To Flagstaff and Beyond: A Weekend of Adventure

Flagstaff, Arizona, is more than a fun and unique destination. The passionate community members and otherworldly views (both figuratively and literally) will make you want to come back again and again!
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Flagstaff, Arizona, is home to many wonders, past, present, and (probably) future! Tucked into the foothills of the San Francisco Peaks just an hour and a half south of the Grand Canyon, this unique mountain town has so many activities to offer. So, whether you’re on spring break in the Southwest or looking for a new place to explore outside the national parks, look no further than Flagstaff! 

This story was created in partnership with Discover Flagstaff.

Day 1: Step Back in Time

Begin your trip by visiting the past. Flagstaff was established in the late 1800s by a few ambitious travelers and uplifted by passionate community members, including the Riordan brothers. Together they supported a growing Flagstaff through jobs at their lumber mill, investing in a university that eventually became the Northern Arizona University and many other philanthropic pursuits. Today, their impressive stone and timber home can be explored at the Riordan Mansion State Historic Park. Here, you will find rooms frozen in time as they would’ve looked in the early 1900s, as well as informative exhibits about the growing town of Flagstaff. Take a tour with one of the friendly and knowledgeable state park rangers and see the craftsmanship and love poured into this historic home! 

Wupatki National Monument in Flagstaff

After lunch at one of the many great restaurants in town, head out for an afternoon deeper into the past. Drive roughly 30 minutes northeast on Highway 89 to Wupatki National Monument, where you can explore six 900-year-old Puebloan dwellings. If you thought the Riordan Mansion was impressive, the Wupatki Pueblo would surely blow your mind! This 100-room structure was not only a home but an entire village, with ballcourts and community gathering rooms. The Puebloan community resided there during the 1100s after the eruption of Sunset Crater, which created fertile land for farming. 

After walking through the different pueblos, you can drive south through the area where that eruption occurred, in Sunset Crater National Monument. Although you can’t see into the crater itself, you can do several hikes amongst ancient volcanic boulders and black gravel hillsides in the surrounding area. This otherworldly terrain contrasts the colorful Painted Desert to the east and snowcapped peaks to the south. 

At the end of your first day, check into one of Flagstaff’s lodging accommodations. We highly recommend Little America, offering several miles of hiking trails out your back door, a swimming pool, an in-house restaurant, and amazing hospitality. The perfect basecamp for a weekend of exploration!

Day 2: Try Something New

Woman on ski lift at Arizona Snowbowl with map

Now that you’ve become acquainted with the history and acclimated to the 7,000-foot altitude of Flagstaff, it’s time to go even higher at Arizona Snowbowl! Not only is it the largest ski resort in the state, but it’s also typically open through Memorial Day for lots of fun spring skiing. Before hitting the slopes, head to Peace Outfitters for all your rental needs. Once you’re geared up, hop across the street to Kickstand Kafe for a breakfast burrito and a coffee to fuel your day on the snow. 

Arizona Snowbowl is a 30-minute drive north of town, where you’ll climb to 9,200 feet through Ponderosa Pine forest. Spend the day exploring the eight lifts and 55 different runs of varying terrain. Before returning to town, grab a late lunch at one of the three slopeside restaurants. 

Collage of images from Lowell Observatory tour in Flagstaff

After the sun has set and you’ve rested your legs, it’s time to climb another mountain! This time it’s Mars Hill, just 5 minutes south of town, where you’ll visit the discovery place of the planet Pluto, the Lowell Observatory. This amazing institution boasts interactive exhibits, telescope viewing, and a staff of passionate and informative astronomers and scientists. Here you can walk the glowing pathways to the observation decks and towers that house state-of-the-art technology. As the world’s first official International Dark Sky Community, Flagstaff is the perfect place to observe the night sky and make new discoveries! 

Day 3: A Different Kind of Trail

Ziplining in Flagstaff

On your final day of adventure, it’s time to get extreme, Flagstaff Extreme! Spend the day climbing out of your comfort zone and taking leaps of faith on this exhilarating high ropes course. With over 70 obstacles, bridges, and ziplines, the circuit is designed to progress from easier to harder, with ladders to end your route at any point. One of their supportive guides will lead you through a short demo course before trying your hand at the entire adventure course! Plan to spend 2-3 hours if you aim to do the whole Flagstaff Extreme experience. 

Collage of images from Flagstaff brewery trail

After conquering the trail through the sky, it’s time to reward yourself on the Flagstaff Brewery Trail. Complete with a map and virtual stamps from each brewery, you can work your way through the unique and satisfying microbrews from Flagstaff’s local brewers. Kick back in the Dark Sky Brewing Company beer garden, enjoy a farm-to-table burger at the Mother Road Brewery, and celebrate your fantastic adventure in Flagstaff.

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