Most visitors coming to northern Arizona head immediately to the wonders of the Grand Canyon. And if you see nothing else in the area, this is a must-do. But you can visit several other outstanding scenic and hiking areas in this part of the state.
Here are five of the most impressive national monuments you can easily see before and after visiting the canyon.
1. Meteor Crater National Natural Landmark
Arizona boasts an impressive hole in the ground near Winslow and Flagstaff. Meteor Crater is nearly three-fourths of a mile wide and over 500 feet deep, and it was caused by a meteorite impact around 50,000 years ago. Pieces of the meteorite can be viewed at the visitor center.
Aside from the enormous impact hole itself, the crater has a fun and quirky history. While scientists had debated how the crater was formed, a businessman named Danial Barringer was convinced that a massive lode of iron ore was just waiting to be found in the meteorite to make him rich. He never found his fortune, but his family still operate the crater as a tourist attraction.
Famous visitors to the crater include the Apollo astronauts while training for their trips to the moon.
2. Montezuma Castle National Monument
Montezuma Castle is the centerpiece of a collection of dwellings of the Sinagua people who inhabited this region for hundreds of years. Although you no longer can climb into the main castle ruins on the cliff face, you can find a number of stunning views from the interpretive trails. And you can visit several other structures throughout the park.
Be sure to visit the nearby Montezuma Well to see how ancient peoples found and maintained water in a cool environment despite living in a harsh and unforgiving desert.
3. Sunset Crater National Monument
Want to see a volcano up close and personal? Take a short drive from Flagstaff to nearby Sunset Crater National Monument. The stark shape of the volcano reminds visitors that the Earth remains geologically active. This volcano erupted last around 1805 and had a severe impact on the nearby population that lived in Northern Arizona.
Visit the visitor center for more education about the way that nature can impact human lives suddenly and surprisingly. While you can’t camp inside the monument, you can visit a park service-operated campground near the visitor center. You can make this visit part of a simple day trip or spend more time away from the hustle and bustle of the Grand Canyon.
4. Walnut Canyon National Monument
Get a more close-up view of ancient ruins by exploring the many trails in Walnut Canyon. You’ll find easy and accessible viewpoints and trails along the rim as well as more demanding routes leading to higher elevations.
If you’re looking for a little challenge, the climbs up to elevations as high as 7,000 feet can give the uninitiated a real workout. Fortunately, the large collection of dwelling is a great reward for your hard work.
5. Wupatki National Monument
Arizona has more than its fair share of Native American dwellings and villages perfect for anyone’s taste. Nestled near Sunset Crater is Wupatki National Monument and its various pueblo and kiva ruins. You can make this part of a day trip to the volcano or spend more time hiking around ruins like Wupatki Pueblo and Wukoki Pueblo.
If traveling to Arizona in the off season, you have plenty of opportunities for a unique park experience. You can participate in guided day hikes, and for more experienced hikers, the park service operates a guided overnight hike called Crack-in-Rock during the winter months.
You can see why savvy visitors flock to Arizona’s well-kept secrets around the Grand Canyon. Get started on your outdoor Arizona adventure today by visiting us at Peace Surplus in Flagstaff.
Downhill skiing requires a lot of equipment. If you haven’t been skiing before but are going soon, here’s what you’ll want to bring with you.
Skis, Bindings, and Boots
The actual act of skiing requires three pieces of equipment: skis, bindings, and boots. These function as a single system with the boots clicking into the bindings and the bindings being mounted on the skis. Together, the bindings anchor your boots to the skis.
4 Essential Accessories You Can Fit in Your Pocket
Camping in the wilderness provides you with a lot of adventures, exciting exploration, and plenty of traveling by foot. This is why people who spend time hiking, camping, and exploring the outdoors love to pack as light as possible.
Thankfully, innovations, inventions, and products have come out directly catered to packing light. If you have a key chain ring or carabinier, then you can simply attach a number of these accessories to it and slip it right into your pocket.
Not only will these accessories be lightweight, but you will also have easy access to them, making this method ideal for camping. You will not have to go digging through multiple bags to find these essential items. Continue reading
Several decades ago, if you hiked down a trail, almost everyone you passed would be sporting a pair of above-ankle hiking boots. Today, the footwear scene looks a little bit different. For many hikers, trail runners have replaced hiking boots as the footwear of choice. These shoes are like road running shoes but they are made to withstand the rigors of hiking or running down a trail.
Though there are still situations in which hiking boots are the better choice, trail runners offer a lot of advantages to the average hiker. Here’s a closer look at why trail runners have become so popular, along with the times when you still want to reach for traditional hiking boots.
Camping can be a fun and inexpensive way to take a vacation and enjoy the outdoors. One of the most important things you’ll have to plan before you leave is a camping menu. In order to make a camping menu, you’ll have to make sure you’ll have plenty to eat and a way to cook all of your meals. Continue reading
While you may be tempted to just put on a pair of sneakers and go, it’s a good idea to put a bit more planning into a hike and bring along some gear, even if you expect to be hiking for just a few hours. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so pack a backpack with a few essentials and make sure to dress appropriately. Also, be sure to let someone know when you leave, where you’re going, and when you expect to be back.
There is nothing like sleeping in the great outdoors, but there are some situations that can put a damper on your comfort and fun. Setting up the perfect campsite isn’t difficult, but it does require some attention to things that you may overlook when pitching your tent. Here are 10 tips for setting up a comfortable campsite. Continue reading
We all have it: a means to reset, to press the pause button and recharge ourselves. Call it what you will, but everyone has something that can make the rest of the world stop its chaos and allow us to just be. For some, it’s the early morning run in Buffalo Park. For others it’s grabbing your harness and climbing a Sedona spire. It may be an overnight sleeping out under the stars up on the San Francisco Peaks, or a multi-day backpacking trip in Grand Canyon. It may be a daily habit, or a seasonal event that is anxiously awaited. For me, it tends to be the latter, and it’s a trip rafting down the Colorado River. Continue reading
10 Things I Learned from Spending 15 Nights in the Wilderness:
From April 22nd to May 8th I had the opportunity to go on an extended 17-day backpacking trip through the Aldo Leopold and Gila Wilderness, as part of a class that is a graduation requirement for my degree. No complaints from me about backpacking for class credit – and I learned a lot more out there besides the curriculum that was covered during those 2.5 weeks. So rather than write out a day-by-day log or even attempt to summarize those days into a blog post, I decided to write down some of the lessons I learned, and tell the stories that went along with them. Continue reading