The stunning expanse of Walnut Canyon sits on the Colorado Plateau. An extensive, winding trail commences at the visitor center, showcasing a wealth of outstanding geological marvels along its way, including rustic cliff dwellings that stand under beautiful canyon walls. These dwellings are believed to have been constructed by pre-Colombian people, most notably the Sinagua inhabitants. The Island Trail offers a detailed and strenuous hike which voyages deeper into the canyon, a breathtaking 85-foot descent into the heart of the community at this ancient site. Located within close proximity to Tuzigoot and Montezuma Castles, this site also shelters the Old Headquarters, a rustic, log-built cabin, which is said to be one of the earliest in northern Arizona.
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.
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.
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.
A heartwarming amalgam of nature and culture, the antiquated Flagstaff Historic Downtown is the soul of Arizona. The inextricable traces of Flagstaff's rich railroad heritage still remain intact at this historic quarter. Having aged seamlessly through centuries, it stands strong as a brimming destination of quirky boutiques, quaint coffee shops and a smattering of historical treasures today. Some of the many historic sites include the 1888 Babbitt Brothers Trading Company building, the 1889 Santa Fe Depot, the Spanish Colonial Hotel Monte Vista and the 1920's Weatherford Hotel. A couple of local spots in and around include Flagstaff Brewing Company and Beaver Street Brewery.
One of the most happening streets in the city of Sedona, Main Street is a pedestrian friendly destination lined up with cafes with lovely outdoor patios, restaurants, hotels and shopping destinations. With a backdrop of the stunning, Red Rock Hills, not only does the street offer quite a dramatic landscape, but the absence of cars also lends to the charm of walking down this road. Bronze plaques featuring the hand and foot prints of several actors, outdoor sculptures and historical buildings also make Main Street a tourist destination for many. An absolute must-visit during your time in the city, Main Street Sedona won't disappoint you with its many offerings.
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.
Education literally takes a different point of view at Northern Arizona University, due to its silhouette against Flagstaff's San Francisco Peaks. Surrounded by aspen and pine trees in four distinct seasons, students are challenged to better themselves intellectually through an eclectic array of classes and activities. Founded in 1899, NAU lays the groundwork for liberal arts education with opportunities to prepare for a number of specialized professions. Today, nearly 20,000 students embrace the future with their choice of 100 baccalaureate, 40 masters, and eight doctoral degrees. The cultural scene is kept active by various plays, dramas and concerts held at the Studio Theatre in Performing Arts Building. The Cline Assembly Hall in the Cline Library is also frequently used for ceremonies, lectures and talks.
Originally built as a hospital in 1908, this museum is operated by the Arizona Historical Society and serves as a tribute to Northern Arizona's pioneer days and agricultural roots. An antique railroad engine welcomes you to the grounds, and exhibits familiarize you with the area's first settlers and their many contributions to the birth and growth of the city. One of the museum's most popular events during the year is the winter "Playthings of the Past" exhibit, featuring toys and games from the late 1800s to mid-1900s.