Just a short drive Northeast of Flagstaff, Arizona lies a rugged land atop the vast Colorado Plateau. Here you can find what remains of an ancient Puebloan people. Wupatki National Monument protects numerous ancient dwellings of peoples who have long since moved on. Perhaps the main highlight of the Wupatki National Monument is the self-guided tour of the Wupatki Pueblo. As the largest dwelling in the region, it provides a great example of what life might have been like for someone living in such a village.
Be sure to check out the visitor center before you head out on your self-guided tour…and don’t miss out on the blowhole and ball court not too far from the main pueblo structure.
Wupatki National Monument houses several other archeological sites which include: Lomaki Pueblo, Citadel and Nalakihu pueblos, and Wukoki Pueblo. Be sure to spend some time enjoying the nuances of these unique structures. And, as always, visit with care to ensure future visitors are able to equally enjoy these fragile resources.
Visitor Center: open daily (except Dec 25th); specific hours vary by season
Trails are open during daylight hours
Fees: *Please note Wupatki and Sunset Crater Volcano National Monuments are connected by a 35-mile loop road and both monuments are covered by one fee.
- Private Vehicle: $25 for 7-days
- Bicyclist/Pedestrian: $15 for 7-days
- Motorcycle: $20 for 7-days
Other accommodations: No lodging, gas stations, or restaurants are located in either of the monuments. The closest major services are located in Flagstaff.
Takes a big dam structure to hold back the largest reservoir in the United States
It all started with a conversation. “Would you rather…use 3.25 million cubic yards of concrete to (1) pave a 16-foot-wide highway from San Fransisco to New York City, or (2) build the largest concrete sturcture in the world to create the biggest reservoir in the United States of America? Well, pull out your swimming trunks boys cause we’re building a dam. Okay, the story might be (read: is definitely) fake, but the stats are the real deal. The Hoover Dam holds back the water supply for nearly 20 million people across the states of Nevada, California, and Arizona. Additionally, with its 759 miles of shoreline, Lake Mead provides recreation opportunities to countless more individuals from a much wider swath of humanity.
Quick Facts about the Hoover Dam:
– Length = 1,244 feet long
– Height = 726 feet high
– Thickness = 660 feet thick
– Constructed between 1931 and 1936
– Original name was Boulder Dam
– Renamed Hoover Dam in 1947 by joint resolution of congress
Hoover Dam Tours:
Three different tours are available to fully immerse yourself in the dam experience. Be aware of the difference between tours of the powerplant and passageways, and those that only include the powerplant. The commonality between the three tours is admission into the Hoover Dam Visitor Center.
Hoover Dam is located on the Arizona-Nevada border just 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas, Nevada.
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Erosion. Sometimes erosion gets a bad wrap for washing things away and evoking connotations of destruction. Well, we say thank goodness for this glorious power of water…and time. Antelope Canyon is yet another scenic gem of the American Southwest and lies just east of Page, Arizona on Navajo Nation land. Since 1997 Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons can only be accessed with a tour guide as they have received the designation as a Navajo Tribal Park. For photographers and sightseers alike, these canyons are well worth the tour. Experience first-hand the beautiful synergy of sandstone slot canyons and sunlight.
Upper Antelope Canyon (The Crack): The more accessible of the two canyons, Upper Antelope Canyon is all on ground level and doesn’t require stairs or scrambling over rocks. Upper Antelope Canyon also offers more opportunities for those spectacular light beams due to a greater abundance of opening in the top of the canyon. If you are looking to get those iconic light beams entering the slot canyon, your chances are best if you go during midday between late March and early October.
Lower Antelope Canyon (The Corkscrew): Lower Antelope Canyon was only accessible via a series of ladders earlier in its history. Today tours can get into Lower on metal stairways. On the plus side, being the less-accessible of the canyons, Lower does keep the crowds away. For the photographers out there, lighting is typically better in the mornings due to the V-shaped slope, and shallower nature, of Lower Antelope Canyon.
Weather Warning: Slot canyons inherently come with some amount of risk. Flash floods, for instance. This is one of the reasons a tour guide is required for both of these canyons. Pay close attention to the weather during your Antelope Canyon visit. No sense in being swept away with the same sands that left such a marvel in their wake.
The city of limitless possibilities
Mesa. The largest suburb in the United States of America. (We just blew your mind right!?)
Probably not going to get you to visit just with that designation though, right? Well, read on to find out exactly why you should put Mesa on your list of gotta visit places on your next trip to Arizona.
Wind Cave Trail: At only 1.6 miles, this hike is accessible to toddlers as well as too old to have been a toddler in the last 80 years. Don’t miss the fantastic wild flowers scattered throughout the hike.
Salt River Tubing: Yup, nothing as attractive as water in the desert. Floating the Salt River has become a bit of a floating party with a variety of events scheduled each year that range from Mardi Gras Magic to Pirates on the Salt River.
Rockin’ R Ranch: Bring the old west back to life in this 1880s replica of an old west town. Everything you need to travel back in time to the days of the gun toating sheriffs and real live outlaws. With live music, an opportunity to pan for gold, and even a reenactment of an old west gunfight. Oh yeah, did I mention an all-you-can eat BBQ?
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The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Well, Mother Nature was not interested in the shortest distance. Scattered throughout the American Southwest are a number of spots where these adolescent, free-thinking rivers chose a different path and literally did a 180.
One of the most iconic episodes of this occurred on the Colorado River just 5 miles downstream of the Glen Canyon Dam. Now presenting, Horseshoe Bend Arizona. Just a quick drive to the outskirts of Page, AZ resides one of those Instagram-wothy memories that made you jealous of that ‘one friend.’ With such easy access to this landscape photography icon, take a few moments to bask in an amazing sunset, snap a few quick photos, and be that friend this time around. There are plenty of things to do around Page, but a sunset at Horseshoe Bend should definitely make your list.
Jan thinks it’s hard being a Brady? Try being a national monument in Arizona for a few minutes and she will have her attitude adjusted in a jiffy.
The Grand Canyon & Marcia may be the grooviest looking girl in the whole school, (*whining* Grand Canyon, Grand Canyon, Grand Canyon!) …but it’s far from Arizona’s only natural wonder! From red cliffs cut through by blue ribbons of water, to towering rock formations that defy belief, to a massive living cave beneath your feet, Arizona is full of incredible monuments worthy of your visit.
The Grand Canyon may get most of the attention (heck maybe even all of it) but don’t let the echo chamber of the internet steal your travel plans. Arizona has 3 national parks that will knock your hiking socks off, and for good reason. Don’t you dare miss out on the rest of the family.
Marcia BradyThe Grand Canyon is the eldest of the three Brady girlsArizona National Parks and like her brother Greg,Saguaro, Marcia BradyThe Grand Canyon is a bit of an overachiever. She is very popular with everyone at school because she’s gorgeous, smart, and everything she does is interesting. MarciaThe Grand Canyon, is what every girlNational Park dreams of being: confident, beautiful and noble. She is very interested in politics and has a high concern about herself and her appearance.
–Source: Wikipedia…sort of.
Saguaro: (Greg Brady) Been yearning to see towering, giant saguaros in their native environment? Saguaro National Park preserves a giant saguaro cactus forest that stretches across the valley floor near Tucson. Unique to the Sonoran Desert, the park’s giant saguaros sometimes reach as high as 50 and can live longer than 200 years. It’s no wonder they’ve been described as the kings of the Sonoran Desert.
Petrified National Forrest: (Jan Brady) Experience one of the world’s largest and most vibrantly colored assemblies of petrified wood, historic structures, and archaeological sites at Petrified Forest National Park. 200-million-year-old fossils tell the tale of the prehistoric earth and its inhabitants in Arizona’s Painted Desert.
The Grand Canyon: (Marcia Brady) Vast, magnificent and inarguably beautiful, the Grand Canyon is easily Arizona’s most distinguishable landmark—a natural wonder you must see to believe. Stretching 277 miles from end to end, its rocky walls descend more than a mile to the canyon’s floor, where the wild Colorado River traces a swift course southwest.
A national Park since 1919, the Grand Canyon is much more than just “a big hole in the ground.” This mile-deep geologic wonder features hikes, mule rides & rafting. Unique combinations of geologic color and eroded forms, decorate a canyon that is 277 river miles long, and up to 18 miles wide in parts.
Places to explore:
- The North Rim
- The South Rim
- Havasupai Falls
- Phantom Ranch
Home of the largest cacti in America, the park is named for the large saguaro cactus, native to its desert environment. Saguaro National Park has scenic views, hiking trails & stunning picnic areas are offered.
Places to explore:
- Petroglyphs of the ancient Hohokam people.
- Cactus Forest Drive
- Signal Hill Trail
Petrified Forest National Park is in northeast Arizona. The Rainbow Forest is full of colorful petrified wood and is home to the Rainbow Forest Museum, with paleontology exhibits & trail access points. The park includes Petroglyphs of Newspaper Rock and the ruined village of Puerco Pueblo. To the north, the Painted Desert Inn, a 1930s adobe building, is a museum with Hopi murals.
Places to explore:
- The Rainbow Forest
- Newspaper Rock
- Puerco Pueblo
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Petrified National Park
Saguaro National Park
Grand Canyon National Park
Sedona Arizona | A Visitors Guide to Sedona
Truly like no other place on earth
The majestic crimson rock formations and iconic red rocks of Sedona, will take your breath away.
This area is known for the energy it radiates. Simply put – there is no other place on earth like Sedona Arizona.
Get some of the red earth on your hiking boots on any of the countless hiking trails ranging from leisurely jaunts to long, challenging backpacking treks. Be inspired by the impressive artwork housed in Sedona’s art galleries. Try something new such as walking through a labyrinth, getting your aura photographed, or indulging in a massage that will get every kink and pain out of your body.
It is no wonder that Sedona Arizona is considered “The Most Beautiful Place on Earth.”
Now is the time to experience everything firsthand, from hiking, and fine dining, to art galleries, and personal enrichment, Sedona has so much to fill each day of your stay.
Sedona Arizona may not have something for everyone, but it definitley tries. Well known for its surrounding red-rock landscape, Sedona also plays host to a vibrent arts community and a fair share of luxurious spas. But, be careful planning a trip to Sedona, you may fall in love with this place and never leave.
A Visitors Guide to Sedona Arizona
– Hiking trails
– Pink jeep tours
– Mountain biking
– Oak Creek Canyon
– The Vortexes
– Red Rock Scenic Byway
– Chapel of the Holy Cross
– Red Rock State Park
– Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village
– Sedona Spas
– Palatki and Honanki Heritage Site
– Slide Rock State Park
– Amitabha Stupa & Peace Park
– Devil’s Bridge Trail
– Star gazing
– Boynton Canyon Trail
– Cathedral Rock Trail
– Montezuma Castle National Monument
– Sedona Heritage Museum
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Located in the high country mountains of northern Arizona, Flagstaff’s four seasons are enviable by many.
Summer temperatures average in the low 80s with blue skies and crisp mountain air, while winter adventures await in Arizona’s officially designated winter wonderland with an average of 108″ of snowfall downtown.
Quaking aspen and foliage offer hues of reds and purples in the fall, while spring offers the breathtaking beauty of blooms in the world’s largest contiguous emerald green ponderosa pine forest.
When you think of Arizona, images of the desert, red rock, and cacti probably come to mind. What you may not know is that Flagstaff is quite the opposite. Surrounded by ski hills, volcanoes, and pine trees, you wouldn’t know that Arizona’s desert regions are only a short drive away.
About 6,900 feet in elevation, Flagstaff’s cool climate is a welcome change of pace if you’re looking to get out of the desert and its sweltering heat. Snow-covered during much of the winter, the Flagstaff area is replete with fun activities (even skiing!) unavailable in most of Arizona.
A great place to explore the outdoors at any time of the year, Flagstaff has a lot to offer. Whether it be hiking, biking, skiing, exploring Native American sites or perusing local museums, Flagstaff is a prized gem among Arizona’s regions.
Plan to use Flagstaff as your home base to explore some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. Flagstaff city is only 80 miles from the Grand Canyon and close to seven National Parks and Monuments.
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Located just 20 minutes from downtown Phoenix, Camelback Mountain is a Phoenix icon and popular outdoor destination for thousands of visiting hikers each year. Phoenix’s desert preserves, including Camelback Mountain, are home to native species such as the desert tortoise, chuckwalla lizard, cottontail rabbits, and rattlesnakes (hike with caution). Plant species include the saguaro, cholla and prickly pear cacti, as well as native trees such as mesquite and palo verde.
Trailhead hours: Sunrise to sunset
Both Echo Canyon Trail and Cholla Trail are rated extremely difficult, challenging hikers with exposed rock, strenuous climbs and sections of hand-over-hand climbing. Dogs are prohibited at all Echo Canyon and Cholla Trail areas.
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