Arizona | Moon Travel Guides https://moon.com Trip Ideas, Itineraries, Maps & Area Experts Mon, 20 Nov 2017 21:56:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9 https://deathstar-650a.kxcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/cropped-moon_logo_M-32x32.jpg Arizona | Moon Travel Guides https://moon.com 32 32 125073523 A Summer Road Trip Through North-Central Arizona https://moon.com/2017/07/a-summer-road-trip-through-north-central-arizona/ https://moon.com/2017/07/a-summer-road-trip-through-north-central-arizona/#respond Wed, 19 Jul 2017 21:05:24 +0000 https://moon.com/?p=57641 As summer starts to heat up, the noses of Arizona’s desert rats point northward, searching for the scent of water on the hot wind. Lucky for us, it’s a short drive to a land of trickling creeks and shady forests. This three-day, approximately 300-mile road trip will take you to the lush Verde Valley, the otherworldly red rocks of Sedona, and the pine-covered mountains around Prescott.

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As summer starts to heat up, the noses of Arizona’s desert rats point northward, searching for the scent of water on the hot wind. Lucky for us, it’s a short drive to a land of trickling creeks and shady forests.

This three-day, approximately 300-mile road trip will take you to the lush Verde Valley, the otherworldly red rocks of Sedona, and the pine-covered mountains around Prescott.

red rock carved with petroglyphs

Ancient petroglyphs at V Bar V Heritage Site in the Verde Valley. Photo © Tim Hull.

Day 1

Take I-17 north from Phoenix to the V Bar V Heritage Site (100 miles, 2 hours, FR 618, 2.8 miles east of Sedona Exit, AZ 179, 9:30AM-3PM, Fri.-Mon. $5 Red Rock Pass). This former ranch has a rock outcropping with more than 1,000 petroglyphs made by ancient cultures. The short walk to the site follows a flat dirt path beneath tall cottonwoods along Wet Beaver Creek. There’s usually a docent around to explain and interpret these fascinating and mysterious etchings.

Next, drive into Sedona along the Red Rock Scenic Byway (17.5 miles, AZ-179), one of the most exotically beautiful stretches of road in America. There are several pull-offs for pictures and hikes around Sedona’s towering red rock-gods. Stop for lunch in uptown Sedona. A lunch option with some Arizona history is The Cowboy Club (241 N. 89A, 928/282-4200, daily 11AM–9PM, $7–35), where ranchers, actors and artists have mingled since the 1940s.

After lunch, drive into Oak Creek Canyon along Highway 89A to Slide Rock State Park (7 miles from uptown, 6871 N. Highway 89A, 928/282-3034, 8AM–7PM daily, May 1st–Labor Day, $20 per vehicle with 1–4 adults Mon–Thur, $30 Fri–Sun and holidays). One of the original homesteads and orchards in Sedona, Slide Rock is now the state’s favorite swimming hole. A turn on the 80-foot-long natural rock slide has been a favorite summertime thrill for generations.

Dry off and take 89A to Jerome (27 miles). Once a mining metropolis with a reputation for wildness, this charming tourist town is purportedly haunted by a few its wickeder former residents. If you’d like to see a ghost, your best option might be the Jerome Grand Hotel (200 Hill St., 928/634-8200, $155–250), which is housed in the old hospital. The Asylum Restaurant (928/639-3197, 11AM–9PM daily, $15–30) offers sweeping views from the hotel’s top floor.

red rock of Courthouse Butte surrounded by grass

Courthouse Butte in Sedona. Photo © Tim Hull.

Day 2

Have breakfast at the Mile High Grill (309 Main St., 8AM–4PM Mon–Thur, 8AM–8PM Fri–Sat, $7–12) and spend the morning exploring, shopping and walking around in Jerome. To get a sense of the town’s colorful history check out the Mine Museum (200 Main St., 928/634-5477, 9AM–6PM. daily, $2).

Next up is the true driver’s portion of the road trip: 35 miles of twisty, curvy mountain two-lane over the mountain and through the forest to Prescott, an historic town nestled in the piney Bradshaw Mountains. The picturesque downtown is the place to be when you’re not hiking and biking the forested trails. The historic Hassayampa Inn (122 E. Gurley St., 928/778-9434, $84–250) downtown has a retro-elegance with up-to-date comforts, and is just a short walk from the Whiskey Row, the center of Prescott’s nightlife.

Day 3

Start out with breakfast at the Raven Cafe (142 N. Cortez, 928/717-0009, 7:30AM–11PM, Mon–Wed, 7:30AM–12AM Thurs–Sat, 8AM–3PM Sun, $6–15) downtown, and then head for the trails in Prescott National Forest. Or spend the day hanging out and shopping downtown around the grassy courthouse square. In the afternoon head back to Phoenix on AZ 69 and I-17 (100 miles, 2 hours).


Want to hit the road and explore more of the Southwest? Check out Moon Southwest Road Trip.

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Cycling Tucson in Winter https://moon.com/2017/01/winter-cycling-in-tucson/ https://moon.com/2017/01/winter-cycling-in-tucson/#respond Fri, 27 Jan 2017 22:30:18 +0000 https://moon.com/?p=51778 While professional and elite cyclists flock to Tucson for the mild temps and mostly cloudless blue skies when it’s freezing elsewhere, they also come for the pain and the anguish. This rugged Sonoran Desert valley, hemmed in by towering mountains and jagged hills, is an ideal proving-ground for those looking to show off their roadworthiness.

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It’s wintertime in the desert, and the fashion here in Tucson is all about form-fitting lycra shorts and bike helmets. Everywhere you look there’s a serious gang of roadies kitted out and gliding across the desert on bikes that cost more than your first car.

A cyclist riding in Tucson Mountain Park. Photo © Tim Hull.

A cyclist riding in Tucson Mountain Park. Photo © Tim Hull.

While professional and elite cyclists flock to Tucson for the mild temps and mostly cloudless blue skies when it’s freezing elsewhere, they also come for the pain and the anguish. This rugged Sonoran Desert valley, hemmed in by towering mountains and jagged hills, is an ideal proving-ground for those looking to show off their roadworthiness.

Tucson is home to a renowned group-ride called the “The Shoot Out.” According to a profile in Bicycling, you might find yourself riding next to a well-known pro—at least for a few seconds. Organized by Fairwheel Bikes, the sixty-mile ride makes a loop of Tucson’s desert edges every Saturday morning (check the website for current start times), passing by the world-famous Mission San Xavier del Bac and through the copper mining districts south of the city. But this is no leisurely tour of the region’s popular sights. The succinct warning on Fairwheel’s website says it all: “Expect a very large group, 100+ riders and very fast pace.” For those not yet prepared for pro-level intensity, a slower group leaves 15 minutes before the main pack.

If you’re more comfortable riding in small groups than you are jostling in the peloton, the Greater Arizona Bicycling Association organizes rides for cyclists of all levels and even hosts overnight cycling trips around southern Arizona. And of course you can always ride on your own, a lone road warrior, fighting the urge to stop and kick back in the winter sunshine.

Regardless of your riding preferences, make sure you try at least one of these popular winter rides through Tucson’s beautiful and unique desert landscape.

West of the City

The paved roads of Tucson Mountain Park (8451 West McCain Loop, 520/724-5000) pass by rocky mountains studded with tall and many-armed saguaros. Rides here usually end with a punishing climb up over Gates Pass, but the sweeping view of the desert at the top makes up for the pain in your legs. With a bit of repetition, it’s easy to put together a 50+ mile ride here.

Tucson’s Eastern Edge

Saguaro National Park Rincon Mountain District (3693 S Old Spanish Rd., 520/733-5153, $5 weekly pass for cyclists) features the popular Cactus Forest Loop Drive, an eight-mile paved loop through an enchanting saguaro forest with plenty of inclines.

The Loop

With more than a 100 miles completed, Tucson’s ambitious bike route known as The Loop is the place to be for cyclists of all stripes. The path leads around the greater city, touching its furthest neighborhoods, and is generally smooth and easy. The route connects many of the city’s parks and follows the valley’s mostly dry rivers and washes.

Mount Lemmon

While the relatively warm weather brings serious cyclists to Tucson in the winter months, they come in the summer for Mount Lemmon. Mount Lemmon’s peak looks over Tucson from about 10,000 feet above it all, and a twisting paved road winds all the way from the desert to the tall pines and the ski run at the top. It’s about 56 miles round trip, with a fairly steady grade, and turns into a roller-coaster ride on the way down. The mountain’s upper regions are about 20 to 30 degrees cooler than the desert floor, making this training ride more popular during the summer. Though it can get a bit nippy at times, if it’s not covered in snow the road to Mount Lemmon makes a great winter ride as well. Visit the Greater Arizona Bicycling Association website for group ride information.

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Visiting Bryce, Zion, and the Grand Canyon in Winter https://moon.com/2016/11/visiting-bryce-zion-grand-canyon-winter/ https://moon.com/2016/11/visiting-bryce-zion-grand-canyon-winter/#respond Mon, 14 Nov 2016 22:28:03 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=49395 Grand Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, and Bryce Canyon National Park–three incredible bucket-list-parks–remain largely summer destinations. But when temperatures plummet, these otherwise busy parks are perfect for those who seek solitude and tranquility.

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This is a perfect winter day on the Colorado Plateau: it’s cold but sunny, and there’s new white snow on the sandstone and the evergreens. The red dirt is wet, the washes trickle with melting ice, and the big blue sky shines clean and cloudless.

angel's landing in zion national park during winter

Angel’s Landing Hiking Trail in Zion National Park is just as beautiful on a crisp winter day as it is in the summer. Photo © htrnr/iStock.

And yet the bucket-list parks in the region around northern Arizona and southern Utah, perennial stops on the great Southwest Road Trip, remain largely summer destinations. From December though March, visitor numbers at Grand Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, and Bryce Canyon National Park plunge with the average temperatures.

In August 2015, at the the height of Grand Canyon’s busy season, 793,412 people visited the South Rim. In January, the park’s least busy month, that number plummeted to 191,781. The National Park Service’s visitor reports show that Grand Canyon’s more humble neighbors experienced a similarly lonely winter. Zion recorded 479,538 visitors in July 2015, but in January had just 78,318. Bryce Canyon welcomed 305,465 in June 2015, and a mere 21,949 in January.

I was in Zion in July 2015. The lines of cars and the chaotic, overfull parking lot outside the park gates made me question my choices. I visited Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon that summer as well. At Grand Canyon, I had to wait in a makeshift line to take a photograph outside the Lookout Studio. Hiking the popular trails in Bryce Canyon, I was never alone.

While none of these minor irritations, which are all part of today’s National Park experience, ruined my visit, we all fantasize about having the place to ourselves. According to the numbers, you could come close during the winter months.

For those who seek solitude and tranquility, and who don’t mind wearing winter coats, gloves, and knit caps, it’s worth considering a winter trip to these otherwise busy and stressful parks. It will be cold; it will be wet and windy, and it will probably snow. But there will also be many of those perfect winter days.

Grand Canyon’s Desert View Watchtower on a snowy winter day.

Grand Canyon’s mysterious Desert View Watchtower on a perfect winter day in January. Photo © Tim Hull.

About the Weather

Grand Canyon National Park

Average winter highs on the South Rim (the North Rim is closed Nov–May), which sits at about 7,000 feet above sea level in a pine forest, typically range from the high forties to the mid fifties. There’ll be an even colder wind in your face much of the time, and intermittent rain and snow storms throughout the season. There’s often snow on ground but it melts quickly when the sun comes out, which it does most days.

Zion National Park

Probably the best of the three parks for a winter visit, Zion is in the “Dixie” region of southern Utah, which is renowned for its temperate climate. Expect high temperatures in the fifties and sixties, rain and sometimes snow, and rising, dangerous waterways.

Bryce Canyon National Park

Winter visitors to Bryce Canyon, which sits at around 8,000 feet above sea level, should expect very cold temperatures and snow. Highs range from the thirties to the forties. The park’s famous hoodoos are often covered in a thick layer of snow, but the roads are kept plowed and safe.

Natural Bridge in Bryce Canyon National Park during winter

Natural Bridge in Bryce Canyon National Park in winter. Photo © Paul Brady/123rf.

Always check road conditions before traveling to these parks during the winter months. For road conditions inside Grand Canyon National Park, call 928/638-7496. For conditions outside the park, check with the Arizona Department of Transportation (888/411-7623). The Utah Department of Transportation (801/964-6000) provides updates on road conditions around Zion and Bryce.

winter in southwest national parks


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Southwest Road Trip: Two Days Along Route 66 https://moon.com/2016/11/southwest-road-trip-two-days-along-route-66/ https://moon.com/2016/11/southwest-road-trip-two-days-along-route-66/#respond Sun, 06 Nov 2016 16:05:07 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=45466 The 600 miles of Route 66 from Albuquerque to Kingman make an excellent two-day road trip filled with sights and memorabilia. Here's your itinerary.

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Moon Southwest Road Trip - Two Days Along Route 66

The 600 miles of Route 66 from Albuquerque to Kingman make an excellent two-day southwest road trip filled with sights and memorabilia. Here’s your itinerary, complete with where to stay and where to eat for a genuine Route 66 experience.

Day 1: Albuquerque to Winslow

270 miles, 4.5 hours

Get an early start, setting out on Albuquerque’s Central Avenue, aka Route 66. Pick up I-40 west of town after passing the Rio Puerco Bridge. Get back on Historic Route 66 at Laguna (exit 114) and drive about six miles to Paraje. Take Indian Route 23 south to Sky City Cultural Center and book the first tour to Acoma Pueblo’s mesa-top settlement (9:30am in summer), which should take about two hours. Have lunch at the cultural center’s café and hit the road.

After lunch, drive the surviving sections of Historic Route 66 from McCartys, New Mexico, to Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona, about 150 miles. Spend the final few hours of the day driving the main road through the national park, stopping at various viewpoints.
A final 45-minute sprint on I-40 west to Winslow and you’re in the refined atmosphere of La Posada, a former Harvey House railroad hotel that has been restored to its former glory. Have dinner at the hotel’s exceptional restaurant, The Turquoise Room.

Seligman, Arizona.

Seligman, Arizona. Photo © Larisa Duka/123rf.

Day 2: Winslow to Kingman

220 miles, 4 hours

Have breakfast at The Turquoise Room before driving an hour west on I-40 to Flagstaff, stopping to photograph a few of the Route 66 ruins along the way. Take a stroll around Flagstaff’s historic downtown and Southside District, which are divided by Route 66 and the railroad. Hop back in the car and drive about 30 minutes west to Williams, which has a quaint downtown that celebrates the town’s Mother Road heritage. Have lunch at one of the restaurants along Route 66 in downtown Williams.

Drive about 15 minutes farther west to Ash Fork and gas up before heading out on a 120-mile uninterrupted drive along Historic Route 66 to Kingman. Along the way, stop for a one-hour tour of Grand Canyon Caverns, a stroll through the gift shops in Seligman, and a bottle of soda pop at the Hackberry General Store.

Spend the night in Kingman at the Route 66-themed El Trovatore Motel or the Hill Top Motel and have dinner at Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Southwest Road Trip.

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Who Were the Sinagua and Where Did They Go? https://moon.com/2016/10/who-were-the-sinagua/ https://moon.com/2016/10/who-were-the-sinagua/#respond Thu, 13 Oct 2016 12:28:49 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=44923 The Sinagua left their architecture and masonry all over north-central Arizona, but little else. Here's what we know of them today, pieced together from artifacts, ruins, and geology.

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The Sinagua left their architecture and masonry all over north-central Arizona, from the red-rock apartment buildings rising from the cinder plains below the San Francisco Peaks, the sandstone cliff hideouts of Walnut Canyon, the limestone castles in the lush, easy-living Verde Valley, to the brick-stone rooms leaning against Sedona’s red walls.

They made strong and stylish baskets and pottery (though they didn’t decorate theirs in the manner of the Ancestral Puebloans and others); they were weavers, craftspeople, and traders.We don’t really know what they called themselves, but we call them, according to tradition more than anything else, the Sinagua, Spanish for “without water”—which alludes to the name used by early Spanish explorers for this region of pine-covered highlands still stuck somehow in aridity: Sierra Sin Agua (“mountains without water”).

Their cultural development followed a pattern similar to that of the Ancestral Puebloans in the Four Corners region. They first lived in pit-houses bolstered by wooden beams and made a living from small-scale dry-land farming, hunting, and gathering piñon nuts and other land-given seasonal delicacies. They made strong and stylish baskets and pottery (though they didn’t decorate theirs in the manner of the Ancestral Puebloans and others); they were weavers, craftspeople, and traders.

Montezuma Castle National Monument in the Verde Valley of Arizona. Photo © Derrick Neill/123rf.

Montezuma Castle National Monument in the Verde Valley of Arizona. Photo © Derrick Neill/123rf.

Around AD 700 a branch of the Sinagua migrated below the Mogollon Rim to the Verde Valley and began living the good life next to fish-filled rivers and streams that flowed all year around; these migrants are now called the Southern Sinagua, and the ones who stayed behind are called the Northern Sinagua. When, around AD 1000, the volcano that is now Sunset Crater, northeast of Flagstaff, erupted, there were Sinagua villages well within reach of its spewing ash and lava, though archaeologists have found evidence that nearby pit-houses had been disassembled and moved just before the eruption, leading to the assumption that they probably knew the big one was coming.

The eruption would not be the end of the Sinagua—quite the contrary. Though the reasons are debated—it could have been that crops grew to surplus because a posteruption cinder mulch made the land more fertile, or it could be that the years following the big blow were wetter than normal, or it could be a bit of both—after the eruption Sinagua culture began to become more complex, and soon it would go through a boom time.

From roughly 1130 to 1400 or so, Sinagua culture flourished as the Sinagua lands became an important stop in a trade network that included Mexico to the south, the Four Corners to the north, and beyond. At pueblo-style ruins dating from this era, archaeologists have found shells, copper bells, and macaw bones, all from Mexico. Sinagua architecture became more Puebloan, and villages often had Mexican-style ball courts and kivas similar to those of the Ancestral Puebloans. It is from this era that the famous ruins protected throughout this region date.

Then it all ended. Owing to drought, disease, war, civil strife, a combination of these, or some other strange tragedy we will never learn about, by the early 1400s the Sinagua culture was on the run. By 1425, even the seemingly lucky farmers of the Verde Valley had abandoned their castles. The survivors and stragglers mixed with other tribes, their kind never to be seen again. Lucky for us they were such good builders.

The Wupatki National Monument. Photo © Tim Hull.

The Wupatki National Monument. Photo © Tim Hull.

To learn more about the Sinagua, check out the easy-to-read booklet Sinagua, written by Rose Houk, part of the Western National Park Association’s series “Prehistoric Cultures of the Southwest.” This and many other booklets in the series are available at Wupatki and other Sinagua sights near Flagstaff and in the Verde Valley. There are also displays on the Northern and Southern Sinagua at all of the ruins near Flagstaff and in the Verde Valley. The information above comes from various museum displays and Houk’s excellent booklet.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Southwest Road Trip.

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Accessibility in Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico https://moon.com/2016/09/accessibility-in-arizona-utah-new-mexico/ https://moon.com/2016/09/accessibility-in-arizona-utah-new-mexico/#comments Fri, 23 Sep 2016 11:35:27 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=45432 While travelers with disabilities will find about the same accessibility in the Southwest as in the rest of the US, these tips can make your travels easier.

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Accessibility for travelers throughout the southwest varies from state to state, but in general you’ll find levels on par with the rest of the United States. Utah takes the lead for leaping ahead of providing the bare necessities; Arizona’s a close runner-up; and New Mexico trails behind due to its number of historic properties.

Inside the Visitors Center at the Grand Canyon. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

Inside the Visitors Center at the Grand Canyon. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

But first things first: If you’ll be visiting a lot of wilderness areas, you should get the National Park Service’s Access Pass (888/467-2757), a free lifetime pass that grants admission for the pass-holder and three adults to all national parks, national forests, and the like, as well as discounts on interpretive services, camping fees, fishing licenses, and more. Apply in person at any federally managed park or wilderness area; you must show medical documentation of blindness or permanent disability.

The NPS Access Pass. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

The NPS Access Pass. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

Wheelchair access can be frustrating in some historic properties and on the narrower sidewalks of Santa Fe and Taos.The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority provides for information on the assistance available in Las Vegas.

Travelers with disabilities will find Utah quite progressive when it comes to accessibility issues, especially in the heavily traveled national parks in southern Utah. Most parks offer all-abilities trails, and many hotels advertise their fully accessible facilities.

Wheelchair access can be frustrating in some historic properties and on the narrower sidewalks of Santa Fe and Taos, but in most other respects, travelers with disabilities should find no more problems in New Mexico than elsewhere in the United States. Public buses are wheelchair-accessible, an increasing number of hotels have ADA-compliant rooms, and you can even get out in nature a bit on paved trails such as the Santa Fe Canyon Preserve loop or the Paseo del Bosque in Albuquerque.

Many of the best sights in Arizona are accessible in one way or another. Grand Canyon National Park operates wheelchair-accessible park shuttles and the park’s website has a downloadable accessibility guide. The Grand Canyon and most of the other major federal parks have accessible trails and viewpoints. For advice and links to other helpful Internet resources, go to www.disabledtravelers.com, which is based in Arizona and is full of accessible travel information, though it’s not specific to the state. The National Accessible Travelers Database may also be helpful. For questions specific to Arizona, you may want to contact the state Department of Administration’s Office for Americans with Disabilities (100 N. 15th Ave., Ste. 361, Phoenix, 602/542-6276 or 800/358-3617, or TTY 602/542-6686).


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Southwest Road Trip.

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Dreaming Arizona: Surrealists in the Grand Canyon State https://moon.com/2016/09/dreaming-arizona-surrealists-in-the-grand-canyon-state/ https://moon.com/2016/09/dreaming-arizona-surrealists-in-the-grand-canyon-state/#respond Wed, 14 Sep 2016 16:49:20 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=48412 Author and enthusiast Tim Hull reflects on the unique and incredible beauty of Arizona, and its effect on the art world's surrealist painters showcased at the Phoenix Art Museum.

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I’m down in the Grand Canyon, resting in the shade of the tall cottonwood trees along the shining creek at Bright Angel Campground. I’m thinking about the New Deal programs of the 1930s and how much good they did for Arizona. The Civilian Conservation Corps planted many of these trees and constructed the narrow hanging bridges over the Colorado River, helping to make the inner canyon a green and welcoming oasis well worth the precipitous hike down from the rim (and back up).

A hanging bridge over the Colorado River in Arizona's Grand Canyon. Photo © Tim Hull.

A hanging bridge over the Colorado River in Arizona’s Grand Canyon. Photo © Tim Hull.

When I reach the South Rim several days later, and gaze over the wonderland out of which I’ve hiked, it occurs to me that if the Colorado River had not created the Grand Canyon in this dimension, in this reality, it could only exist in some Surrealist painter’s imagination. I’ve had this thought before while contemplating the canyon’s wild eroded vastness, and it always reminds me of my other favorite gifts the New Deal gave to Arizona, ones that are much easier to reach than the inner canyon: the Phoenix Art Museum and the strange, magical paintings of its founder, Philip C. Curtis.

The New Deal’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) sent Curtis to Arizona in 1937 to create an arts center in Phoenix that eventually became the Phoenix Museum of Art (1625 N. Central Ave., 602/257-1880. Wed. 10am-9pm, Thur.-Sat. 10am-5pm, Sun. Noon-5pm, $18, $9 kids 6-17). Today the museum owns some of Curtis’ best paintings, many of which hang in a room dedicated to his work. Many of the artists who came to Arizona and the Southwest in the 19th and early 20th centuries painted only what they saw, finding more than enough material in the stark deserts and mountains. But Curtis found in Arizona’s land and people augmented his dreamscapes, creating paintings that capture a surreal and magical world just beyond the surface.

The Phoenix Art Museum. Photo © Tim Hull.

The Phoenix Art Museum. Photo © Tim Hull.

Curtis wasn’t the only artist to find in Arizona’s landscapes a prompt and backdrop for his unique imaginings. Max Ernst, one of the founders of the Dada and Surrealist movements in Europe, came to Arizona with artist Dorothea Tanning in 1946. They built a small house in Sedona and lived there on and off into the 1950s. In Sedona’s fantastically eroded red rocks Ernst recognized a natural architecture that he had thought existed only in his imagination, and Ernst’s “experience of the landscape and light [in Arizona] proved decisive in determining the direction his art took from then on until his death.” (Ernst, by Ian Turpin, Phaidon, 1993)

Bell Rock in Sedona, Arizona. Photo © Tim Hull.

Bell Rock in Sedona, Arizona. Photo © Tim Hull.

Ernst created his famous sculpture “Capricorn” in 1948 beneath Sedona’s towering red cliffs. Cast in bronze in 1964 and 1975, the sculpture is now on display at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. And after a trip to the Colorado River, Ernst painted his visionary Coloradeau de Méduse. To me, this painting seems like the very first dream about Arizona, which some god might have had while napping in the cool of the evening beneath the cottonwoods. If you’ve seen any of these works, or the stark landscapes that inspired them, I’d love to hear your take in the comments!

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Southwest Road Trip: Route 66 Fun in Seligman https://moon.com/2016/09/southwest-side-trip-retro-fun-on-route-66/ https://moon.com/2016/09/southwest-side-trip-retro-fun-on-route-66/#respond Sun, 11 Sep 2016 11:35:24 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=45430 Any great American road trip worth its salt needs a dash or two of roadside kitsch. On a southwest road trip, Seligman is a prime opportunity to indulge in the motherlode of roadside attractions: Route 66.

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Any great American road trip worth its salt needs a dash or two of roadside kitsch. On a southwest road trip, Seligman is a prime opportunity to indulge in the motherlode of roadside attractions: Route 66.

Seligman AZ, photo © Sam Topping


Route 66 in Seligman, Ariziona. Photo © Sam Topping, licensed CC BY.

A tiny roadside settlement 87 miles east of Kingman, Seligman holds on tightly to its Route 66 heritage. There are less than 500 full-time residents and often, especially on summer weekends, twice that number of travelers. Don’t be surprised to see European visitors, classic car nuts, and 60-something bikers passing through town. John Lasseter, co-director of the 2006 Disney-Pixar film Cars, has said that he based the movie’s fictional town of Radiator Springs partly on Seligman, which, like Radiator Springs, nearly died out when it was bypassed by I-40 in the late 1970s.

There are less than 500 full-time residents and often, especially on summer weekends, twice that number of travelers.Stop at Delgadillo’s Snow Cap Drive-In (301 E. Chino St./Rte. 66, 928/422-3291, daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner, under $10), off Route 66 on the east end of town, a famous food shack dedicated to feeding, entertaining, and teasing Route 66 travelers for generations. They serve a mean chiliburger, a famous “cheeseburger with cheese,” hot dogs, malts, soft ice cream, and much more. Expect a wait, especially on summer weekends, and you will be teased, especially if you have a question that requires a serious answer.

The Roadkill Café (502 W. Chino St./Rte. 66, 928/422-3554, daily 7am-9pm, $5-24) is more than just a funny name; it’s a popular place for buffalo burgers, steaks, and sandwiches.

There are several small, affordable, locally owned motels in Seligman. The Supai Lodge (134 W. Chino St./Rte. 66, 928/422-4153, $66-80 d), named for the nearby Grand Canyon village inhabited by the Havasupai people, has clean and comfortable guest rooms at a fair price.

The Historic Route 66 Motel (500 W. Chino St./Rte. 66, 928/422-3204, $65-80 d) offers free wireless Internet and refrigerators in clean, comfortable guest rooms, and the Canyon Lodge (114 E. Chino St./Rte. 66, 928/422-3255, $65-80 d) has free wireless Internet along with refrigerators and microwaves in its themed guest rooms. They also serve a free continental breakfast.


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Southwest Road Trip.

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Route 66 Arizona Side Trip: US-89 to Sedona https://moon.com/2016/09/route-66-arizona-us89-to-sedona/ https://moon.com/2016/09/route-66-arizona-us89-to-sedona/#respond Sun, 04 Sep 2016 11:54:50 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=42270 A quick detour off Route 66 in Sedona takes you through a geological wonderland. It's a hotspot for outdoor enthusiasts, and a place to relax in luxury.

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Nourish and heal your soul in the geological wonderland of Sedona. On a quick detour off Route 66 of about 30 miles, south of Flagstaff via US-89, soaring monoliths straddle a town filled with dozens of spas, plentiful art galleries, boutiques, resorts, and wineries. The red-rock monoliths that flank Sedona are regarded as sacred and energy-harnessing vortexes that inspire spiritualists to travel from all over the world to access the mystical power of this area.

But you don’t have to be a crystal-loving hippie to get Sedona; it’s also a hot spot for outdoor enthusiasts with lots of trails for hiking, biking, and off-roading. It’s the perfect place to get in tune with nature, play hard, soak in the desert sun, and relax in the bosom of ultimate luxury.

Sedona Red Rocks. Photo © Candacy Taylor.

Sedona Red Rocks. Photo © Candacy Taylor.

Getting There

From Flagstaff and Bus-40, head south on S. Milton Road and turn right (west). Take your first left onto US-89A. Follow US-89A south for 25 miles into Sedona.

Scenic Drives

Oak Creek Canyon

The red-rock monoliths that flank Sedona are regarded as sacred and energy-harnessing vortexes that inspire spiritualists to travel from all over the world.Oak Creek Canyon Scenic Drive (Rte. 89A) is a 24-mile drive between Flagstaff and Sedona. From Flagstaff, take I-17 South to Highway 89A. The breathtaking road descends 4,500 feet from the top of the Mogollon Rim, winding through sandstone canyons and rock formations around every curve.

Along the way, visit one of the state’s most beautiful swimming holes. Slide Rock State Park (1300 W. Washington, 928/282-3034, hours vary seasonally, $10) is a natural water park in Oak Creek Canyon. A cool creek with a natural red-sandstone waterslide sits surrounded by huge rock formations. Three short hiking trails are available, but there is no camping. The rocks are slippery, so water-resistant shoes are recommended; if you are wearing light-colored clothing, the sediment from the rocks can cause stains.

The best seasons to enjoy this drive are late spring, summer, and early fall; however, the creek water is usually too cold in fall and winter. It gets extremely busy during the summer months, and there may be a long wait to enter the park. If the parking lot is full, enter via the southbound turn lane. If that lane reaches the highway, the park will be inaccessible until the road clears.

State Route 179

In Sedona, US-89A splits to head west. Stay south on State Route 179 to revel in the area’s spectacular scenery. From Sedona, State Route 179 winds 7.5 miles south through the Coconino National Forest along some of the most gorgeous red-rock sandstone and geological formations in the country. There are several places to pull off the road and stare at the grand and vibrant otherworldly landscape.

In about 3 miles, look for Cathedral Rock (6246 SR-179), the Empire State Building of Sedona’s skyline. Back on State Route 179, continue south and in less than 1 mile, turn east (left) onto Chapel Road and drive 1 mile to view the Chapel of the Holy Cross. Built in 1956, the pyramidal structure juts dramatically from the surrounding red rocks.

Cathedral Rock

Cathedral Rock. Photo © Tom Tietz/123rf.

Return to State Route 179 and drive 3 miles south to the parking lot for Bell Rock (6246 SR-179). This distinctive, bell-shaped monolith sits surrounded by one of the four major vortexes in the area. (It’s reported to have the strongest and most electrifying energy field, enough to strengthen one’s psychic abilities.) There are two parking lots; the lot for Courthouse Vista is the closest to the base of the rock.

Sights

As you drive into Sedona, the majority of the restaurants and hotels are either on the route or within 0.25 mile of the highway. The town of Sedona is divided into four sections: The Village of Oak Creek (SR-179) has restaurants and hiking trails; Upton is full of tourist shops; Oak Creek Canyon has B&Bs and mountain biking trails; and West Sedona is more residential.

Sedona is the center for spirituality and peace. For a beautiful spot to rest, meditate, or just contemplate life’s mysteries, visit Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park (2650 Pueblo Dr., 877/788-7229, dusk-dawn daily, free). The rare 36-foot stupa is a five-minute walk from Pueblo Drive along a well-marked trail.

Tlaquepaque (336 SR-179, 928/282-5820, 10am-5pm daily)—pronounced Tla-keh-pah-keh—has been a Sedona landmark since the 1970s. This distinctive shopping experience is fashioned after a quaint Mexican village, complete with cobblestone walkways, vine-covered walls, and arched entryways situated on the banks of Oak Creek. There are more than 40 specialty shops, 19 galleries, and 5 restaurants.

Tlaquepaque Sedona Arizona

The shopping village of Tlaquepaque in Sedona, Arizona. Photo © psyberartist, licensed CC BY.

A Spa For You (30 Kayenta Ct. Ste 1, 928/282-3895, call for appointment, $60-310) offers signature massages, body wraps, and Japanese facial massages that restore and rejuvenate the spirit. To get there, drive west on US-89A and turn right (north) on Navajo Drive. Continue two blocks and turn left (west) on Hopi Drive. Take your first right into the parking lot; the spa is straight ahead on the right.

Sedona is also a good place to realign your chakras. Try a Reiki session at International I AM (3190 W. State Route 89A, Suite 150, 928/451-6368, $50-200), where all types of psychic and spiritual healing services are available.

Hiking

Brins Mesa Trail (5 miles round-trip) is a diverse trek that travels through Sedona’s stunning red-rock formations. From the trailhead, you’ll pass by Devil’s Sinkhole, a 100-foot wide and 50-foot deep active sinkhole that formed in the 1880s. The trail winds through canyon arches and up to Soldier Pass.

To access the trailhead from downtown Sedona, drive west on US-89A and turn right (north) on Soldiers Pass Road. Continue 1.5 miles before turning right (east) on Rim Shadows for 0.2 mile. Parking is available to the left.

The Palatki Heritage Site (10290 Forest Service Rd. 795, 928/282-3854, 9:30am-3pm daily, $5), in the Coconino National Forest, was built by the Sinagua people. The site is nestled among ancient, red sandstone cliffs with rock art and pictographs. It is reachable via a short and easy 1-mile round-trip hike, but tour reservations are required.

From Sedona, take US-89A west for 5 miles and turn right onto Forest Road 525. Continue north for 5 miles, then stay straight to continue north onto Forest Road 795. Drive 2 miles to the parking lot for the Palatki ruins.

Travel map of Sedona, Arizona

Sedona


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Route 66 Road Trip.

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Driving Route 66 Through Arizona https://moon.com/2016/08/driving-route-66-through-arizona/ https://moon.com/2016/08/driving-route-66-through-arizona/#respond Wed, 03 Aug 2016 14:54:56 +0000 http://moon.com/?p=42272 Route 66 through Arizona is laid over age-old paths. Learn the history of the route in Arizona, driving tips, what to see, and where to stay.

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Route 66 through Arizona is laid over age-old paths that were developed to facilitate trade and access to critical resources between the Great Plains and California. In the late 1850s, Lieutenant Edward Fitzgerald Beale was ordered by the U.S. war department to build the Beale Wagon Road across Arizona. It was the shortest route to the West and became a well-traversed immigrant trail that guided thousands of folks in the 1860s and 1870s. The Beale Wagon Road was later followed by the Santa Fe Railway, and then became Route 66.

Gas is scarce in the western part of the state along Route 66, so make sure to gas up in Kingman before heading to Oatman.When Route 66 opened in 1926, most of the Arizona portion was unpaved. In 1933, President Roosevelt’s National Recovery Administration gave Arizona $5 million to pave the route. The Federal Highway Act of 1956 brought I-40 to the state, which bypassed several sections of Route 66.

Beale Wagon Road in Arizona.

Historic sign for Beale Wagon Road in Arizona. Public domain photo.

Highlights of Route 66 Through Arizona

  • Driving tour through Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Park: See colorful badlands, mesas, ancient petroglyphs, petrified wood, and fossils that date back 225 million years.
  • La Posada Historic District, Winslow: Step back in time at this Harvey Hotel, trading post, and restaurant built in 1929.
  • Walnut Canyon National Monument, near Flagstaff: Curved canyon walls, incredible geological formations, and ancient pueblos are just a few of the jewels in this stunning monument.
  • Bearizona Drive-Thru Wildlife Park, Williams: A roadside view of black bears, bison, bighorn sheep and wolves roaming the landscape in their natural habitat.
  • Delgadillo’s Snow Cap Drive-In, Seligman: This quirky, classic roadside restaurant built by local resident Juan Delgadillo in 1953 is one of the most celebrated stops on Route 66.
  • Oatman: A gold rush mining town has been brought back to life along the original alignment on Route 66.
Oatman, Arizona. Photo © Jon Bilous/123rf.

Oatman, Arizona. Photo © Jon Bilous/123rf.

Planning Your Time

Plan at least two days for the drive across Arizona. After crossing the state line, spend the first night at La Posada in Winslow. The next day, stop in Flagstaff, 160 miles from the eastern border; the mountain town has the best variety of restaurants, shops, and services along Route 66 in Arizona. It’s also a hub for detours to the Grand Canyon and Sedona.

Continue east to Williams and Seligman before driving the pristine, two-lane stretch of Route 66 through Peach Springs to spend the night in Kingman. From Kingman, you’ll leave Arizona via the Oatman Highway, which requires every driver’s patience and concentration.

To really experience the major attractions Route 66 has to offer, you may want to add two extra days for a side trip to the Grand Canyon or Sedona, or allocate an extra day to leisurely stroll the historic districts of Williams and Oatman. Gas is scarce in the western part of the state along Route 66, so make sure to gas up in Kingman before heading to Oatman.

Where to Stay

La Posada in Winslow, AZ. Photo © Candacy Taylor.

La Posada in Winslow, AZ. Photo © Candacy Taylor.

  • Wigwam Motel, Holbrook: This 1930s tepee-shaped motel is one of only two left standing on Route 66.
  • La Posada Hotel & Gardens, Winslow: Spend the night in a historic Harvey House designed by Mary Colter in 1929.
  • Little America Hotel, Flagstaff: Rooms in this classic lodge, set amid a 500-acre ponderosa pine forest, feature a 1970s French-themed decor.
  • Red Garter B & B Inn, Williams: Stay in an 1897 Victorian saloon and bordello with balconies overlooking the Grand Canyon Railway depot.
Travel map of Route 66 through the Southwest

Route 66 through the Southwest


Excerpted from the First Edition of Moon Route 66 Road Trip.

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