Tough Mudder’s Weekend Warrior Guide: Arizona

By Cal Setar | March 8, 2017


Welcome to Tough Mudder Arizona 2017, aka Tough Mudder Red n’ Dusty, aka Tough Mudder Phoenix Rising, aka Tough Mudder Obstacles As Big As The Grand Canyon.

A weekend at Eastmark sounds pleasant enough - and yeah, the whole “city within a city” thing is plenty pleasant - but after all that mud and tough, it’s also bound to leave you a little exhausted and a lot revved up (it was once part of General Motors Desert Proving Ground, after all). Of course, this being the desert and all, the dust and the heat will be plentiful. Whether you’re rocking Tough Mudder Half or the full Tough Mudder experience, Eastmark’s going to have something to say about just how much energy you’ve got left post-race. And with all that sand, rocks, and openness to the elements, Arizona ain’t gonna be a cakewalk.

To help you prep for your jaunt to Arizona, we’ve put together a helpful guide on some of the best places to eat, stay, and adventure, good for whether you’re looking for something to keep you loose before race day, or basking in the afterglow of another event well run.

This is what cheat days were made for.

Like some live country twang to go with that backyard BB-Q? Look no further than San Tan Flat, where you’ll find all the soups, salads, sandwiches, and steaks your heart could ever desire, especially after 5 to 12 miles of mud and tough. With a heaping helping of country flair and ambience that leaves you feeling like you never left the campground, San Tan Flat will fill you up and have you ready to dance out whatever energy you’ve got left.

Arizona’s all about that Mexican food, and Jim’s Burros is a hole-in-the-wall with traditional Mexican with the added twist of some pretty delicious pancakes. We’re serious when we say hole-in-the-wall - Jim’s doesn’t even have a website (that link above is to a Yelp page). But when the food’s good enough, the people will come. Oh, they’ll come.

If you’re not into the whole gastric coin flip thing, we don’t blame you. Thankfully Queen Creek also has something geared more toward the healthy Mudder - Queen Creek Olive Mill. An actual sustainable olive farm and mill, Queen Creek Olive Mill doesn’t just stop at cranking out vinegars and oils, they also have breakfast and lunch menus, and run daily tours so Mudders can check out every aspect of their operation.

Mudders and adventure go together like peanut butter and jelly. Or like 10-12 mile course and a whole bunch of epic obstacles. Either way, any trip worth a Mudders time isn’t just going to end at the course. So if you’re looking for a little somethin’ somethin’ to keep you occupied, why not try an excursion to San Tan Mountains Regional Park. At San Tan, you can cruise over 10,000-plus acres of desert however you want - on foot, on a bike, even on rollerblades if you really want to (we wouldn’t recommend it though). Just gear up and hit the trail. Watch out for cacti.

Looking for something a little more family-friendly? Try a trip to Schnepf Farms, where you can pick, camp, or just while away the day wandering from The Farmhouse, to The Meadow, to The Big Red Barn.

And if you feel like taking a drive up 88, also known as the Apache Trail, you’ll have a chance to check out all the gorgeous nature that the Tonto National Forest has to offer.

And for the very toughest among you, maybe try out the Pebble Beach Recreation Area, where you can hit Salt River Tubing, or take a tour with the Saguaro Lake Ranch Stables

Need some new gear for all of your future adventures? Check out Merrell’s 2017 collection HERE.

The Four Points by Sheraton at Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport is in close proximity to the course, which is always nice from a convenience standpoint. But you’re Mudders. What you want isn’t on some map. It’s not the same ol’, same ol’ that every other tourist wants.

You want fun. You want adventure. Even in your sleeping accommodations, you want a sense that you’re out front, leading the charge with an awesome new experience.

The Usery Mountain Recreation Area and Lost Dutchman State Park both offer campgrounds that’ll keep you safely away from all the lights and sounds of Phoenix. And if that’s still not far enough away from all that civilization, just head further into Tonto National Park, where there’s no shortage of places to pitch a tent and lay your head.

Not feeling these suggestions?  Check out even more lodging options on our accommodations page here.