10 miles RT/3133 feet elevation gain. Humphreys Peak is Arizona’s highest peak at 12,633 feet. It’s actually the remains of a stratovolcano which blew up. I think that’s really cool. And it’s right next to Flagstaff! The hike isn’t too bad. It gets a bit windy. The last bit above treeline is steep and a little strenuous. The views are simply amazing. You can see forever. If you squint, you can see the rim of the Grand Canyon on the northern horizon. Oh, and lots of bugs. Snow can linger too into early June.
The Grand Canyon’s South Rim is open all year round. I highly recommend hiking into the canyon. If you can, hike down the Bright Angel trail till Plateau Point and back (~3000 feet of gain). That’s where this picture is. You’re perched 2000 feet above the Colorado river, yet you feel as if the Earth as swallowed you up. Do it, it’s amazing.
Absolutely stunning. To visit the canyon, you must find a tour in the town of Page because the canyon is on native land. Try to get the first tour in the morning because the canyon gets absolutely swamped with tourists otherwise. Your pictures look out of this world. But really.
As desolate and majestic as the southwest will get. Take in the buttes and the sweeping views over the valleys as the spires and totems lie eldritch. I recommend a high-clearance vehicle to get down to the Monument Valley road itself but I suppose a car could do it if you go extremely slowly. Take your time, it’s a special place. To get the view in the photograph, you need to drive into Utah for a few miles and look back. Oh, and there’s only one hotel nearby — the native American run hotel.
Canyon de Chelly
This park is skippable. There only landmarks of note are Spider Rock (pictured). Spider Rock is a majestic, almost 300 m/900 foot rock that soars out of the canyon. The White House is the other landmark. If you skip this, you aren’t missing much.
Painted Desert Rim Drive
We stumbled upon this entirely by accident! But, what a view! This view is simple turnoff from route 87 and easily missed. We just happened to spot it and wonder what on Earth was over there. The GPS coordinates are 35 9 22N, 110 28 21W. Hope that helps! The view really is worth it, especially when you have the perfect fluffy cotton clouds floating overhead. :)
Petrified Forest National Park
Again, you’re not missing anything if you skip this park. Worth it for the view of the Painted Desert and if you’re into petrified wood (who isn’t?). It’s a quick drive, so why not?
Very, very scenic. You’re driving southwards and suddenly you stumble upon this look with forested hills ranging till the horizon. I recommend walking the Mongollon Rim trail. There’s also a visitor center nearby. Just don’t be overly adventurous like us and take the 99 south because there becomes a dirt road with no warning in the middle of a forest. And it stays a dirt road for 25-30 miles before hitting this gorgeous overlook.
Think of Sedona as a mini-Grand Canyon. It’s very, very pretty and much more human in scale. Great for an easy hike and some camping. It’s not far from Flagstaff either!
Should meteor craters be your think, the Barringer Crater might be worth a side-trip. It’s a … crater. Pretty much what you’d expect. Not far from Flagstaff.