Situated in Coconino County in the north-central part of the state, Flagstaff is one of Arizona's most visited cities due to its prime location near the Colorado Plateau and the San Francisco Peaks. The highest point in the state, Humphreys Peak, is just 10 miles away, and Mount Elden is right nearby as well, along with a ponderosa pine forest and several great natural areas to explore and enjoy. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Flagstaff RV Parks
2.Flagstaff RV Parks: Black Barts RV Park
3.Flagstaff RV Parks: Woody Mountain Campground
4.Flagstaff RV Parks: Flagstaff KOA
5.Flagstaff RV Parks: J & H RV Park
4 Best Flagstaff RV Parks
- Flagstaff RV Parks, Photo: stock.adobe.com
- Flagstaff RV Parks: Black Barts RV Park, Photo: Tomasz Zajda/stock.adobe.com
- Flagstaff RV Parks: Woody Mountain Campground, Photo: Andrey Armyagov/stock.adobe.com
- Flagstaff RV Parks: Flagstaff KOA, Photo: _jure/stock.adobe.com
- Flagstaff RV Parks: J & H RV Park, Photo: _jure/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Janni/stock.adobe.com
Attraction Spotlight: Lowell Observatory
The Lowell Observatory of Flagstaff, Arizona is a not-for profit independent research institution. Flagstaff was the first city in the world to be designated as an International Dark Sky City, making the Anderson Mesa observatory, located just 10 miles north of Flagstaff, the perfect stargazing environment. Locals refer to the site as Mars Hill.
Telescopes at the state-of-the-art facility are located throughout the 750 acres of the Anderson Mesa, with administrative offices and visitor services grouped at the southeast corner of the facility, just 1 mile from Flagstaff. The Putman Collection Center at Mars Hill houses the observatory’s artifacts and archives. Among the collection is a 1911 Stevens-Duryea touring automobile once owned by Percival Lowell (1855–1916), the founder of the observatory. Lowell was an astronomer who studied Mars extensively and fueled the belief that the planet was home to water-filled canals that could sustain life. His theories were disproved by NASA in the 1960s. Other items on display as part of the Putnam Collection include Percival Lowell’s first telescope, given to him by his mother when he was just 15 years old. The spectrograph used by V.M. Slipher to gather the first evidence of the expanding of the universe is on display, as are scientific books dating back hundreds of years. The Rotunda Museum houses exhibits that educate guests on the history of the observatory and the discoveries that have occurred there, most notably Slipher’s discovery of the expansion of the universe and Tombaugh’s discovery of Pluto. An exhibit on the observatory’s role in the mapping of the moon for the Apollo Program includes photographs of the Apollo astronauts training at Lowell in 1963. An exhibit on the Lowell family history includes Percival Lowell’s notes, drawings, and research of Mars. A historical 60-foot long slide rule rounds out the collection of artifacts. Historical telescopes at the Mars Hill observatory include the 13-inch telescope that Clyde Tombaugh used to discover Pluto in 1930. As of August 2017, this telescope is currently closed for restoration. The original Alvan Clark and Sons 24” Refractor Telescope built in 1896 is still in operation and is used for educational purposes and public viewing, including the night sky programs. A new Discovery Channel Telescope (the DCT) is located at Happy Jack, 35 miles from the observatory’s main location. The $53 million 4.3-meter telescope is considered the flagship instrument of the observatory’s current research efforts.
History: The Lowell Observatory is one of the oldest in the United States, having been established in 1894 by Percival Lowell of Boston’s elite Lowell family. The research station at Anderson Mesa, Mars Hill, has been in continuous operation since 1960. The observatory is still overseen by a sole trustee, a person traditionally nominated by the Lowell family. Designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1965, TIME Magazine named the observatory one of the world’s 100 most important places in 2011. Today, over 85,000 visitors per year see the exhibits and enjoy the public programming. Current research at the observatory includes the study and observance of near-Earth asteroids, a study on the brightness stability of the sun, and a search for planets outside our solar system.
Ongoing Programs and Education: Daytime guided tours include The Story of Pluto, a 45-minute walking tour, which educates guests about the Pluto Discovery Telescope. The Lowell Tour explores the observatory’s history with a 45-minute walk of the campus, stopping at the 24” Clark Refracting Telescope, which was built in 1896 and is still in use today. Youth programs include a Junior Astronomer Program and the Lowell Observatory Camp for Kids, otherwise known as LOCKs. Evening Telescope Viewing takes place with the 24” Clark Refracting Telescope. Visitors can see the moon, planets, and star clusters under the guidance of an educator from the observatory. Special educational programs at the Rotunda Museum include the Solar System and Stars and Galaxies, which are 45-minute educational talks. The Visitor Center Lecture Hall hosts 45-minue Science Demonstrations and the Science of Light program. Thirty-minute Constellation Tours meet at the Rotunda Museum and take place outdoors when the sky is clear and the moon is dark.
Past and Future Exhibits: A Space Guard Academy exhibit is now open, which educates guests about asteroid research and science. In this hands-on interactive exhibit, visitors learn how to use photometry to detect the movement of asteroids and to differentiate them from a sky full of stars.
1400 West Mars Hill Road, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, Phone: 928-774-3358
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Attraction Spotlight: Walnut Canyon National Monument
The Walnut Canyon National Monument is a vast canyon southeast of Flagstaff in Arizona featuring extraordinary geological formations. Situated approximately 10 miles from Flagstaff, the canyon’s rim is 6,690 feet high with the canyon floor is 350 foot lower and features the former homes of an ancient pre-Columbian cultural tribe known as the Sinagua who lived in the Walnut Canyon from about 1100 to 1250 CE. The 25 cliff dwellings constructed by the tribe are set along a near-mile-long loop walking trail, which descends 185 foot into the canyon. Visitors can visit the ancient pueblos and discover how the ancient tribe lived.
The Sinagua (Spanish for ‘without water’) tribe lived in unique dwellings within the Walnut Canyon until 1250 CE until they mysteriously disappeared. Thought to be active traders, the Sinagua were highly accomplished at residing in the harsh, dry conditions of the area where water was scarce, and dwellings were located deep within the canyon, taking advantage of the natural recesses and tucked under limestone ledges for maximum coolness. The small, but adequate cave-like dwellings measure approximately two meters high by six meters long by three meters deep and could fit a single family.
Set on the Colorado Plateau, the Walnut Canyon cuts through the Permian Kaibab Limestone formation that forms the rim of the Grand Canyon and features Coconino Sandstone. The Walnut Canyon site is home to Walnut Creek, which carved a 600-foot deep east-flowing canyon and eventually flows into the Little Colorado River on its way to the Grand Canyon. The canyon walls have three distinct layers of rocks, namely Kaibab Limestone in the upper third of the Canyon, where the cliff dwellings are found; Toroweap Formation in the middle; and sheer Coconino Sandstone in the lower third of the canyon.
Due to the area's dry climate, the Walnut Canyon is home to a diverse array of wildlife, with over 380 different plant species, including the Arizona black walnut and the Prickly Pear cactus, as well as includes numerous sensitive plant species. The shaded, north- facing walls of the canyon are covered in fir and ponderosa pine trees, while the sunny, south facing slopes feature agaves and several species of cactus, including echnocereus, cholla, and opuntia. The floor of the canyon is home to several species of walnut trees, for which the canyon is named.
The Walnut Canyon features two walking trails, namely the 0.7 mile Rim Trail and the 0.9 mile Island Trail. The Rim Trail traverses the canyon rim and ends at a viewpoint on the edge from which beautiful views can be enjoyed, while the slightly more strenuous Island Trail loops around the canyon. Both walking trails begin at the Visitor Center where detailed information about each trail can be found.
The Walnut Canyon National Monument offers guided field trips for visitors of all ages with fact sheets for young learners and students.
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Coconino National Forest, 3 Walnut Canyon Rd, Flagstaff, AZ 86004, Phone: 928-526-3367
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