by Micah Powell, Mayor, City of Eloy
It is a beautiful spring in Pinal County. I hope everyone has been able to get out and enjoy the weather, view the spectacular spring flowers, and be thankful for a new year.
Even in the continuing evolution of life with COVID-19, something about the natural desert is calming, invigorating, and worth visiting or even exploring.
One of best ways to enjoy a day out is visiting Eloy’s Skydive Arizona at the Eloy Municipal Airport. People from all over the world are well aware of Eloy’s skydiving attributes and are anxious to return each year — especially in the spring — for some of the best recreational and competitive freefalling and parachuting in the country.
In addition to attracting parachutists from dozens of countries, Skydive Arizona offers tandem jumps for visitors and locals where even a novice can experience the exhilaration of freefall, the grace of floating on air, the excitement of landing, no worse for the wear, but having the time of your life.
You may have seen the Phoenix news story about the World War II veteran who recently did a tandem jump for the first time on his 100th birthday — his response after the jump? “Let’s do that again!”
For the less adventurous, Skydive Arizona also has a fully operational indoor wind tunnel allowing for the full sensation of skydiving only several feet off the ground. To round out your day at the airport, visit the Bent Prop Saloon for some of the best food in Pinal County coupled with your favorite beverage while watching single and tandem skydivers soar through the air and land gracefully on their feet with a huge grin on their face!
Another perfect way to stay fit both mentally and physically is to get outside and enjoy Picacho Peak State Park, considered one of the best places in the Western U.S. to view desert wildflowers during their peak viewing season each spring.
Picacho Peak State Park offers camping, places to park your RV, and walking trails for folks of all abilities. For the slightly more adventurous, there are many trails in the Picacho Mountains and the Newman Peak area just east of Eloy.
In August 2019, Pinal County opened up an approximate 10-mile portion of the Central Arizona Project (CAP) National Recreation Trail. The trail is a long-distance, non-motorized, multi-use recreational trail that offers great views of the Picacho Mountains, including Newman Peak, Picacho Peak, and the Tortolita Mountains. The trailhead is located at 24449 E. Nona Road, approximately 1 mile south of Park Link Road.
“It’s a flat trail that runs adjacent to the canal,” says Kent Taylor, Pinal County Open Space and Trails Department Director. “When hikers are on the trail, they have a visual of water. It’s good for all levels and we’ve had phenomenal feedback from cyclists.”
While discovering Eloy, do not miss the Santa Cruz Valley Historic Museum and Sunland Visitor Center. A former school building that now houses both organizations has been completely renovated and filled with a great collection of artifacts, historical photos, and documents from Pinal County’s past. They are centrally located in Eloy on Toltec Road, north of I-10 and south of Frontier Street.
Health officials praise the idea of outside activities in this age of COVID-19, and enjoying nature in and around Eloy is a great way to stay fit. Eloy is a place to enjoy during every season, but spring is when the desert blossoms and Eloy shines.
Enjoy what Eloy and the surrounding desert has to offer now, as summer will be here sooner than you think!