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Sonoran Desert

The sundown lowdown

Story by
postedSeptember 11, 2017

When the hot Arizona sun sets, the fun begins.

“Phoenix is known for its sunshine and stellar sunsets. What many don’t think about is what to do after the sun goes down,” says Trish Lanteigne, Visit Phoenix’s media relations manager. “The desert—especially in the summer—comes alive at night, providing a really unique experience for groups. It’s just another way that Phoenix might surprise you.”

Some of the nighttime tours offered in or near Phoenix include the following:

Full moon hike in Spur Cross
Hiking by moonlight at Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area leaves visitors with knowledge of the conservation area, fun facts about the moon, and an illuminating lesson on the sounds and smells of the desert after dark.

Moon Rise Tours with Arizona Territorial Adventures
Jeep tours through the Sonoran Desert show travelers the raw colors of an Arizona sunset and, once the sun goes down, the silhouettes of giant saguaro cacti against the fading sky. Tours are offered June through October two days before and during a full moon, and two days after.

Night tours with Stellar Adventures 

Participants are transported by SUV and are led by a professional astronomer. They observe Jupiter, its moons and eclipses, stars and lunar mountains, and canyons and craters by telescope.

Night vision
The desert comes to life at night, and groups can experience the emerging nocturnal wildlife. Group members are provided state-of-the-art night vision devices and are driven through the Sonoran Desert in search of desert dwellers.

For more information on nighttime tours, email Lanteigne or go to

Top photo by CC Flickr/Bureau of Land Management: