Desert Botanical Garden – Since the other terrain will not have the saguaro or other iconic cacti, check out the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix before heading north. Bonus: every Friday night they have live music in the garden.
Montezuma Castle National Monument – Shown above, photo courtesy de mi madre. Described as a “20 room high rise apartment,” this mansion cliff dwelling is in remarkable condition for its age. Built into limestone cliffs, it has a view that can’t be beat.
Hike Sedona – Devil’s Ridge & Cathedral Rock trails are particularly eye catching, not to mention the red rock scenic byway, which will allow you to see several statuesque formations along the road.
Sunrise or Sunset – Check your weather app and plan your day so you can enjoy the splendor of sunrise and/or sunset. The sandstone formations will light up in radiant red and orange against the soft glow of the desert backdrop; magic hour is prime photo time.
Quadruple vortex – Looking for a spiritual experience? Sedona is home to several famous vortex sites where the swirling electromagnetic energy is reflected in the surrounding trees and natural elements. Mountains, spire, and look out sites are described as positive upwellings of energy, while the canyon or valley sites exhibit rooting, introspective energy. Six vortexes of note include Bell Rock, Boynton Canyon, Cathedral Rock, Airport Mesa, Spaceship Rock, and Munds Trail. Click here for a vortex map.
Flagstaff, Arizona don’t forget Winona
Kingman, Barstow, San Bernadino
Would you get hip to this kindly tip
And go take that California trip
Get your kicks on Route sixty six
Meteor Crater – Advertised as the world’s best preserved meteor crater, this meteor site outside of Flagstaff is almost a mile wide and 550 feet deep. The meteor struck the earth 50,000 years ago, and was traveling at 26,000 miles per hour, an amazing feat after passing through the Earth’s fiery mesosphere. An astronomic footprint in time.
Wupakti National Monument – Red rock beauty, still standing pueblos, and 217 hikes to choose from, Wupakti is a spot you cannot miss on your trip to Flagstaff.
Walnut Canyon National Monument – Visit Walnut National Monument for staggering canyon views and numerous cliff dwellings tucked into the mountain’s crevices. The Island Trail is an estimated hour round trip and one mile long, with 25 ancient cliff dwellings along the way. The rim trail is about 30 minutes and 0.7 miles for scenic vistas through the ponderosa pine forest.
Lava River Cave – Feeling adventurous? At 0.75 miles long, the lava river cave is a geological phenomenon that creates a natural tunnel. Pack your headlamp and be sure to map out detailed directions before you go.
Hydrate First – Stop in Williams, AZ for some quality grub and hydration on your way from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon. South Rims Wine and Beer Garage is known for their pretzel burger and beverage selection. Meanwhile, the Grand Canyon Wine Co. and Historic Brewing Barrel & Bottle House are just a few blocks down the street, so you can do a progressive pub crawl if you’re feeling really thirsty.
Hopi House – Located on the south rim of the Grand Canyon, the Hopi House was built over a century ago to emulate the style of the original pueblos. Inside, they sell work from local, native artisans including pottery, jewelry, kachina dolls, and sand paintings. There is also an art gallery displaying some of the finer works. (photo cred: mi madre)
Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour – While I have never done a helicopter tour at the Grand Canyon, I have done one on the North Shore of O`ahu and it is one of my most memorable travel experiences. There is something uniquely thrilling about the aerial dexterity of a helicopter. If you have not sprung for a heli-tour before, now is the time to do it, you will see the Grand Canyon in all its scale and magnificence, bird’s eye view.