Friday, November 15, 2013

Southeastern Arizona Road Trip

        The Wild West happened in southeastern Arizona.  These are the lands where the Spanish priests and soldiers first entered; where the cowboys stood guard over their large herds of cattle; where Cochise and Geronimo fought to save their people and their way of life; and where rip-roaring mining towns sprang up in almost every canyon to bring us such names in history as Tombstone and Bisbee, the Earps and the Clantons.
    This is the land of the Gadsden Purchase and a place where a series of magnificent Sky Islands rise up from the Sonoran Desert floor to create unique and diverse landscapes and ecosystems.  

    Point of Travel – this part of Arizona is now under the watchful eyes of the U.S. Border Patrol.  Travelers through this land should expect to encounter Border Patrol checkpoints with courteous agents and their faithful drug-sniffing dogs on most major highways.  If you choose to travel the back roads of this land, we recommend traveling only with local and knowledgeable guides. 

    While looking for fall in southeastern Arizona, we suggest visiting…

    - Kartchner Caverns State Park is a living cave and is located on Az. Highway 90 just 52- miles east of Tucson.  An annual autumn treat is the reopening of the Big Room Tour on October 15, making both the Rotunda/Throne Tour and the Big Room Tour once again available to the public.  We believe that Kartchner Caverns is the #1 must see destination in Arizona.

     -  A visit to Patagonia is like traveling away from Arizona.  Located on a high mesa along AZ Highway 82, Patagonia, along with the nearby towns of Sonoita and Elgin, make up what is known as the Mountain Empire,
    Here each fall, rolling, grass covered hills with herds of grazing horses make for a landscape more reminiscent of the Great Plains than the Sonoran Desert.  This is a land of ghost town tours, daylong horseback rides, bird watching, hiking, biking, wine tasting and so much more.  The 24th Annual Patagonia Fall Festival is scheduled for Oct. 12 – 14 and is known as the best small town celebration in Arizona. -

Other nearby Patagonia attractions:  
- Ghost town tours -
- Horseback riding -
- Patagonia State Park –

      - The crown jewel for hiking/biking/horseback riding in southeastern Arizona must surely be found on the Sky Island that is home to the Chiricahua National Monument.  In this land of Dr. Seuss-like balance rocks, visitors can explore the 17 miles of hiking trails or simply enjoy an 8-mile scenic drive through this rock wonderland.  Seven species of oak trees are found within the monument and make for a colorful display when fall arrives each October. -

    -   Willcox is a great place to stay while visiting southeastern Arizona.  It is a small town but can be a base camp for visiting many nearby attractions.  Apple Annie’s, one of the great, family-friendly farms of Arizona, is just 10-miles outside of town.   Apple Annie’s will be in full autumn celebration as it is open every day during the month of October.

Other nearby Willcox attractions:
- Fort Bowie -
- Rex Allen Museum -
- Amerind Museum -

    - The many attractions in and near Tucson,, could fill more than a couple of autumn weekend get-a-ways.  Fall in lovely Sabino Canyon is even more sensational and visiting the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in the cool weather of October is equally magnificent! and .

Other nearby Tucson attractions:

- Tohono Chul Park -
- Reid Park Zoo,
- Ted DeGrazia’s Gallery of the Sun -
 - Presidio Turquoise Trail -
- Arizona State Museum -
- San Xavier del Bac -
- Colossal Cave Mountain Park -
- Saguaro National Park -
- International Wildlife Museum –

    - The top fall festival along the I-19 Corridor occurs once again at Tubac Presidio State Park, on October 19.  The annual De Anza Days commemorates the 1775 journey of Spanish Conquistador Juan Bautista de Anza’s journey from Tubac to the San Francisco Bay area.
    Just 4.5 miles further down I-19 is Tumacacori National Historic Park.  The De Anza Trail runs along the Santa Cruz River connecting the Mission of Tumacacori with the Tubac Presidio.  The cottonwood trees in this riparian environment will be in full autumn colors in mid-October for anyone who wishes to walk in the footsteps of the early Spanish soldiers, explorers and priests. 

Other nearby I-19 Corridor attractions:
- Titan Missile Museum -

    - Tombstone and Bisbee are mining towns that refused to die when the 1880 – 1930 mining boom of this region ended.  The 84th annual Helldorado Days of Tombstone occurs October 18 -20.  The 132nd anniversary of the Gunfight at the OK Corral occurs on October 26. Both events will be decorated with the natural autumn leaves of the season.

    Nestled in a canyon of the Mule Mountains is lovely Bisbee, once known as the “Queen of the Copper Camps.” There is never a bad time to visit Bisbee, but the cool nights and autumn splendor of the Bisbee canyon make October the perfect time to spend a night or two at the Copper Queen Hotel or the Shady Dell.  On October 19th the 23rd Annual Bisbee 1000 Great Stair Climb will kick off once again as the most unique and challenging 5K run in America. and

    So it is pretty easy to find a reason to get out and spend some time each fall in southeastern Arizona.  Men and women from around the world made a lot of history by gathering in this corner of Arizona and the amazing stories of their lives await your autumn visit.

Pictures 5, 6 and 7 were taken by Susan Moody of the Chiricahua National Monument.

Patagonia, Arizona

Patagonia Fall Festival

Ruins of Fort Bowie

Mural at Presidio of Tucson

Sabino Canyon

Tohono Chul Park, Tucson

Chapel of the Virgin of Guadalupe, Gallery of the Sun

Arizona State Museum, University of Arizona

Into Colossal Cave

Tumacacori National Historic Park

Allen Street of Tombstone, Arizona

Shady Dell of Bisbee

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Northwestern Arizona Road Trip

    There are 3,928 mountain peaks and summits in Arizona and many of them are found around Flagstaff and west toward the Colorado River.  This is the part of Arizona where elevation varies from the highest mountain, Humphreys Peak in Flagstaff, to the low, dry desert lands along the Colorado River.  Autumn colors are certainly found in this part of Arizona and so too are some great destinations for a road trip.

    We recommend you be sure to see…

    - Harts Prairie Preserve.  Located on the north side of Humphreys Peak, this is the place where desert dwellers can rediscover the amazing colors of autumn.  Owned and operated by the Nature Conservancy, special Sunday tours are available through September 29!  For details about these tours call 928-774-8892 ext. 5.
    - The Snowbowl also offers the Scenic Chairlift ride to the “Top of Arizona” through mid-October.  The Scenic Chairlift is open Fridays – Sundays and holiday Mondays from 10 am to 4 pm.  Here’s more information -
    - The “Round the Peaks Drive” is a 43-mile trip over well-maintained gravel roads that circles the base of the San Francisco Mountains.  This link will give you all the details you need about this beautiful journey -
- Finally, if you looking for a four-legged critter to help you find autumn in the Coconino National Forest that surrounds Flagstaff, we highly recommend the great wranglers at the Hitchin’ Post Stable along Lake Mary Road -

Other nearby Flagstaff attractions:
- Museum of Northern Arizona:
-The Arboretum at Flagstaff –
-Walnut Canyon National Monument –
-Sunset Crater National Monument –
-Wupatki National Monument –
-Desert View Watchtower –

    - On your way west down I-40, take the time and stop at the Grand Canyon Deer Farm.  This animal sanctuary has been open for over 40-years and will be a delightful stop for anyone who loves to get real close to many friendly, hoofed animals -

    - Williams, Arizona is a fine place to go looking for the foliage of autumn.  Bill Williams Mountain is the western most Arizona mountain peak about 9000 feet.  A dirt road and a pair of good hiking trails lead through the aspen trees to the summit -
    - Mountain Ranch Stables is a great place to find that wilderness trail ride while in Williams.  Their well-mannered trail horses will take you into the fall beauty of the Kaibab National Forest.  Everyone gets a kick out of meeting the ranch’s “Smilin’ horse”! 
    - Riding the trains of the Grand Canyon Railway from Williams to the South Rim is always a memorable experience but even more so with the colors of autumn decorating the forest.
    - And now that Bearizona has opened on the eastern edge of Williams, this small mountain town with crisp, clear air makes for a great fall get-a-way -

Other nearby Williams attractions:
- Seligman Delgadillo’s Snow Cap Drive-In
-Follow the path of Route 66 Fun Run from Seligman to Oatman –
- Visit Grand Canyon Caverns –
-Hike to the Village of Supai –

    - Kingman, Arizona was established as a railroad town way back in 1882.  Hollywood cowboy legend Andy Devine grew up here and Route 66 becomes Andy Devin Blvd as it passes through town. Most folks just pass through Kingman on their way to Las Vegas.  But the Route 66 Museum, the Army Airfield Museum and the Mohave Museum of History and Arts are all worth discovering.
    Kingman brags that it is the “Heart of Historic Route 66” and it just might have the rights to that claim.  At an elevation of 3,300 feet, the climate is almost perfect during the fall of the year.
    - Skywalk is just 70 miles from Kingman.  And even though everyone seems to be fighting about the road leading there, it is an amazing rush to “Walk on the Sky” some 4000 feet above the floor of the Grand Canyon -
    - The “Living Ghost Town” of Chloride, Arizona is only 23 miles from Kingman and it has some of the strangest artwork found in Arizona just 1.5 miles east of town.  Known as the Chloride Murals, these granite boulders were painted by artist Roy Purcell in 1966.  You will need a high clearance vehicle to drive to the site and a 4-wheel drive chariot is even better -

 Other nearby Kingman attractions:
 - Route 66 Museum -
- Army Airfield Museum -
- Mohave Museum of History and Arts -
-Oatman, Arizona

    - Northwestern Arizona is also the northern gateway to Arizona’s Colorado River cities.  Traveling south down Az Highway 95 you can enjoy the river cities of Bullhead City, Lake Havasu City and Parker.  All offer opportunities to boat on the river and to check out the incredible bird migration that happens each autumn along the flyway.  And if you stay on Highway 95 long enough, you will pass that ol’ Bouse Fisherman again and arrive back with Hi Jolly in ol’ Quartzsite.
    Northwestern Arizona has much to offer and many treasures to see.  It contains the highest mountains in Arizona and the lowest lands along the once mighty Colorado River.  So, this time of year is perfect to get out and discover all this part of Arizona has to offer!

Beautiful Harts Prairie

Harts Prairie

Snow Bowl

On Top of Arizona!

Williams, Arizona

Bearizona, Williams, Arizona

Snow Cap, Seligman, Arizona

Grand Canyon Caverns

Williams, Arizona

Sky Walk

Downtown Chloride, Arizona

Chloride Murals

London Bridge, Lake Havasu City

Hitchin' Post Stables, Flagstaff