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Flagstaff on the Rio de Flag River

Sightseeing in Flagstaff and the rest of the US state of Arizona

By Rasma RaistersPublished 5 months ago 7 min read

Previously I did a series about sightseeing in the capitals of the US states. At the end, you will find a link to the article about the capital Phoenix.

Flagstaff is a city that is surrounded by mountains, desert, and ponderosa pine forests. The Rio de Flag River runs through the city. It is the gateway to the San Francisco Peaks which are home to the tallest mountain Humphreys Peak in Arizona.

Walnut Canyon National Monument just east of Flagstaff is one of the area's most impressive attractions. Ancient Sinagua cliff dwellings line the steep canyon walls descending to the bottom of dry Walnut Creek. From the Visitor Center, you can look out over the canyon toward the ruins. The best way to experience the monument is to take the one-mile Island Trail that begins at the Visitor Center. There are stairs that will take you down the canyon wall about 185 feet and then you can walk below the overhanging walls. The stairs have handrails and are paved. Along the way, you can see large ponderosa pines and Douglas fir trees.

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument is the youngest of the over 600 volcanoes between Flagstaff and Williams. The cinder cone looks like a huge black sand dune with small grains of lava cascading down the steep hillside. There are trails that run along the base. The landscape has areas with fields of chunked lava. The vegetation that survives here is pine trees.

Wupatki National Monument has a scenic road that you can take looping back to Flagstaff. It is covered by grassland on the Colorado Plateau north of Flagstaff and is home to well-preserved Native American ruins. There are many pueblos. The Wupatki Pueblo was the main center for trade between different cultures. Arriving from the north end you'll see the Nalakihu and Citadel Pueblos. Climbing the Citadel Pueblo you'll get an impressive 360-degree view from the top.

The Lowell Observatory sits on a hill above the streets of Flagstaff. There are short programs on different subjects held at regular intervals all through the day and evening. At the Steele Visitor Center, you can find interactive displays that relate to the universe.

The Putnam Collection Center features items from the life of American businessman, author, mathematician, and astronomer Percival Lowell including his 1911 Stevens- Duryea auto and his very first telescope.

The Museum of Northern Arizona was founded in 1928. It has a collection of over five million pieces related to Northern Arizona and the Colorado Plateau, Among them Native American artifacts, fine art pieces, and objects related to natural science. There are five permanent exhibitions focusing on the Colorado Plateau including the Hopi Kiva Gallery, the Geology Gallery, the Babbit Gallery, and the outdoor James Golightly courtyard. The museum also hosts special traveling exhibits and four times a year puts on special Heritage Festivals.

On the campus of Northern Arizona University hidden by some buildings and set among large pines is the Riordan Mansion State Historic Park. The home can be seen on a guided tour. It has 40 rooms. There are period pieces dating from the turn of the century.

The Pioneer Museum has well-preserved steam engines and boxcars dating from 1929 in the front of the main building, The museum is housed in a former hospital dating from 1908. You can see artifacts and items from the early days of Flagstaff. The focus is on the development of Flagstaff from 1880 to 1960 featuring information and exhibits on the history of logging and ranching. On the grounds, you can see the one-room cabin of pioneer and former Flagstaff mayor Ben Doney, a 1915 Model T Ford, and a Fire Engine that saved nearby Riordan Mansion.

In Historic Downtown Flagstaff you can find remnants of Route 66 and a collection of historic buildings. It is interesting to walk the 12-block area and also check out the boutiques, tourist shops, and restaurants.

Keep an eye out for the Weatherford Hotel, Orpheum Theater, Babbitt Brothers Building, and the Hotel Monte Vista.

The Flagstaff Visitor Center can be found two blocks south in the old and refurbished train station which is still in use.

The Lava River Cave is 700,000 years old and one mile long. It offers a real caving adventure. You need to bring light sources as there is no lighting and no guide, You can see stone icicles and interesting rock features. The cave is a cold 35 to 40 degrees F and the rocks can be slippery. It is located about 14 miles from Flagstaff along paved and gravel roads.

The Arboretum at Flagstaff is just south of the city and is home to more than 750 different plants that are adapted to the climate of Flagstaff. Among the highlights are a variety of beardtongue plants also known as penstemon. These large flowering plants can grow up to 10 feet high. Their peak blooming period is mid-July.

Exploring Arizona

The Grand Canyon is one of the most amazing sites in Arizona. When you look at this natural wonder it is not a surprise that Arizona is known as The Grand Canyon State. It was carved out over the centuries by the Colorado River.

Visitors like to go to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon where there are lookouts all along the road and walkways that stretch along the edge of the canyon and offer awesome views.

For the adventurous, there is The Skywalk a bridge with a glass floor at Grand Canyon West.

The town of Sedona is surrounded by red-rock mountains and buttes. It is one of the best towns to visit if you are looking for great hiking trails and mountain biking trails. There are golf resorts and spa resorts here.

Hoover Dam is one of the great engineering marvels in the US. This massive structure crosses the Colorado River and links Arizona to Nevada. Visitors can drive or walk across the dam. The Visitor Center provides information and there is a cafe.

Lake Mead which is the largest artificial lake in the US is held back by the Hoover Dam.

The Glen Canyon National Recreation Area has blue water, a desert landscape, and incredible stone walls.

It is home to Lake Powell which is one of the largest manmade lakes in the US.

The Glen Canyon Dam was constructed to block the Colorado River and create Lake Powell.

Wajweap Marina a short distance from the town of Page is the largest marina on Lake Powell.

Antelope Canyon is the biggest attraction in the area. Visitors can walk through a narrow slot canyon and you can also get a guided tour.

Jerome is an old mining town that has become a ghost town. It sits on a mountainside and is a tourist attraction. The Main Street of town is lined with interesting stores and restaurants.

Once the finest hotel in town, The Bartlett Hotel now stands in ruins.

Horseshoe Bend is an amazing sight where the Colorado River makes a dramatic 270-degree U-turn around a sandstone escarpment. It has become a favorite with tourists. A 1.5-mile round trip along a rock walkway takes people to the overlook.

The Havasupai Indian Reservation includes the 100-foot Havasu Falls. In the canyon of Havasu Creek, a tributary of the Colorado River, about 450 Native Americans of the Havasupai Tribe live here. They exist on farming and are dependent on tourism.

Tombstone offers visitors a look at an Old West town. There are staged gunfights and characters in period costume walk about. The shops, restaurants, and attractions are designed with tourists in mind.

Among the historic sites here is the Boothill Graveyard.

Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park is now a museum.

Petrified National Forest in the Painted Desert has large pieces of petrified wood. There are fossilized plants, fish, and reptiles. The Visitor Center provides information on the ecology and geology of the park.

Lake Havasu was created when the Colorado River was dammed.

Today it offers a delightful beach or boat rides on the lake.

Visiting here people enjoy strolling over the London Bridge. The bridge was transported here from London, England in 1831.

Please follow the link below to read about Phoenix, the capital of Arizona:



About the Creator

Rasma Raisters

My passions are writing and creating poetry. I write for several sites online and have four themed blogs on Wordpress. Please follow me on Twitter.

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  • Alex H Mittelman 5 months ago

    Great work! Cool pictures!

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