Monday, November 4, 2013

Northeastern Arizona Road Trip

We wrote a series of stories dealing with our favorite destinations for a Autumn Road Trip.  These places are beautiful in fall colors but are also some of our favorite places to visit anytime of year.  Here is the first story dealing with Northeastern Arizona.  Hope you enjoy it!

     A fall road trip into northeastern Arizona can vary from cruising along the Mogollon Rim highways from Payson to Greer among the pine covered White Mountains to driving beside the cottonwood lined riparian streams that are so common in the high desert areas of both the Hopi and Navajo Reservations.   Because of the shorter days and cool night temperatures, fall can come early in this part of Arizona, so late September/early October are good times to visit.
    Here are some of our favorite places to visit fall in northeastern Arizona…

    -The Hopi Reservation is always special but especially so when the fall season has come upon the land.  Freshly harvested blue and multi-colored corns can be purchased and the colorful cottonwood trees are a spectacular contrast from the red earth landscape.  You can travel across the entire Hopi Reservation along AZ Highway 264 from Moenkopi to Keams Canyon.  The distance is 84 miles and will take about 1 ½ hour of driving.
     Along the way you will pass the historic villages of Old Oraibi, Shongopovi, Second Mesa and Walpi.  If the villages are open, stop and explore a different way of live so cherished here.  The Hopi Cultural Center is found at Second Mesa.  Guided tours of Walpi, , located on First Mesa, are available and we highly, highly recommend taking this tour.
      Remember, no photographs are permitted to be taken while on the Hopi Reservation.  Please be kind and respect the Hopi Tribe’s wishes.
    Lodging can be found at the recently opened Moenkopi Legacy Inn  & Suites,, in Moenkopi.  Our favorite way to visit Hopi is to stay at La Posada,, in Winslow and then drive the 1-½ hours up AZ Highway 87 to Second Mesa.  

Other nearby Hopi attractions:
-Navajo Interactive Museum -

    - Canyon de Chelley National Monument is always spectacular but even more so when decorated in the colors of autumn.  Canyon de Chelley is located on the Navajo Reservation, just to the east of Chinle.  Most folks experience the multiple canyons found here by way of the many jeep/truck tours offered.  Most tours vary from 4 – 8 hours in length. 
      If you do not wish to enter the national monument, two paved highways follow the canyons’ rims to the north and to the south with many overlooks that allow visitors to gaze down into the breathtaking views below.  These drives are free and allow for visitors to set their own pace. 
      Another way to visit Canyon de Chelley is by horseback.  Here is a link to one of several stables that offer memorable rides into this Arizona geological wonderland -
    Lodging for Canyon de Chelley can be found at the historic Thunderbird Lodge or at the Holiday Inn in Chinle.

Other nearby Canyon de Chelley attractions:
- Hubble Trading Center Historic Site:

    - A short 13 miles east from Winslow is the Rock Art Ranch, the site of one of the greatest collection of Anasazi petroglyphs in the American Southwest.  Visitors can descend into the autumn colors of Chevelon Canyon and walk among the hundreds of glyphs found on the canyon walls.  Reservations are needed to visit the ranch and are made by calling 928-288-3260.  Tours of the Rock Art Ranch close for the winter on November 1.  

    - This too is the part of Arizona where the Petrified Forest National Park is found.  Located just east of Holbrook off I-40, the 27-mile scenic drive through the primordial time on display in the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest is even more enjoyable to visit with the cooler fall temperatures -

Other nearby Petrified Forest National Park attractions:
- Wigwam Village Motel #6, Holbrook -
-Navajo County Historic Courthouse Museum, Holbrook -

    - For some of the largest groves of quaking aspen bedecked in their fall splendor found anywhere in Arizona, make the drive on Az Route 260 between Pinetop/Lakeside and Greer.  Here in elevations that reach 8,000 feet, the grandeur of autumn colors are on full display. 
    Tourists travel for hundreds of miles to see the red, gold, yellow and orange hues of the aspen forests that take over the mountaintops of this region. You can always get a fall color update by calling the USDA Forest Service hotline – 1-800-354-4595 or visit .
     - Stop too by the Sunrise Park Resort,, and ride the ski lifts for a special view of the fall colors in the White Mountain.  A short drive from the resort is Big Lake and Crescent Lake where you can fish while surround by the many tints and shades of color found in the national forest.  And an autumn lunch on the patio of Molly Butler Lodge while overlooking the Greer Meadow is just downright delightful!
     At these high elevations, the temperatures turn downright cold early in the fall season, so be prepared for quickly changing weather conditions.  

Other nearby Greer area attractions -
- X-Diamond Ranch -
-Sipe White Mountain Wildlife Area -

    Northeastern Arizona is always a great place to spend time and especially during the months of September and October.  If you get out and discover this season, you will have experienced some of the most beautiful and historic places in all of Arizona.   

Moenkopi Legacy Inn

Hopi Cort

Hopi Pottery

Spider Rock - Canyon de Chelley

Canyon de Chelley

Canyon de Chelley

Canyon de Chelley

Canyon de Chelley

Rock Art Ranch

Chevelon Canyon

Painted Desert

Petrified Forest

Fall Aspens

Fall Aspens

Sunrise Ski Area

Old Growth Aspen

Big Lake

Big Lake

Molly Butlers

Greer Meadow


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