Flagstaff. Indeed, A Special Place.
The Arizona Grand Canyon is one of the most visited attractions in the world enticing vacationers from every corner of the the planet. Since Flagstaff is just 75 miles southwest of the Canyon, it is the ideal home base to so many other places to see and experience. Located about a two-hour drive from the Greater Phoenix and Scottsdale area, Flagstaff is the favorite escape of the Arizona desert dwellers to the south.
At an elevation of almost 7,000 feet, surrounded by thick pine forests and back dropped by the snow-capped San Francisco Peaks, Flagstaff boasts a colorful four-season climate that is about 30 degrees F cooler than desert heat in Metro Phoenix. Flagstaff is the recreational hub of Northern Arizona which is rich in outdoor adventure. Besides its close proximity to the Grand Canyon, the entire natural landscape is ideal for camping, hiking, biking, climbing and fishing.
Small Town Charm With Big City Amenities
The population of Flagstaff is just over 65,000 (2007) people, offers many cultural opportunities through its symphony, theater, museums and art centers. It is also home to Northern Arizona University, the third largest university in Arizona. Tourism is a primary industries, along with government, education and healthcare. Flagstaff also boasts an airport, shopping centers and an indoor mall, a daily newspaper, two local television stations with cable access to many more and numerous radio stations providing a variety of formats. Flagstaff is about 150 miles north of Phoenix which is America's fifth most populated metropolis.
Scenic Beauty and Natural Attractions
The focal icon of Flagstaff is Humphreys Peak, one of the majestic San Francisco Peaks. At an elevation of 12,634 feet, it is the highest point is Arizona and harbors some of the most beautiful landscape in the country including the Arizona Snowbowl, the most prominent snow-skiing venue in the state. Flagstaff, Arizona is simply lush with pine forests, wildflower meadows, mountain lakes and abundant wildlife including Arizona Elk.
The Flagstaff area was once home to ancient, prehistoric Native American Indian civilizations including the Sinagua Indians. Ruins from their pueblo villages are still standing throughout the area at the Wupatki Ruins and Walnut Canyon. There are even more ancient ruins in nearby Sedona and Camp Verde which is home to Montezuma Castle, perhaps the best example of ancient cliff dwelling in the state.
Sedona, with it world famous redrock monoliths are but a a short 30 mile drive south of Flagstaff through Oak Creek Canyon which is one of the most scenic drives in America. Oak Creek is saturated with outstanding hiking trails and boasts of Slide Rock State Park which is contains a natural water-chute on the creek that attracts thousands of visitors during the summer months.
A Quick Historical Overview
There are several stories about how Flagstaff got its name. One of the more common is that a group of settlers were passing through the area on their way to California during the Fourth of July. In celebration, they stripped a large pine tree of its limbs and bark creating a "flag pole" that hoisted the US Flag. Although the group continued on their way to California, it became a symbol that led to it name of "Flagstaff".
Thomas F. McMillan, who built his home near a spring in 1876 is recognized as the town's first permanent settler. The railroad came to Flagstaff in 1882 and opened the area to rapid expansion. By 1876, Flagstaff had become the largest city on the rail line between Albuquerque and the Pacific Coast. Flagstaff , with a population of 1,500 in 1891 became one of the country's largest county seats (Coconino County).
America's Highway, Route 66 which was built during the 1920s became a major auto transportation route through Flagstaff and was the catalyst to its becoming a major tourist and vacation spot along the highway.
A Major Getaway Destination
Today, Flagstaff is more than a special vacation destination. It has a long and storied history beginning with ancient civilizations that were the ancestors of today's Native American Nations in Northern Arizona. It also has a western legacy of pioneers who settled and built the area that is alive with cultural heritage and natural beauty. Its clean and refreshing mountain air combined with both natural and man made attractions, attracts visitors from all over the world.
The Grand Canyon, Wupatki, Walnut Canyon, Meteor Crater, the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert are all within are all within easy driving distance of Flagstaff, Arizona. Additionally, Flagstaff proudly boasts Lowell Observatory where Pluto was discovered. The Museum of Northern Arizona, Riordan Mansion, the Arboretum at Flagstaff, and the authentic Route 66 nostalgia contributes to its lure.
Today, outdoor enthusiasts, Colorado River river runners, Grand Canyon tour companies, mountain climbers, hikers and adventure seekers of wide open spaces continue to make their way to Flagstaff for the charm and wonders it has to offer.
Where To Stay In Flagstaff
Flagstaff High Country
San Francisco Peaks
Arboretum of Flagstaff