“If you wish to advance into the infinite, explore the finite in all directions.” ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
North Central Arizona, located in the middle of the state between Phoenix and Flagstaff, is known as Arizona’s “Four Seasons Playground” because of its cool summer temperatures, fall leaves, winter snow, and spring flowers.
This region features pine forests, mountain trails, lakes, and rivers. Its proximity to Phoenix makes it an ideal weekend getaway for hiking, biking, camping, and fishing. Popular destinations include Prescott National Forest, the Verde Valley Wilderness, Jerome, Tonto Natural Bridge, Dead Horse Ranch State Park, and Sedona/Oak Creek Canyon.
The Sinagua Indians inhabited this region from 500 to about 1300 AD. They led a simple life based on farming, hunting, and gathering. Around 1000 AD, volcanic activity in the area improved soil conditions which enabled the Sinagua to thrive, and evidence of their civilization still abounds.
Points of Interest:
Many of our family’s favorite places are located in North Central Arizona. I’ve listed some that can be enjoyed by all ages.
Sedona/Oak Creek – For information about the beautiful Red Rock country south of Flagstaff, visit the Sedona-Oak Creek Chamber of Commerce at www.visitsedona.com. The West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon, located in the Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness area, is one of the most popular hikes in Arizona. The West Fork is an unspoiled, narrow-walled sheer-rock canyon that is lush and heavily wooded. The first three miles are an easy walk for everyone from toddlers to seniors, while the last eight miles are the province of the more serious backpacker.
Verde Canyon Railway – Take a four-hour train ride through spectacular scenery that’s beautiful in all seasons.
Jerome – A quaint old copper mining town built on a mountainside, once a ghost town (the mine closed in 1953), now booming again as a must-see tourist destination.
There are plenty of places to go camping in the surrounding national forest.