Flagstaff day trips offer a diversity of experiences. Local residents had a surprise 1,000 years ago. A volcano erupted in their back yard. Drive and hike through Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument with multicolored cinder cones, ice caves, and lava tubes. The loop drive continues through the pueblo ruins of Wupatki National Monument. Look at the multistory, stone-crafted ruins and understand the value of a room with a view in 500 AD. Ball courts, plazas, and ceremonial kivas indicate the rich culture of the early peoples. For more examples of the ancestors of the modern Puebloans, Walnut Canyon National Monument, 7 miles east of Flagstaff, offers a glimpse into daily life 700 years ago with canyon overlooks, a pithouse, and pueblo ruins, and hiking trails.
Coconino National Forest
The Coconino National Forest, with scenic backcountry roads, trails, fishing lakes, and campgrounds, is a summer and winter playground. You can sleep close to the action at Bonito Campground at the entrance to Sunset Crater Volcano national Monument, or pick a spot most anywhere in the forest for primitive dispersed camping. The Lake Mary Corridor extends for 24 miles southeast of Flagstaff along Lake Mary Rd. (Forest Rd. 3). Along the way to Mormon Lake, you’ll find two lakes and seven campgrounds with picnicking, camping, fishing, hiking, rock climbing, and wildlife watching. Flagstaff has snow sports covered with the Arizona Snowbowl and Flagstaff Nordic Village. The Snowball offers lodging at the Ski Lift Lodge and summer lift rides up Humphreys Peak to hiking trails and the highest outhouse in Arizona. Autumn paints the aspens with glorious hues of gold, perfect for hiking or one of the three backcountry Scenic Driving Loops through the forest.