Explore N. Arizona

Northern Arizona

From Flagstaff to Wickenburg, here’s a guide to the cities of Northern Arizona:

From Phoenix: I-17 to Hwy. 179. Drivers who pull to the side of Highway 179 or 89A to gaze at the otherworldly rock formations of Sedona cake their tires in red dust, recognize the tiny, colorful dots on distant monoliths as intrepid hikers, and find that any angle is a good angle for a panoramic photo. In addition to scenery and hiking, Sedona offers guided Jeep adventures, fine arts shopping, and an Uptown strip lined with dealers of fudge, grilled cactus, pottery, souvenir crystals, and clothing that could be found in the wardrobe of a Western movie.

From Phoenix: I-17 to Carefree Hwy., west to Hwy. 60. Wickenburg was founded in the 1860s around such endeavors as ranching, rodeos and gold mining—all of which continue to flavor the city today. Several dude ranches welcome overnight guests. The rodeo grounds host competitors from junior-high level through the National Senior Pro Rodeo Association (NSPRA). And memories of prospecting days, like the crumbling Vulture Mine and a host of general stores and saloons, still conduct business with a smile and some sass.

From Phoenix: I-17 to Hwy. 260/Camp Verde exit. Jerome was a copper-mining boomtown in the 1870s, but experienced such a drastic drop in population after mining ceased in the 1950s that it came to be called a “ghost town.” Artists, antiques dealers and B&B hosts have long since reclaimed the town, giving modern-day visitors lots of reasons to poke around its crooked streets. At the base of Jerome’s Mingus Mountain sits the city of Clarkdale, from which Verde Canyon Railroad operates scenic rides into remote wilderness. Wilderness is tamed, if only slightly, at Out of Africa, a sprawling wildlife park in Camp Verde. Also in the Verde Valley sit the stone-walled ruins of Tuzigoot National Monument, which was once a thriving Sinagua village of more than 75 rooms, some with second stories and awesome vistas. Today’s visitors can examine room sizes and construction materials from a paved trail.

From Phoenix: I-17 to Hwy. 69. Courthouse Plaza marks the social center of Prescott. Find it, and you’ll be at the doorstep of antiques shops, an artists co-op, the 1860s-reminiscent Sharlot Hall Museum and saloons with swinging doors. During the summer, the Plaza itself is a site of frequent arts festivals. Rock climbers adore the crags of nearby Granite Dells, and doily devotees fantasize about what life must be like inside one of the Victorian houses on Mount Vernon Avenue.

From Phoenix: I-17 to Milton Road/Route 66. In Flagstaff, natural, mindful pursuits are obvious. The San Francisco Peaks are popular with hikers (Humphreys Peak is the highest point in Arizona). Biking and hiking shacks, vegetarian cafes, head shops and blues bars pepper the downtown streets.

Grand Canyon
From Phoenix: I-17 to I-40. The Colorado River carved this impressive gorge over the course of millions of years. The South Rim is approximately a four-hour drive from Phoenix and is the most accessible entrance to Grand Canyon National Park. Mule, horse, air, motorcoach and boat tours require reservations, but ranger programs are offered daily.