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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 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.
This natural wonder of Arizona is located about 40-miles northeast of downtown Flagstaff and it's one of the best kept secrets of the state. Often overlooked or bypassed in lieu of visiting the Grand Canyon, Grand Falls stands higher than famous Niagara, and at a height of 185-feet, it drops muddy monsoonal waters into the Little Colorado River below. When you visit, don't forget to bring your camera because the falls are extremely photogenic.
Inhabiting Flagstaff's northeasternmost frontiers, Wupatki National Monument is a hidden gem of a park that contains some of the oldest architectural gems in the entire North American continent. Studies conducted after examining the site's archeological findings confirm that numerous American Indian races namely Navajo, Hopi, and Zuni inhabited this area all along the southern Colorado flatlands for almost a millennium. This 35,422 acre (14,334 hectares) semi-arid expanse is dotted with an intricate system of incredible prehistoric pueblos that are infused with architectural sensibilities from various tribes, most notably from the Kayenta Anasazi, the Sinagua, and Cohonina. The Wupatki ruins are by far the largest and most noticeable structure in the park, with over 32 separate dwellings under its wing.
Affectionately known as frolf (a portmanteau of frisbee and golf), this game is just as difficult as throwing a frisbee. The game of disc golf started in the early 1960s and since then it has gained quite a following, enough so to create its own associations. Here in Flagstaff, McPherson Park provides all you need to enjoy a professional game. Here you'll learn the rules and quirky terminology of the sport.
Located south of Flagstaff, Fort Tuthill County Park is home to the Coconino County Fair and Coconino County Horse Races. There are five areas which include the amphitheater, the fairground, the race track and an arena. Each one offers its own entertainment and during the summer, the area is bustling with variety of special events such as rodeos, fairs and other attractions particular to the venue.
Among many western Native American pueblo cultures, the katsina is revered as a spirit that represents any inanimate or animate being in the natural world. The aptly named trail reveals the beauty of nature; it's filled with colorful aspens and pines that traverse the rugged, volcanic landscape. Located at the entrance to the popular Arizona Snowbowl ski area, it's crowded all-year round, however the best time is May through November.
The San Francisco Peaks offer a wealth of outdoor activities. From hiking amongst the Ponderosa Pines to skiing at Snowbowl, there is something for everyone. Humphreys Peak is the tallest peak within the volcanic range. Rising to a majestic 12,633-feet, it is the highest peak in Arizona. The summit is accessible in both winter and summer, however some routes are closed during really inclement weather.