/ The Phoenix Traveler
Phoenix — By Heather Wright Schlichting on October 1, 2009 at 7:14 pm
Filed under: Arizona, featuredarticle, sunsets

The Best Places to Watch an Arizona Sunset

Arizona is renowned for its spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Other than tropical regions, the deserts are noted for brilliant and colorful sunsets and contrary to a popular misconception it is not due to dust or pollution.  If that were the case, then cities like New York and Mexico City would be at the top of the list.  Clean air is, in fact, the main ingredient common to brightly colored sunrises and sunsets.


Here’s the Reason
Sunlight is composed of a spectrum of colors that ranges from violet and blue at one end to orange and red on the other. At sunset, sunlight takes a longer path through the atmosphere than during the middle part of the day. More violet and blue light is scattered out of the beam along the way, and so the light which reaches the human eye early or late in the day is reddened. Based on this, sunsets are red because the daytime sky is blue.

The best sunsets occur when there are at least a few high clouds. Higher clouds are hit by the sun’s rays before they pass through the lower atmosphere, where the air has more particles allowing bright reds and oranges to filter through at the high cloud’s level.

The Best Places to Watch the Sunset in Arizona
Based on my own research and input from other Phoenicians, here is a list of restaurants, hiking locations, etc. that allow you a fantastic opportunity to soak in the view.

Phoenix Area:

Watch the sun set over Paradise Valley from a hillside table at Elements, the restaurant at Sanctuary, a resort on Camelback Mountain.

5700 E. MacDonald Drive, Paradise Valley
(800) 245-2051

View from the Four Seasons Resort

View from the Four Seasons Resort

Four Seasons Resort
My personal favorite, the Four Seasons Resort is part of my itinerary for out-of-town guests.  Because you are about 1,000 feet higher in elevation than downtown Phoenix, the views of the city and Pinnacle Peak, a popular hiking area, are magnificent.  The patio is quite large, very comfortable and you and your guests are not rushed to drink, eat and leave.  It’s a wonderful way to end your day!

10600 E Crescent Moon Dr., Scottsdale
(888) 207-9696

Lon’s at the Hermosa Inn
The ambience is exquisite, especially sitting on the charming patio to watch the sunset amid the mountains and desert surroundings. It’s a true Southwestern experience.

5532 North Palo Cristi, Paradise Valley

Camelback Mountain – Echo Trail
It took geological nature tens of millions of years to sculpt this gigantic symbol of a resting camel from high above the Phoenix horizon.Check out the sunset from Echo Trail/Summit Trail.

South Mountain
At over 17,000 acres, South Mountain Preserve is the largest municipal park in the country. Picnic and gathering spots are all accessible from the park’s entrance on Central Avenue.

10919 S. Central Ave. (south of Dobbins Road)

Arizona Grand Resort
Starting October 14, stables at the resort allow you to ride into the sunset on South Mountain.  The cost is $65/person.

Baseline at I-10
8000 S. Arizona Grand Parkway
(602) 438-9000

Piestewa Peak
An assortment of picnic areas nestled in the hills offer a picturesque spot for gathering.
Map of Piestewa Peak

Papago Park
An oasis surrounded by Phoenix, Tempe and Scottsdale, Papago Park is next to the Desert Botanical Garden and the Phoenix Zoo and offers ramadas for sunset picnics.

625 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix
(602) 256-3220

Outside of Phoenix:

Thumb Butte
Prescott, AZ

Sierra Vista
Near the top of Carr Peak

Sunset Point
On the I17 North freeway at a main rest stop

Sedona airport
235 Air Terminal Drive, Sedona

Right before you reach the top of Air Terminal Drive is a leveled area with a parking lot that attracts many visitors late in the day for sunset.

Check out this web site before you head out to determine what time sunset will be 365 days a year.

Photo credit- wikimedia

Tags: Arizona, featuredarticle, sunsets

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