Located north of Flagstaff near the Wupatki National Monument, this volcano last erupted a little before the Norman Conquest on the other side of the world in 1066. The volcanic eruption scattered ash and black cinder for miles around the area. Serendipitously, the ashen soil allowed subsequent tribes to inhabit the area due to its ability to retain water. Alongside the volcano, visitors can examine fascinating geologic features such as 'Squeeze-ups' and 'Hornitos,' which are bulbous mounds of lava and droplets. Hike along one-mile Lava Flow Trail and discover hidden wonders or climb a nearby cinder cone on the Lennox Crater Trail and enjoy the astounding views. Unfortunately, hiking to the top is prohibited.
Lumber barons Timothy and Michael Riordan built this 40-room mansion in 1904 to house their massive families. Its architect, Charles Whittlesey, also designed the magnificent El Tovar Hotel located at the Grand Canyon. What's most interesting about the structure is that the two sides are mirror images, with a huge common area in the center, to provide each family with identical private quarters and shared living spaces. The park also includes picnic areas and a visitors center that contains exhibits. Guided tours of the mansion and grounds are held at regular times throughout the day.
Many travelers are surprised to learn that the world's largest contiguous Ponderosa Pine forest blankets the mountains of Flagstaff in Northern Arizona. Aromatic treetops brush the endless blue sky just outside of town, but this panoramic portrait is more than just breathtaking scenery for hikers, climbers and other outdoor enthusiasts; it's home to wildlife which includes the black bear and American bald eagle. Explore elevations of up to 12,633 feet and watch the flora change from cactus to alpine tundra along the way.
The Museum of Northern Arizona is the premier facility for the study and exploration of native people and natural sciences which feature exhibits on the evolving cultures and climate of the area. Ever-changing exhibits cover anthropology, biology, geology and archaeology, as well as a variety of fine arts media. Throughout the year, Native American artists are showcased, and in the spring, an annual exhibition of Zuni, Hopi and Navajo artworks and crafts draw big crowds.
Observe the cosmos from the same spot where Clyde Tombaugh discovered the planetoid Pluto in 1930. In addition to cosmological wonders above, the planetarium has interactive exhibits, live shows, a massive theater and knowledgeable guides that explain the universe from below. The Clark Telescope is the main highlight and throughout the year, the observatory holds viewings of celestial events like meteor showers, comets, etc. A great place to visit for all ages and especially for those interested in astronomy.
Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park rests among a thick cover of pine and juniper trees, giving out a peaceful vibe. The sacred shrine is known to have existed for 2600 years, which makes it even more intriguing. Stupas are very sacred to the Buddhist culture, as they are meant to have the living essence of the Buddha himself. This sacred place is surrounded by scenic hillocks, featuring a striking crimson, that truly bring out the earthy colors of the Stupa. On entering the shrine, one can notice an uncanny peace overpowering their body, creating a gentle hum of solace and serenity; making this tranquil spot a must visit.
Downtown Wheeler Park is host to many exciting events, including Chili Cook-Offs and Fajita competitions!
Heritage Square is an outdoor plaza with an amphitheater that holds concerts, plays and other events throughout the year in historic downtown Flagstaff. The Heritage Square Trust maintains this 11,000-sq. ft. plaza and as a benevolent organization it provides free events to the public in what the trust calls the "community's living room." The 1200-seat amphitheater is the centerpiece of the plaza and during the year visitors can always see something new. From the summer concert series with plays and music as diverse as jazz and Celtic rock, its a great place to catch an eclectic performance.
The Flagstaff Field Center of the U.S. Geological Survey researches and provides information on all aspects of the area's natural resources. It also offers exhibits and displays on Arizona and Southwestern waterways, energy and natural resources, geologic structures and the use and preservation of federal lands. Self-guided tours of the department's facilities and exhibits may be taken Monday through Friday. Group guided tours may also be arranged. Brochures are available to guide you through the displays and self-guided tours are free of charge.