Phoenix is an ideal base from which to explore Arizona’s many attractions and experience the full experience of this diverse state. From tasting locally produced wine to skiing down dizzying slopes, here are seven of the best day trips from Phoenix. Desert Skiing in Flagstaff The mountain town of Flagstaff sits at an altitude of 2,000 feet and is surrounded by the world’s largest population of Ponderosa pines. It’s a great place to ski, with an impressive 55 slopes in the Arizona Snowbowl. This adventure zone peaks in winter when the locals descend on the 777-acre ski area, but year-round you can ride the new high-speed gondola for sensational views of cinder cones and Sedona’s red rocks from 11,500 feet enjoy. Getting to Flagstaff: This journey takes two hours and 15 minutes north on I-17, slightly longer if exiting Sedona on State Routes 179 and 89A. The FlixBus leaves regularly from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Visitors enjoy the beauty of Slide Rock State Park, with its natural rock water slides in Oak Creek Canyon near Sedona © Fotoluminate LLC / Shutterstock Explore more than 600 kilometers of hiking and biking trails in Sedona Although you can see Sedona’s famous red rock formations as you drive around town , you can hike or bike among ponderosa pines and prickly pear cacti for a heightened experience. Sedona’s 200 multi-purpose trails (400 miles!) Lead to 5,000 foot high sandstone towers such as Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock, believed to be “vortex” sites or natural energy centers. After sharing with nature, head to the Indian Gardens Café & Market in Oak Creek Canyon for a bite to eat. During your stay, visit Garland’s next door, a boutique full of authentic indigenous items like Navajo rugs and pumpkin flower necklaces. On the way to Sedona, don’t miss Montezuma Castle National Monument, a place shaded by green trees where you can get a glimpse of the remains of pueblos, built by the Sinagua around 1050 AD. Getting to Sedona: It takes just under two hours to travel the 116 mile route along I-17 that joins State Highway 179. Private shuttles run daily from Phoenix to Sedona. Taste More Than 25 Wineries and Tasting Rooms in the Verde Valley As the name suggests, the Verde Valley in the high desert of Arizona is painted in glorious shades of green, a refreshing change from the sand-colored landscape of Phoenix. The few historic towns have largely left their mining days behind, and now many communities like Clarkdale, Cottonwood, and Cornville are producing wines. From Roussanne and Riesling to Grenache and Merlot, there’s a surprising variety to try on a self-guided tour of the Verde Valley Wine Trail and at the spring wine festival. Take time for a wine tour with an interlude at Tuzigoot National Monument. There is a museum and well-preserved ruins of pueblos overlooking the Verde River. Here you can walk among the ancient structures where the Sinagua lived for hundreds of years before leaving the valley in the 14th century. How to get to Verde Valley: It is approximately an hour and 45 minutes drive to Cornville, 104 miles north of I-17; Cottonwood is about five miles west and Clarkdale is another four miles away. Private shuttles offer daily trips to Cottonwood from Phoenix. Lone Spur Cafe on Whiskey Row in Prescott, Arizona © Andriy Blokhin / Shutterstock Have whiskey in Arizona’s oldest border saloon in Prescott The kilometer-high town of Prescott, once Arizona’s territorial capital, retains its stately charm with Victorian houses and the 1916 neoclassical revival style Courthouse that dominates the city center. At the heart of this area is Whiskey Row, named for its collection of saloons that popped up during the gold rush to cater to customers from prospectors and cowboys to gamblers and outlaws. Whistle at The Palace, Arizona’s oldest border saloon. Local gunslinger legends like Wyatt Earp, Virgil Earp and Doc Holliday once sneaked into the 1880s Brunswick Bar, which is still in use after being rescued from a fire in 1900; Patrons carried it across the street to safety. How to get to Prescott: This 100-mile journey takes approximately an hour and 45 trips north on I-17, then east on State Route 69. Private shuttles operate daily from Phoenix to Prescott. Explore Jerome, the Evilest City in the West The copper mine (once the largest in Arizona), gambling dens, and brothels long gone, but this not-entirely-ghostly town (nearly 500 people live here) is still a window into its days as that worst city in the west. The winding road to the cliff-top village of Jerome on Cleopatra Hill leads to an enclave of historic buildings that house local art boutiques, restaurants, and wine tasting rooms. There’s also a museum and the bizarre Sliding Jail, the remains of a concrete cell block that appears to have run away. Unsurprisingly, this ghost town has had its share of paranormal activity, particularly at the Jerome Grand Hotel, which was once the United Verde Hospital in the 1920s. Visit the hotel’s Asylum Restaurant for lunch and enjoy the view of the valley below. How to get to Jerome: This journey takes two hours (111 miles) north on I-17 on State Routes 260 and 89A. Spot wildlife like black bears and bald eagles in the Tonto National Forest.If you’re craving some wilderness after a trip to the city, head to the Tonto National Forest. Its 590,000 acres are filled with fossil travertine rock formations, mountain wildflowers, and species such as black bears, bald eagles, and rattlesnakes. This diverse ecosystem, named after the Tonto Apache who originally inhabited the area, stretches between 400m and 2,900m and has trout-fishing streams and pine-lined hinterland trails in abundance. It’s also much cooler up here, of course, which makes finding solitude all the more appealing in places like the fast-flowing Fossil Creek and the trails in the Hell’s Gate Wilderness Area. Expect snow at higher elevations in winter. Getting to Tonto National Forest: It takes approximately two hours to drive the 65 mile route northeast on State Route 87 (Beeline Highway). Horseback riding at White Stallion Ranch in the Sonoran Desert near Tucson © Kris Davidson / Lonely Planet Get up close and personal with the Sonoran Desert in Tucson Sure, you can see saguaro cacti in and around Phoenix, but it has an unearthly appeal to stand between these giants that can weigh up to eight tons. The Saguaro National Park, which is divided into an east and a west zone, extends over the city of Tucson. You can ride the loops of the park year-round and hike the trails to discover ancient limestone ovens and petroglyphs on well-marked trails. Visit April through June when the saguaros bloom into white flowers that produce oval red fruits. Do you need a respite from the heat? A ride on the Sky Island Scenic Byway takes you along twists and turns and finally ends at 9,000-foot Mount Lemmon, the highest point in the Santa Catalina Mountains and the southernmost point for skiing in the continental United States. How to get to Tucson: It takes an hour and forty-five minutes to drive south on I-10 to complete the 113 mile drive. Bus and shuttle services to Tucson are available, but you’ll need a car to explore the park.