Located in the Southwestern part of the United States, Arizona is home to the vast amount of deserts, mountains, and canyons. Due to Arizona’s geography, it should come as no surprise that many people in Arizona are outdoor enthusiasts. Since Arizona is home to a lot of high elevation places, paragliding is the perfect extreme sport to do in Arizona. When paragliding Arizona, you can expect to see miles of desert and canyons. Since there are a ton of perfect paragliding locations, we have narrowed it down to 8. Continue down below to learn about the top 8 places to paraglide in Arizona!
This first Arizona paragliding location is situated within the Coconino National Forest! The Apache Maid sometimes referred to as Flagstaff, has a climate that is perfect for intermediate or advanced paragliders! Enjoy a challenging paragliding Arizona experience, by launching off the tight and steep tree area. Once you are in the air, you will most likely experience a few strong thermals. Make sure you are a fast thinker, because the winds are often difficult to predict, and tend to change abruptly. So, be ready to adequately change your course.
Have the quintessential paragliding Arizona experience by visiting Box Canyon! Located in Tucson, hike up the front of the Box Canyon to your desired height. Once you launch off, you will glide above the canyon and will be able to spot gorgeous views of the city of Tucson. Expect to land in a wide and open field. While Box Canyon will give you the perfect paragliding Arizona experience that you are looking for, there are a couple of hazards you should be aware of. Some of these hazards include dehydration and heat exhaustion. It is recommended that inexperienced pilots should only paraglide Box Canyon in the evening since the temperatures will be cooler. It is also recommended that first time fliers for this sight should fly alongside a local guide. Even though Box Canyon will provide you with some gorgeous views, it is a tough area.
If you want the perfect Arizona paragliding experience, but you do not want to be worried about heat exhaustion or dehydration, then check out Humboldt. This Arizona paragliding location is located in the town of Dewey-Humboldt. Humboldt is also an easier place to paraglide than Box Canyon because the terrain is not as rocky, and the winds tend to be at the beginner pace. Once you are in the air, you will soar over the moderate rigid terrain of Humboldt, and be able to see views of the town of Dewey-Humboldt!
Located on the southern border of Arizona, Miller Canyon is one of the most popular Arizona paragliding locations. There are three launch options, all of which require a little bit of hiking to get there. Launch one is the most dangerous launch of the three, so only launch from the first one if you are an experienced paraglider. As for the landing, expect to land in a huge field that is situated next to Nick’s Bar. So, after a long flight, check out Nick’s Bar or the dry campground that is close by. Once you are in the air, glide over a desert full of various types of shrubs. You can also see views of nearby canyons when you launch. While Miller Canyon is the most popular, it is definitely popularized by thrill-seekers and locals, as it is also one of the most dangerous Arizona paragliding locations. Some of the dangers include; unpredictable and powerful desert weather, a barbed wire fence on the south-east corner, and a ton of cows. So, if you are an experienced and brave paraglider, check out Miller Canyon.
This Arizona paragliding location is one of the best paragliding spots in the United States! And if you want to fly it free, you better be an Arizona Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association (AZHPA) member. Located in the Prescott National Forest, Mingus is home to a 150 feet natural ramp and a 4,300 foot vertical! Although you can paraglide this location at any time in the year, it is best to paraglide from spring to early fall. Mingus has two launching options and one landing option. Once you are in the air, you will see the grassy breakdown area, which is like no other in Arizona. While Mingus is truly an amazing Arizona paragliding experience, you should be aware of the hazards. Some of the hazards include; small airplanes, large rocks, steep drop-off on the south end of the landing zone, and violent thunderstorms that may develop very quickly.
Located in the south-west part of Phoenix, sits Oatman. While this Arizona paragliding location is perfect for year round gliding, the temperature can be severely high in the summer. So, just be aware of possible hazards that come with high temperatures, such as, heat exhaustion and dehydration. Anyway, there are two launch options at Oatman. The first faces the southern area and typically has winds ranging up to 25 mph. The main hazards located on the south launch are; power lines, high-speed jets during the weekdays, and crosswinds which generally cause turbulence. As for the north launch, the winds are the same, along with the hazards. Once you have launched, you will glide above gorgeous mountains and meadows. If you paraglide in the late afternoon, you will get the chance to see the gorgeous orange and purple Arizona sunset!
Located in the heart of Phoenix, this Arizona paragliding site is one for the history books! Shaw Butte has been used as a paragliding location since the early ‘70s. Once at the top of Shaw Butte, you will paraglide with a grand view of the city of Phoenix. Thus, if you want a truly unique and classic paragliding Arizona experience, then check out Shaw Butte! If you’re interested in paragliding Shaw Butte, be prepared to meet the following conditions; be a member of the AZHPA and the United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (USHPA), sign in at the top prior to flying (there is a steel lock box with the sign in sheet), have an P3 rating or higher, and print, sign, and submit the liability release waiver to AZHPA or present it to a club officer prior to flying the site.
Finally, travel to the largest municipal park in the world! Located in the southern part of Phoenix, Arizona, South Mountain Park is a 13-mile range of mountains. Soar above mountains and grasslands while seeing the communities and houses on the edge of Phoenix, and the large mountains that are nearby. Like Shaw Butte, there are requirements to paragliding South Mountain. These requirements are; being a member of the AZHPA and USHPA, having a P3 rating in order to fly solo, or having a P2 rating to fly with a site sponsor, and printing, signing, and submitting a liability release waiver to AZHPA, or present it to a club officer prior to flying the site.
So, that concludes our list of the top 8 paragliding locations in Arizona! Arizona has a ton of other amazing paragliding spots, which you should check out. But, these are the most popular and challenging. While Arizona does offer some paragliding locations for beginner paragliders, the steep and rigid terrain, paired with the extreme conditions and strong abruptly changing winds, makes Arizona more suitable for intermediate and advanced paragliders. Overall, whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced paraglider, hopefully, this list has inspired you to plan a paragliding trip to Arizona, or write a few locations down on your paragliding bucket list!