Soul in Arizona

There are many incredible hikes in Arizona, all of which provide those quiet and unforgettable moments in nature
There are many incredible hikes in Arizona, all of which provide those quiet and unforgettable moments in nature | © IlexImage / Getty Images

Wellness and relaxation mean different things to different people, and in Arizona, there are plenty of ways to find your own definition. Here’s a round-up of our top picks.

Spending time in nature has long been linked to improved wellbeing. But what about spending time in some of the most staggering outdoor destinations that exist? Surely this would have a revolutionary impact on the soul. This is why Arizona’s natural landscapes provide the perfect environment for broadening your horizons and engaging in self-reflection. Huge, quiet canyons, peaceful red-rock tunnels, and percussive waterfalls await those in search of serenity, while the state’s cities are fast becoming world-leading wellness destinations. Whether your idea of wellness is a mani-pedi or a night of desert star-gazing, Arizona is the state for you.

The Grand Canyon’s Lesser-Known Rim

There’s something curiously humbling about being in the presence of something as powerfully dramatic as the Grand Canyon. It silences our anxieties and puts our nagging worries into perspective – if only for the short time we’re there. The good news is that the short time we’re there can be lengthened by spending the night in a spacious cabin within the National Park’s North Rim. In this remote part of the park you can take in the canyon all day, and fill your lungs with air fragranced by juniper, baked rock, and the subtle vanilla scent of Ponderosa pine. Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim – open between May and October – is only accessible by a four-wheel drive vehicle. So while it does require some planning, the rewards are more than worth the effort.

Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim offers views over the North Kaibab Trail and Bright Angel Creek | © Kerrick James Photography

Digital detoxing

While you’re hiking in the 1,000ft-deep (304m) Aravaipa Canyon in the Galiuro Mountains, surrounded by towering pastel rock faces and kaleidoscopic landscapes unique to the region, your mind is unlikely to be bothered by emails and social media. This southwestern Arizona wilderness is the ultimate place in which to reconnect with the great outdoors and forget the digital world entirely. Despite the sensory stimulation brought on by vibrant colors, abundant wildlife, and the exhilarating rush of the tumbling creek, this is a peaceful place, perfect if you’re seeking solitude in picture-perfect scenery. Hike the West Trailhead until you reach Winkleman, where you can stay overnight at Aravaipa Farms Orchard and Inn, a galaxy away from doomscrolling or trending hashtags.

The Aravaipa Creek flows down the Aravaipa Canyon and is surrounded by the Galiuro Mountain Range | © An T. Pham

Ultimate indulgence

There’s nothing like a little luxury to boost the mood, and it doesn’t get much more luxurious than the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. This palatial resort in Scottsdale has a desert setting evoking centuries-old journeys of spiritual discovery, rich accommodation to suit all wellness seekers, and a wide enough range of activities to nourish all types of souls. A relaxing round of golf on the links is meditative for some, while for others a day at the Well & Being Spa provides all the respite required. And if sitting down to a hearty meal of outstanding Mexican cuisine paired with fine tequila calms the mind, you’re in luck. Among the resort’s excellent restaurants is La Hacienda, a welcoming casita widely regarded as one of the best Mexican restaurants in the city.

If a round of golf is your preferred way to relax, you’re in luck | © Jacobs Stock Photography Ltd / Getty Images

Relax at a ranch

You may well associate ranch life with burly cowhands lassoing bullocks, the clanging of fence-building, or the echoing crack of the firing range. And while you would most certainly encounter these things on a dude ranch, at Rancho de la Osa, on the southern border of Arizona, you will also find peace and blissful seclusion. Spend the day hiking the red-clay trails leading to the famous Baboquivari Peak, or horseback riding through sandy washes and lush desert grassland. At night, gaze at the swirling majesty of the Milky Way, or hunker down in front of the fire with a glass of wine and share stories with your fellow guests.

Riding or hiking through the wilderness can be therapeutic | Courtesy of Visit Arizona

Native therapies

Tapping into the traditions and stories of the ancient world can help us break free from our everyday routinesand give us a wider perspective on our own lives. Aji Spa, in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, is a Native American-owned wellness center that combines modern spa treatments with the sacred doctrines of the Pima and Maricopa tribes. These treatments draw on traditional Native American healing practices and reflect the history and culture of the nearby Gila River Indian Community. The spa’s Nahtogig, or Four Directions treatment, for example, is inspired by the tribes’ Creation Story, which is also depicted in a mosaic in the spa lobby. All these details have been through a rigorous process of approval from Tribal Elders to ensure authenticity, and correct use and respect of the culture.

You’ll find the luxurious Aji Spa in the heart of the Sonoran Desert | Courtesy of Visit Arizona

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