Known as the Grand Canyon State, Arizona is home to the most iconic landscapes in the United States. There is an incredible amount of things to see and do here, so much so, that this video is only covering half the state. So to help you get the most out of your visit, here are the top things to do in Northern Arizona.
Flagstaff and Historic Route 66
145 miles north of Phoenix, Arizona is the city of Flagstaff. This charming, small town is a wonderful mix of historic pioneer days and modern-day amenities. At 7,000 feet of elevation, Flagstaff is also the highest point of Route 66. This Historic Route was built in 1921 and connected 8 states along its 2400 mile route. Visitors can take a self-guided walking tour where Route 66 originally passed through Flagstaff, including some of the original motels and inns frequented during the height of Route 66. For something a little more adventurous, head to EagleRider Flagstaff and experience Route 66 on a Harley Davidson. Book yourself on one of the many guided tours they offer, or take to the open road for yourself.
For jaw dropping scenery, a vibrant arts’ scene, and something a little out of this world, head to Sedona. This popular Arizona town has been attracting art lovers and New Age mystics for decades. Sedona is filled with art galleries, spas, and notable restaurants. Surrounding the town is an adventure lover’s playground, including 300 miles of trails taking you through the stunning red rock landscape. But there’s something truly unique about Sedona that has been drawing people from around the world, and that’s the Sedona Vortexes. These naturally occurring energy centres are found throughout Sedona and are believed to have incredible transformational and spiritual abilities. Hop on a vortex tour with Safari Jeep Tours to learn about and experience these vortexes for yourself.
Next up, travel towards Page, Arizona and check out Horseshoe Bend. From the parking area it’s about a three-quarter mile walk to the rim over sandy terrain. This 270-degree bend in the Colorado River has become very popular over the past few years and draws lots of crowds. And for good reason. The Horseshoe Bend is a stunning example of Mother Nature’s power and makes for an incredible photo-worthy stop. But be careful trying to get that picture. There are no barriers along the rim and it’s a shear drop to the canyon floor below.
Lake Powell Boat Tour
Head north to Lake Powell Resorts and Marina and hop on a boat tour. This two hour boat tour takes you on a panoramic ride of the 2nd largest reservoir in the United States. During the tour, you’ll learn about the history and geology of Lake Powell and some notable spots in the area including Cathedral Rock, Antelope Island, and Warm Creek Bay. The tour weaves it’s way in and around towering sandstone formations, canyons and bays.
But it’s all about the scenery which is epic.
Just south of Lake Powell is Antelope Canyon, a 400m long slot canyon. Reaching height’s of 100-feet, the canyon walls have been shaped by the elements for hundreds of thousands of years resulting in these beautiful, smooth wavy walls in various shades of orange, red and pink. You can only visit Antelope Canyon on a guided tour, giving you about an hour inside the canyon. If you’re into photography, there are also special photography tours that give you extra time in the canyon to take photos with less crowds.
Nothing represents American West imagery better than Monument Valley. This iconic landscape is found within the Navajo Nation Reservation and has been featured in countless movies and television shows. The best way to explore Monument Valley is on a jeep tour. These 2.5-hour tours wind their way around the 17-mile loop road where you’ll come face to face with the many buttes and mesas found in the area, including the famed Mittens. When visiting Monument Valley, stay at The View Hotel. Every room has a private balcony facing the monuments, perfect for a memorable sunrise panoramic view.
Canyon de Chelly
Also located in the Navajo Nation in Chinle, Arizona is Canyon de Chelly. The landscape is made of sandstone, shaped by the elements for thousands of years. Some of the canyon walls reach heights of 1,000 feet and even house ancient cliff dwellings carved right into the canyon walls. The most important feature of Canyon de Chelly is Spider Rock. It stands 800 feet above the canyon floor and is regarded as the centre of the Navajo universe, making this a particularly sacred spot. Take a full day to explore the area on a self-guided driving tour, and check out some of the hiking trails and lookout spots. The area also provides a fascinating insight into the present-day life of the Navajo, who still inhabit and cultivate the valley floor.
The Grand Canyon
Last but certainly not least, a visit to Northern Arizona wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the Grand Canyon. Carved by the Colorado River, the Grand Canyon is the most iconic geologic attraction in the United States. It stretches almost 450 kilometres in length, spans about 30 kilometers at its widest point, and reaches a height of over 6,000 metres. To get to the Grand Canyon, hop on the Grand Canyon Railway. This 2-hour train ride takes you through classic Old West territory, including high desert plains and portions of the world’s largest ponderosa pine forest. The train arrives at the Grand Canyon Depot just steps away from The South Rim. It is the most popular side of the Grand Canyon and is open all year long. Visitors can walk along the rim, taking in the expansive landscape and hike down into the canyon along the Bright Angel Trail. Don’t miss the opportunity to watch the sunset from one of the many lookout spots along the South Rim and come back first thing in the morning to watch the sunrise the next day.
Did I miss any top things to do in Northern Arizona? Please leave them in the comments below!
A special thank you to Visit Arizona for hosting my stay in the state!