Flagstaff, AZ is an incredibly unique place. High, snow-peaked mountains, surrounded by desert in every direction; Flagstaff truly is one of a kind. It has a hip downtown area, an excellent university, and countless activities ranging from outdoor sports to nightlife. If you find yourself in the area and are looking to experience the great outdoors, be sure to check out these five hotspots.
Buffalo Park is a regional park located in Flagstaff, AZ. It consists of roughly 215 acres of forested land. Though there is no camping permitted on the land, there are miles of trails available for hikers and bikers. Trails range in difficulty from easy to strenuous. There is even a two mile loop trail that goes around the park and is handicapped accessible.
Mt. Elden is a 9,299-foot peak located in northern Flagstaff. There are a couple of different paths to choose from, and even a road that you can drive to the top. However, I would highly recommend hiking because it is a great experience complete with beautiful scenery. The mountain takes about 1 to 2 hours to hike, depending on your fitness level. The views from the top are incredible. You can see the Grand Canyon in the far distance, though it doesn’t look quite so grand from that far away.
Lowell Observatory, in Flagstaff, AZ, is where the Discovery Channel Telescope is located. They offer a variety of guided tours throughout the day. In the evening, they open up the telescope for star and planet gazing. They also offer a number of educational programs for those interested in learning more about space.
Coconino National Forest
The Coconino National Forest offers incredible variety of scenery including red rocky desert, thick pine forests, alpine tundra, and a plethora of rivers, lakes, and streams. For the outdoor enthusiasts, the things to do here are infinite. They are open to camping year round with both established campgrounds and dispersed camping available. The activities here are innumerable, with miles and miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails. They have countless lakes and rivers for fishing, kayaking, and swimming. There are numerous areas available for rock climbing. Just about any outdoor sport you can think of is available at Coconino National Forest.
The Arizona Snowbowl offers some of the best skiing in Arizona. They have 40 trails, accessible by four different lifts. The trails are available to people of all levels, from beginner to expert. They also have three different terrain parks ranging from beginner to advanced.
City of Flagstaff: City Parks: http://www.flagstaff.az.gov/index.aspx?NID=91
Summit Post: Mount Elden: http://www.summitpost.org/mount-elden/150238
Lowell Observatory: http://www.lowell.edu/
United States Department of Agriculture: Forest Service: Coconino National Forest: http://www.fs.usda.gov/coconino/
Arizona Snowbowl: https://www.arizonasnowbowl.com/