Arizona is chock-full of places to explore | Grand Canyon

Although Arizona may be finest identified for its large crack within the earth, the Grand Canyon State affords boundless alternatives to expertise a number of the most original landscapes within the nation. From towering saguaros, colourful canyons and historical cliff dwellings to kitschy Route 66 points of interest and relics of the Outdated West, Arizona is chock-full of locations to discover.

Web page and Marble Canyon

Two steel bridges crossing a wide chasm.

The Navajo Bridge crosses the Colorado River close to Lee’s Ferry.

Located alongside Arizona’s northern border, the city of Web page offers the right basecamp for exploring this area of the state. Take the scenic drive south from Web page to Marble Canyon, residence of the Navajo Bridge that spans the Colorado River. Whereas there, discover Lee’s Ferry, the principal launching level for Grand Canyon rafters, and hike alongside the interpretive path that includes ruins from the previous settlement. For an extended trek, hike the Cathedral Wash Path that takes you thru a gorgeous slot canyon with spectacular geology. Whereas in Web page, cease at Horseshoe Bend for an iconic view of the Colorado River and discover the Lake Powell space.

Prescott and Jerome

Not removed from Sedona and alongside scenic 89A, you’ll discover the historic mountaintop city of Jerome. This former copper mining town-turned-artist colony can be identified for its haunts and ghost excursions. Discover the place as soon as regarded “Wickedest City of the West” on guided journeys that permit unique entry to a number of historic buildings. Whereas strolling across the neighborhood, peruse the quirky galleries and boutiques that line the streets and drop by the Mining Museum. Due to the winding nature of this high-elevation section of 89A, with 127 curves in 12 miles, it’s truthful to say this can be a vacation spot the place the trailer is finest left-back at camp.

A goat rests on a rock and surveys a lake with a rocky shoreline.

Frankie the goat takes within the views at Watson Lake in Prescott

Prescott (pronounced, “Press-kit), the unique capital of the Arizona Territory, is stuffed with cowboy attraction and Outdated West landmarks along with its beautiful surroundings. Like Jerome, this higher-elevation vacation spot is a good place to flee the warmth whereas exploring its granite peaks, crystal lakes and huge ponderosa pine forests. Throughout your go to, hike the pet-friendly loop path round Watson Lake or the panoramic path on Granite Mountain. In downtown’s historic district, drop by Whiskey Row, the place you’ll discover dozens of energetic bars, together with the Palace Restaurant & Saloon, Arizona’s oldest institution. That’s not the one historic declare to fame — Prescott can be residence to the world’s oldest Rodeo, and through “Frontier Days,” the city celebrates with parades, dances and Outdated West occasions.


A cathedral-like structure rising among the red rocks of a mountain face.

Chapel of the Holy Cross is constructed into the crimson rock.

It’s been stated that individuals gravitate to Sedona’s Crimson Rock Nation not just for its magnificence but additionally for its famed vortex zone. This mecca for healers attracts folks from everywhere in the world, who go to Sedona to recharge, chill out and enhance their wellness. With quite a few outside alternatives, numerous eating places and dozens of artwork galleries, the city affords slightly bit for everybody to get pleasure from. Some well-liked mountaineering trails embody Cathedral Rock, Boynton Canyon, Satan’s Bridge and Bell Rock, however get there as early as potential to keep away from the crowds. Go to the gorgeous Chapel of the Holy Cross, designed by famed architect Marguerite Brunswig Staude, a pupil of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Superstition Mountains

With their jagged volcanic peaks, the Superstition Mountains simply east of Phoenix dramatically rise above the desert ground, offering a pure playground for outside adventurers. Between rock-climbing, mountaineering, canyoneering, boating and biking, the world is chockful of leisure alternatives. Shrouded in thriller, the Superstition Mountains are residence to many native myths, from Native American legends to that of the Misplaced Dutchman, an immigrant who found gold and purportedly buried his treasure within the mountains. To this present day, nobody has discovered the dear cache. Whereas visiting, discover previous film units on the Superstition Mountain Museum and hike the paths at Misplaced Dutchman State Park.

Grand Canyon Nationwide Park

A goat oversees a vast canyon punctuated by buttes and mesas.

The Grand Canyon’s South Rim path is among the few pet-friendly trails within the park.

Greater in space than the state of Rhode Island, the Grand Canyon is greater than a mile deep and measures over 1,902 sq. miles in its entirety. This large chasm exposes greater than two billion years of geological historical past and is taken into account one of many Seven Pure Wonders of the World. Whereas planning a visit throughout the spring by fall, the North Rim affords guests reduction from the large inflow of vacationers seen on the extra developed South Rim. This increased elevation part of the nationwide park is sprawling with magnificence and panoramic views. Whereas there, take the 11-mile scenic drive from the customer middle to Level Imperial, the best rim overlook at 8,803 toes. Take the quick hike to Shiny Angel Level and Cape Royal, the widest panoramic vista on the Grand Canyon, the place you can too view Angels Window, a pure arch fabricated from Kaibab limestone.

Situated close to Flagstaff, the South Rim is extra centrally positioned than its northern counterpart and is well accessible year-round. Drop by the state-of-the-art customer middle and hike alongside the South Rim path, the one pet-friendly path with canyon views.

For individuals who have further time to spare and revel in journey, plan a backpacking, rafting or mule journey down into the canyon.

Montezuma’s Citadel Nationwide Monument

For a peek into the previous, plan a go to to Montezuma’s Citadel, a five-story, 20-roomed cliff dwelling centrally positioned between Sedona and Phoenix. This indigenous residence complicated was constructed and utilized by the Sinagua folks, the traditional ancestors of present-day Pueblo tribes of Arizona. To see extra villages in Arizona left behind from the Sinagua, go to Tuzigoot, Walnut Canyon and Wupatki Nationwide Monuments.

Organ Pipe Nationwide Monument

A dirt road flanked by towering cactus and leading toward a rocky mountain.

Along with its namesake cactus, Organ Pipe Nationwide Monument is residence to over 550 species of vascular vegetation.

Straddling the Arizona/Mexico border, Organ Pipe Nationwide Monument is the one place within the nation you possibly can see the organ pipe cactus develop in abundance. With solely a fraction of Saguaro Nationwide Park’s visitation, Organ Pipe is the right spot to flee the crowds and discover the perfect of the Sonoran Desert. The perfect time to go to is late fall to early spring, whereas the temperatures are nice. Drive the Ajo Mountain Scenic Route, a 21-mile gravel highway with loads of pull-offs for image taking. Whereas in your motor tour, benefit from the considerable organ pipe, saguaro, cholla and ocotillos that cowl the desert ground. Top-of-the-line hikes is the Double Arches Path that takes you thru Arch Canyon, which will be seen close to the midway level alongside Ajo Scenic Drive. There are few provides close by and groceries are restricted, so ensure that to top off earlier than arrival.

Meteor Crater

Two men look down into a vast crater from an observation platform.

Meteor Crater’s remark deck affords nice views of the rugged floor under.

Shaped 50,000 years in the past when an asteroid crashed into what’s now central Arizona, Meteor Crater is the best-preserved impression crater on Earth. Touring 8-miles per second, the 150-foot-diameter asteroid left a crater measuring 3,900 toes throughout. Whereas there, stroll on the remark deck for a birds-eye view of the large gap within the floor or take the guided 2.4-mile path across the crater’s rim.

Kofa Wildlife Refuge

SUV with airstream trailer parked near a spiral labyrinth carved into the earth in a desert.

Stroll the labyrinth alongside the highway to Palm Canyon.

Not removed from Organ Pipe is Kofa Wildlife Refuge, a protected haven within the distant desert encompassing greater than 665,000 acres. The positioning was designated to guard the Bighorn sheep, however it additionally attracts rockhounds, hikers, wildlife photographers and stargazers. Not solely is it a secure haven for wildlife, however it’s additionally a quiet winter escape from the crowds down the highway at Quartzsite. Whereas visiting the world, hike to Palm Canyon and stroll the labyrinth, positioned simply off the grime highway to the canyon.

Route 66

A colorful Airstream trailer parked near a Route 66 sign with goat in foreground.

Earlier than I-40, Route-66 was the first route for these touring West.

The famed Mom Street stretches throughout Arizona because it makes its method from Chicago to the Santa Monica pier, passing badlands, volcanic craters, petrified forests and stark plateaus. The highway tells the story of a bygone period, and although portion of it’s now mud within the wind, there are numerous notable stops which might be worthy of a visit down reminiscence lane. With over 250 drivable miles, you’ll discover scores of iconic Route 66 highlights within the Copper State, together with Holbrook’s Wigwam Motel, Williams’ neon indicators and Oatman’s wild burros. Get a photo-op on the nook in Winslow, Arizona and with offbeat roadside points of interest just like the Rock Store Dinosaurs in Holbrook. Whereas following Route-66, additionally benefit from the pure gems scattered alongside drives like Sundown Crater Volcano Nationwide Monument, the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest Nationwide Monument.


Situated Southeast of Tucson, the thriving artist city within the Mule Mountains got here to prominence within the 1800s for its famed mining operations. Dubbed the “Queen of the Copper Camps,” Bisbee proved to be one of many richest mineral websites on the planet, producing over 8 billion kilos of copper, and three million ounces of gold along with silver and zinc. By the early 1900s, Bisbee was the most important metropolis between San Francisco and St. Louis. Right now, benefit from the many eclectic galleries and boutiques that line the colourful streets, tour the famed Queen Mine and have a chilly one at Outdated Bisbee Brewing Firm.

Saguaro Nationwide Park

Sunset illuminates towering cacti in crimson light as mountains loom on the horizon.

The Sonoran Desert is the one place on Earth the saguaro cactus grows.

Named after its signature cactus, Saguaro Nationwide Park outdoors of Tucson is a desert panorama brimming with life. With greater than 1.6 million saguaro vegetation and numerous different species of flora throughout the park boundaries, this space is a surprising panorama, particularly when it’s in bloom. The park is break up into two districts: The western division is named the Tucson Mountain District, which is hotter and drier, whereas the bigger Rincon Mountain District to the East is cooler and wetter. Take the 5-mile Scenic Bajada Loop Drive by a dense saguaro forest that provides lovely mountain views and hike the Sign Hill and Valley View Overlook trails. For a pet-friendly hike simply outdoors of the park, take the crowd-free Cocoraque Butte path within the Ironwood Forest, which brings you to a wonderful petroglyph website.

Chiricahua Nationwide Monument

Tucked away within the Southeastern nook of the state, Chiricahua Nationwide Monument is a hidden gem comprised of hoodoos, towering pinnacles, and various natural world. The distinctive volcanic rock formations date again over 27 million years, when the Turkey Creek Caldera erupted, depositing 2,000 toes of ash within the area and forming the Chiricahua Mountains. Over time, the tuff eroded from the weather, abandoning a wonderland of rocks. Whereas visiting, hike alongside the 17-miles of trails throughout the park and take the 8-mile scenic drive to Massai Level for panoramic views of the mountain vary. Being an island within the sky, stargazers can get pleasure from an ultrabright Milky Manner because the park has little gentle air pollution.

Monument Valley

A colorful Airstream trailer pointed toward a horizon lined with mesas and buttes.

For one of the crucial iconic views of Monument Valley, drop by the Forrest Gump Level.

Surely, Monument Valley is among the most acknowledged pure landscapes within the nation. With towering monoliths and buttes rising sharply over the desert ground, this colourful setting straddles the Arizona/Utah state line. To discover by automotive, enter the Navajo Tribal Park and take the scenic loop drive to a lot of its gorgeous overlooks. For individuals who need to see the place Forrest Gump rotated throughout his trek throughout the nation throughout the 1994 film of the identical title, cease on the pull-off round mile 13 alongside Freeway 163 for a photograph op.

Cosanti and Arcosanti

Arch structures with a beige and rust color scheme

Right now, guests can tour Arcosanti and Cosanti freed from cost, however donations to the group are inspired.

Constructed by famed Italian architect, Paolo Soleri, Cosanti is one in all Arizona’s most eclectic historic websites. After learning below Frank Lloyd Wright, Soleri grew to become identified for designing experimental earth-formed concrete constructions, integrating structure and ecology. Cosanti, positioned close to Scottsdale in Paradise Valley, was his residence and his first try at creating an area the place folks may reside and work whereas making a minimal impression on the encircling pure atmosphere. Just like the Earthships of New Mexico, his natural structure was about harmonizing with nature. About an hour north of Phoenix is Arcosanti, a sustainable dwelling undertaking began by Soleri, that was constructed to be the reply to city sprawl. Right now, you possibly can tour each websites and donations to the group are inspired.

Canyon de Chelly

This space is acknowledged as one of many longest frequently inhabited landscapes in North America. For practically 5,000 years, folks have lived in these sacred canyons positioned close to the 4 Corners. The Canyon de Chelly Nationwide Monument lies on Navajo land and is understood for its dramatic sandstone-walled canyons, Puebloan cliff dwellings and historical petroglyphs. Whereas visiting, take the 2 scenic rim drives for sweeping views of Spider Rock and Antelope Home, an enormous cliff-side destroy. Take a hike alongside the White Home path that leads you down into the canyon and ends on the White Home dwelling relationship again to AD 1200. To discover the canyon additional, Navajo guides lead hikes, four-wheel drive, and horseback using journeys throughout the canyon.

All pictures by Cate Battles.


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