Boasting some of North America’s most iconic geological formations, northern Arizona has captivated visitors with an eye for adventure since the region’s earliest days. From Prescott, where the territory’s Wild West pedigree is on full display, to the rejuvenating energy of Sedona’s red rocks, visitors should expect to be swept away by an awe-inspiring landscape ranging from the ponderosa pine forests to vast stretches of desert.
1. Grand Canyon National Park
There are so many ways to explore this expansive, 277-mile-long natural wonder that visitors are sometimes left overwhelmed. The south rim offers easy access and a plethora of guided tours and short hikes to enjoy. It’s also home to the historic Grand Canyon Railway, which leaves the nearby town of Williams early in the morning and after winding through the scenic Colorado plateau, arrives at the south rim. Lucky travelers can catch glimpses of the pronghorn, elk and eagles that call the rugged landscape home. The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is more remote, but caters to adventure-minded visitors with the chance to enjoy white water rafting and mule trips down to the canyon floor.Recommended Stopovers
Grand Canyon Railway RV Park • Williams, AZ – (800)843-8724
Drive 79 miles • 1 hour, 31 minutes
Eighty miles south of Grand Canyon National Park, Flagstaff is a college town with a reputation for laid-back charm, quirky restaurants and boutiques, and lots of outdoor adventures. Situated at 7,000 feet in elevation, the city is a four-season destination with excellent hiking, mountain biking and rock climbing in the summer months and superb skiing when the temperature drops. Try the Walnut Canyon National Monument for interpretive hikes that lead to cave dwellings and archaeological sites, or trek to the San Francisco Peaks for a hike to Humphreys Peak, the highest in the state. Back in town, history and science buffs will find plenty to keep them busy at top-notch attractions like the Riordan Mansion, Lowell Space Observatory and Arboretum, where Pluto was first discovered. Home to Northern Arizona University, there are plenty of entertainment and dining options for visitors. Check out the pet-friendly Barks and Brews pub crawl.
Drive 29 miles • 47 minutes
It’s no surprise that this perennially popular destination, once ranked among the “Most Beautiful Places in America,” has been attracting artists, spiritual seekers and outdoors lovers for decades. Combining a singular and stunning red rock landscape with the area’s purported vortices of calming spiritual energy, Sedona is the perfect place to step away from the chaos of the world and rejuvenate your senses. Hit the trail for the Coffeepot, Cathedral and Thunder Mountain rock formations, or visit the architecturally stunning Chapel of the Holy Cross. A stroll along the gallery- and restaurant-filled downtown caps a day of adventure. Time your visit right and you’ll kick off the month alongside the locals at the First Friday Art Walk, when the town comes out to celebrate.Recommended Stopovers
Distant Drums RV Resort • Camp Verde, AZ – (928)554-8000
Drive 67 miles • 1 hour, 25 minutes
Surrounded by one of the world’s largest ponderosa pine forests, Prescott perfectly blends historical ambience and outdoor fun. In the downtown district, Victorian houses and old-time saloons transport visitors back to Prescott’s earliest days as the capital of the Arizona territory, while visits to the Sharlot Hall Museum and Smoki Museum — as well as the town’s famed living history exhibits and historical reenactments — shed even more light on the region’s exceptional Wild West heritage. Just five miles northeast of town, Watson Lake invites kayaking, canoeing and boating among the lake’s picturesque rock outcroppings. Anglers, too, can try their luck at landing the lake’s famed largemouth bass.