Mogollon Rim, Ariz.
Just two hours north of the desert metropolis of Phoenix, Ariz., is a rugged wilderness called the Mogollon Rim. It forms the expansive southern edge of the Colorado Plateau. Spectacular views can be seen from here, including desert landscapes and dense forests.
Area attractions include horseback riding, fishing, swimming, and hiking that ranges from easy to strenuous. Some campgrounds are free; others charge between $8 and $50 per night. Car camping or backpacking into the woods is often permitted and free in national forests like this one. Check with the Forest Service first to confirm camping rules for the area you'd like to visit and to get seasonal updates, such as road conditions or weather alerts.
A good rule of thumb for camping in the wilderness is to leave no trace -- haul out what you bring in, including trash and food, and don't damage or disrupt plants or animals that live there.