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Among the verdant Ponderosa Pines, Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course offers zip-lines, ropes, traps, nets, bridges and suspended contraptions for those not afraid of heights. There are two different courses, one for adults and the other for kids, but both provide thrills and great views above the canopy. It's located in Fort Tuthill County Park, one of the many park gems among the larger Coconino National Forest.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Located seven miles north of Flagstaff at the foot of the San Francisco Peaks, Snowbowl is a popular skiing spot for locals as well as tourists. The lodge offers 25 one-room cabins with front porches and gas fireplaces. The longest run is two miles and top elevation is 11,500 feet, which can be reached with the Agassiz Chairlift. The season runs from December through March (sometimes it is extended, however it depends on snowfall).
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 were named after Saint Francis of Assisi in the 17th Century by a group of Franciscan Friars. The peaks are actually a volcanic mountain range consisting of six peaks. The peaks offer a slew of recreational facilities including skiing, hiking, and other winter sports.
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.