A highly popular touristic city, Flagstaff sits in northern Arizona and is the county seat of Coconino County. It has a population of around 72,000 people, but almost twice that amount live in its combined metropolitan area. The city has a fascinating history, being founded back in 1876 in a very original way. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Hours/availability may have changed.
2.Elevation of Flagstaff
3.Climate and Things to Do in Flagstaff
- Flagstaff, Photo: giumas/stock.adobe.com
- Elevation of Flagstaff, Photo: Christopher Boswell/stock.adobe.com
- Climate and Things to Do in Flagstaff, Photo: Supitchamcadam/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of HildaWeges - Fotolia.com
Attraction Spotlight: Museum of Northern Arizona
The Museum of Northern Arizona is located at the base of the San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff, Arizona. The museum preserves the rich history of the Colorado Plateau with a collection of artifacts as well as research, education, and conservation initiatives. The permanent collection encompasses over 600,000 artifacts in the areas of fine art, biology, anthropology, and geology.
The Easton Collection Center opened in 2009 and is a LEED-certified state of the art building that houses the majority of the museum’s collection in a controlled environment. Fine art collections include Native American artifacts and paintings by Native and Anglo Americans from the Santa Fe Indian School’s famed Studio Arts program. The arts collection includes reproductions of murals made by Awatovi and Kawaika villages between the years 1300 and 1700. Over 50 paintings and sculptures by the museums’ founder Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton are included in the Fine Art collection. Mrs. Colton was a student at the Philadelphia School of Design for Women and exhibited with the Philadelphia Ten throughout the early 1900s. The Ethnology Gallery explores the culture and history of Native Americans in the area through the exploration of family structure, ceremonies, arts, and agriculture. A collection of Native American ethnographic and anthropologic objects is exhibited in the Hopi Kiva Gallery and includes basketry, weavings, and pottery. Biological collections include over 30,000 catalogued plant specimens representative of the flora of the Grand Canyon region and northern Arizona plateau.
The collection includes indigenous food plants as well as ceremonial and medicinal plants. An invertebrate collection includes over 300,000 species of fauna native to the area. Spiders, butterflies, beetles, and dragonflies are just some of the preserved insect specimens. The vertebrate collection includes preserved zoological specimens such as fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. The museum is noted for the Hargrave Collection of over 3,500 bird specimens, and close to 200 eggs from 97 different species. A variety of paleontological specimens include early shark, reptile, and ornithological fauna from the area. Over 20,000 specimens come from the rich fossil-bearing geography of the region. The geological collection includes over 4,000 samples of rocks, minerals, and meteorites. A permanent courtyard exhibit interprets the geological history of the Colorado Plateau. A library of over 76,000 volumes and a research collection of over 150,000 magazines, photographs, maps, and manuscripts rounds out the museum’s holdings.
History: Harold S. Colton and Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton founded the museum in 1928 to protect and preserve the cultural and natural history of the Colorado Plateau. Dr. Colton was a professor of zoology at the University of Pennsylvania, and his wife Mary-Russell was a painter. They moved to Flagstaff in 1926 and quickly became involved in the creation of the museum. In 1930, they hired a physical anthropologist, Katharine Bartlett, as the museum’s curator. Bartlett’s cataloguing procedures over the next 51 years became the foundation of the museum’s research facility. Exhibits today occupy over 24,000 square feet of space and work in a synergistic nature as researchers utilize the collections for studies, then exhibit their findings at the museum. Today, close to 100,000 guests visit the museum annually.
Ongoing Programs and Education: Public programs for all ages include hands-on activities, workshops, lectures, and performances. For adults, Gallery Talks offer additional insight into the museum’s temporary exhibits. The Living Room Lecture Series invites researchers to share their current work with the public. The Sedona Lecture Series invites scientists, artists, and authors for monthly discussions. The Future of the Colorado Plateau Forum brings the community and local decision makers together to discuss the social, environmental, and economic future of the region. The Hot Topics Café is presented in partnership with Northern Arizona University’s Philosophy in the Public Interest Program and offers discussions about significant community topics. Thirsty Thursdays keeps the museum open afterhours with live music, food, and drink. Children’s events include STEAM Saturdays, hands-on activities and crafts offered each second Saturday to promote education in science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math. Recent themes have included Nature Nature, California Condors, Rockin’ Geology, and Radical Reptiles.
Past and Future Exhibits: Temporary exhibits have included Tony Abeyta’s Convergence, showcasing more than 20 works by the contemporary Navajo artist featuring paintings, drawings and mixed-media pieces that blend traditional Navajo beliefs with contemporary abstract landscapes and geometric forms. Four on the Floor: Audubon's Quadrupeds was an exhibit of John James Audubon’s historic portfolio of American wildlife. You are On Indian Land offered a critical dialogue on pop culture’s appropriation of indigenous art.
3101 N. Ft. Valley Rd., Flagstaff, AZ 86001, Phone: 928-774-5213
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Attraction Spotlight: Arizona Snowbowl
The Arizona Snowbowl is a ski resort on the western slope of Mount Humphreys, the highest among the Arizona’s famous San Francisco Peaks mountain range, which was formed by volcanic activity over one million years ago. The ski area is just 14 miles from Flagstaff, and 2 hours from Phoenix. With a base elevation of over 9,000 feet and a peak of 11,500, the resort offers 777 acres of skiable terrain over a 2,300-foot drop. 40 manicured runs traverse the resort area, the majority of which are suitable for beginner and intermediate skiers.
Five aerial chairlifts include Arizona’s first 6-person high speed lift. Chair lifts operate during the summer months to take visitors on scenic rides. During summer guests may exit at the top to hike the peak. In winter, two additional surface conveyors take beginners to the top of the gentler slopes. With an average 240 inches of snowfall each year, the ski season normally runs from mid-November through mid-April.
Three terrain parks include the beginner-friendly Prairie Dawg Start Park. This park is specially designed for first time terrain park skiers and offers low-profile snow features and boxes suitable for all ages. The Sunset Terrain Park is more suitable for advanced skiers and snowboarders. Expert level rails, technical jumps and snow features allow guests to show off their freestyle skills. The newest terrain park, Progression Park, is perfect for those who have perfected their skills at the Start Park, but are not quite ready for the more advanced features of Sunset Park.
Just over 20% of the trails are marked as advanced, the longest of which is 2 miles. Advanced skiers may enjoy backcountry access to the Coconino National Forest. All backcountry skiers must receive a permit from the Flagstaff National Forest Service. Backcountry skiers should be advised that the San Francisco Peaks are home to at least 77 avalanche slide paths and the backcountry area is not maintained or patrolled.
Dining options at the ski area include the Hart Prairie Restaurant, offering a food court, casual dining and a full bar, as well as the Fremont Restaurant and Bar, a new full-service bar opening in December 2017 at the base of the Sunset Chair Lift. The Agassiz Lodge Restaurant and Bar is located at the highest elevation. Breakfast and lunch are served there during the winter season only.
History: Skiing arrived in Flagstaff in the early 1900’s. Norwegian brothers Pete and Ole Solberg were among the first in the area to ski. The two arrived in Arizona to work for the lumber industry in 1915 and would ride their handmade wooden skis down Mars Hill in the winter months. In 1935, Forest Service Snow Ranger Ed Groesbeck began the Flagstaff Ski Club, considered the pre-cursor to the Arizona Snowbowl. In 1938, with permission from the U.S. Forest Service, a road and a ski lodge were built on the west-facing slopes in Hart Prairie. By 1941, ownership of the area was transferred to Al Grasmoen and the Arnal Corporation. The deal was America’s first notable transfer of a special-use permit to a private entity. Grasmoen was a California businessman who soon after capitalized on the ski craze and built much of the infrastructure surrounding today’s Snowbowl. The area, which occupies land sacred to the thirteen Native American tribes in the region, has not been without controversy. As the Snowbowl has expanded, tribal councils have filed, and lost, five lawsuits related to the construction of new roads, trails, ski-lift lines and sewage pipelines, as well as the biological effects of using reclaimed water to make artificial snow. Proponents argue the Snowbowl brings much-needed jobs to the area, and that tourism has a positive economic impact.
Ongoing Programs and Education: A ski and ride school is available to those seeking lessons on either skis or snowboards. All instructors are certified by the Professional Ski Instructors of America Association or the American Association of Snowboard Instructors. Both group and private lessons are available for ages 4 through adult. Arizona Snowbowl offers some of the best beginner-friendly terrain in the southwest United States.
What’s Nearby: The Ski Lift Lodge and Cabins are the closest lodging option to the Arizona Snowbowl and are located between Flagstaff and the ski area. The lodge is open year-round and offers 18 cabins as well as 6 motel-style rooms in the Ponderosa Pine forest.
9300 North Snowbowl Road, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, Phone: 928-779-1951
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