Hats off to Northern Arizona!
Hats Off America traveled to Sedona, Oak Creek Canyon, and Meteor Crater, three stunning places in Northern Arizona. While Arizona is famous for is giant saguaros and the Grand Canyon, there is so much more in Arizona. From Ponderosa forests in the North to the Sonoran Desert in the south, driving across the state of Arizona will provide extreme biodiversity. Hats Off America went on a tour of Northern Arizona through Sedona, Flagstaff and to Meteor Crater to see a small part of what Arizona offers.
Our adventure started in the valley near Camelback Mountain, then took us to Sedona. From Sedona we headed up through the Oak Creek Canyon on Highway 89A, and at Flagstaff we turned east on 40 to go to Meteor Crater.
Oak Creek Canyon – Highway 89A from Sedona to Flagstaff
The road from Sedona to Flagstaff is a 30-mile stretch that follows the Oak Creek Canyon and mountain stream. The forest is very different from other parts of Arizona and has primarily deciduous trees instead of pine trees. We made three stops on the stretch.
Stop #1: Billy Banjo Picnic Area ($5.00)
We had taken the route on Highway 89A from Sedona to Flagstaff once before, so we knew this would be a treat. Our first scenic stop was at Billy Banjo Picnic Area in Coconino National Forest. (It’s a $5.00 parking fee.)Not only is there a gorgeous mountain stream, but there are giant boulders the size of a large shed in the stream and all around the park. There is a short hiking trail at this location.
Stop #2: West Fork Hiking Trail ($11.00)
Our second stop was at West Fork Hiking Trail. The parking fee is $11.00, but the hike is reportedly one of the best. We didn’t take time to do the hike, but based on the very high reviews this hike is well worth the $11 for parking. We will definitely be back to do this hike and will report back when we do.
Stop #3: Coconino Forest Oak Creek Vista (Free)
Our third stop was at the Oak Creek Vista which is a little over half way to Flagstaff. This is a full-fledged park with clean restrooms, hiking areas, and a marvelous view of the canyon. It is also a place for mountain climbers to launch off of cliffs. This stop features a Native American marketplace, so it the right place to pick up authentic souvenirs for your trip. Best of all, this stop is free!
Photo Gallery of Oak Creek Canyon
What we missed on this tour
We finished touring Meteor Crater around 3:30 in the afternoon. Our plan had included going on to Montezuma Castle National Monument, but it was too lake to get there before it closed. So we decided to go see Walnut Canyon National Monument instead. Just as we pulled in the ranger was putting out the “Trails Closed” signs for the evening. Shoot. We looked around and could see that Walnut Canyon truly is a stunning park, with spectacular views of the canyon and ancient Indian ruins. Both of these locations will go on to the planning list for another day!
We love Arizona and have done a number of features of various sites in Arizona. See our other Arizona stories.