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Visitor’s Guide to Northern Arizona: Outdoors, Breweries and More

Gorgeous scenery, thrilling outdoor recreation, and unbelievable brews and eateries make Northern Arizona the ultimate destination for anyone who thrives off of historic heights and hoppy brews. Northern Arizona is known for its wide array of of canyons, caves, and craters that preserve the unique beauty of nature you can’t find anywhere else in the world. History is embedded in the culture and attractions the area has to offer, giving deeper meaning to your vacation. Take your adventure to new heights with these spectacular sights and tasty treats.

Hikes and History

The most well-known national park in Arizona is undoubtedly the Grand Canyon, but it isn’t the only Arizona landmark that’s grand. Northern Arizona is home to countless natural landmarks that are beyond stunning. A picture just won’t do them justice, so you’ll have to visit them for yourself.

The Walnut Canyon National Monument portrays life in the past through its preservation of pueblo houses. The monument is made up of cave dwellings and ruins which give light into the lives of the Sinagua Indians who once resided here. Walk the trails and imagine what their lives would have been like, and look out over the canyon which they called home.

While it may look like an ordinary mountain from the road, Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument is actually home to a 900 year old cinder cone – the Sunset Crater. Although the crater has been around for a long time, it’s actually one of the youngest volcanoes making up the San Francisco volcanic field. Strap on your hiking boots and hit the trails at the monument to see some truly stunning views. Your vacation stories will sound even cooler once you can add in your visit to a volcanic site!

If you want rich hues, jaw-dropping views, and a plethora of hiking trails, look no further than the Coconino National Forest. With landscapes ranging from forest to desert and tundra to volcanic, the forest is truly one of the most versatile habitats in the country. In the northern region of the forest are the San Francisco Peaks, the main show in the San Francisco volcanic field. The Coconino National Forest neighbors the Walnut Canyon National Monument and Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument – so you can squeeze all three into a trip easily, and you will absolutely want to.

Visitor's Guide to Northern Arizona: Outdoors, Breweries and More
Coconino National Forest

Adrenaline Adventure

When they aren’t out hiking the canyons, natives in Northern Arizona turn to other outlets for adventure – so take their lead at these must-see attractions.

Hit the slopes at the Arizona Snowbowl. While many travel here during the winter for their skiing and snowboarding adventures, the Snowbowl is worth a visit any time of the year. Ride the chairlift to the top of the mountain and overlook the scenery even in the warmer months.

Put your skills to the test at the Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course with an obstacle course suspended in the trees. This obstacle course is one of the top attractions in Flagstaff, and it’s no surprise why. If you’re itching for adventure – this will cure it. Swing, slide, slip, and sprint through the different courses, which can be anywhere from 15-60 feet off the ground. What better way to get active and see Flagstaff from the top than challenging your buds to complete the course?

Examination and Exploration

In addition to its selection of picturesque monuments and thrilling outdoor recreation, Flagstaff is also home to two intriguing scientific sights.

Lowell Observatory is one of the oldest astronomical observatories in the country and manages multiple telescopes throughout Flagstaff. Peer through the telescopes into the universe, and see some of the intricate matter currently being researched by astronomers. You can even glimpse into the sun using a specially formulated telescope. Just remember to slide on your sunglasses when heading back outside before gazing into the sun!

After examining outer space, delve into the hundreds of plant species which are native to Northern Arizona and the Colorado Plateau at The Arboretum at Flagstaff. Explore the gardens to see the beautiful variety of plants and learn more about each species and their origin. Walk through the pigmented wildflowers, immerse yourself in the butterfly house, and appreciate the hand sculpted artwork which adorn the Arboretum. Take in all the wonders of nature found in Northern Arizona.

Brews, Burgers, and Bites

Mother Road Brewing Company is a must for authentic, Arizona brewed beer. Inspired by the winding routes through the desert, each beer is named for different routes and road marks. The brewery is focused on serving beer to its guests while preserving the history and environment in Arizona. Unique blends of flavors and spices create the perfectly balanced beverage. Try not to get ‘lost’ in the orange-chocolate sensation of the Lost Highway Double Black IPA, one of the brewery’s top concoctions.

Mother Road – Flagstaff

Kick back and relax with an evening at Beaver Street Brewery. Hearty beers and wood-fired pizza make this a cozy, cave to unwind in. This brewery is one-of-a-kind with delectable entrees and cocktails that give the beer a run for its money. Any taste or craving can be satisfied here, and all are sure to enjoy a trip to the brewery. Beaver Street Brewery also has an adjacent billiards hall to keep the fun times rolling.

After a few brews, try out some of Northern Arizona’s infamous restaurants. Nothing beats a burger and shake – and Mama Burger is the place to get your fix. Mama Burger keeps it classic, cheap, and packed with flavor. These burgers will make your mouth water without making a dent in your wallet. For lighter fare, head to Macy’s European Coffeehouse and Bakery. Choose from delicate pastries and sandwiches to pair with a cozy cappuccino at one of Flagstaff’s favorite coffee shops. Macy’s is the only entirely vegetarian restaurant in Flagstaff, Arizona and strives to offer gluten free and vegan options on top of traditional pastries.

Your trip to Northern Arizona is sure to be nothing shy of thrilling, stunning, and meaningful. Explore these favorite attractions and many others on a visit you will never forget.


Jeremy Alderman
Jeremy is an online journalist who focuses on travel and lifestyle related trends. As a former college baseball player, he is passionate about everything sports, as well as family, travel and outdoors. ​He can often be found splurging in episodes of Game of Thrones with his new puppy, Cooper.

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