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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.
Bearizona, as the name suggests, is a wildlife park filled with bears in the city of Williams, along Historic Route 66. Spread over 160 acres (64.7 hectares), this park offers visitors a chance to get up close not only with bears from the comfort of your car, but guests also become acquainted with the region’s diverse wildlife. Billed as a "Drive-Thru Wildlife Park," this may turn away conservationists, but the mission of the park is to "promote the preservation of these bears through safe, affordable, memorable, and educational encounters." Other animals that live here include gray wolves, bobcats, sheep, wolves and much more.
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.
The scent of wild acorns and fresh air is intoxicating while visitors wander around in the world's largest Ponderosa Pine forest. And perched at a heavenly height of 7,150 feet above sea level, Flagstaff's Arboretum is home to more than 2,000 different species of native flora. The arboretum also holds special aviary programs which showcase Arizona's native eagles, hawks, and other birds of prey. Throughout the summer season it hosts events like the popular Native Herb Festival or the Penstemon Plant Sale, and if you enjoy vino, the Wine in the Woods event every September very popular.
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.