The open stretch of high desert between Flagstaff and Winslow may seem like the most uneventful place on earth, but 50,000 years ago, it was the site of an event of cosmic proportions. That's when a meteorite weighing around 300,000 tons ripped through Earth's atmosphere in a fiery streak and slammed into the Coconino plateau at about 15 kilometers per second, where it made, shall we say, a lasting impression.
Learn about day trips and adventures from Sedona to off-the-beaten-path places and attractions across Northern Arizona.
There are scores of geological wonders, historic sites, and archaeological treasures found all across Northern Arizona. Some of the most visited sites include restored ancient habitations like the cliff dwellings of Montezuma Castle and the multistory Tuzigoot National Monument. Tuzigoot is an ancient Sinagua (Native American) site perched high above the Verde River. Visitors can walk through a network of rooms and experience what it must have been like centuries ago.
From the main ancient pueblo at Wupatki National Monument, you have a sweeping view East, all the way to the Painted Desert. From the Lomaki pueblo, you see the San Fransicso Peaks looming majestically on the horizon. But from any vantage in the 35,000-acre park, you're afforded more than a glimpse into the ancient past of the Colorado Plateau, right down to a fateful geologic event that changed the landscape and the lives of its people forever.
Take it easy in Winslow, Arizona, at the Standing On The Corner Park. Made up of a mural, bronze statue, and concrete corner alongside Route 66, the park is one of those quirky, quaint, and sometimes just outrageous, roadside attractions to be found throughout northern Arizona.
Quite possibly one of the most photographed spots on earth, Monument Valley is a striking testament to the impermanent nature of even the planet's most massive forms.
The isolated mesas and buttes that dramatically jut from the red desert floor are the last little stubs, relatively speaking, of the layers upon layer of rock that used to fill in all the space in between. It took hundreds of millions of years to lay down all those layers, and then 50 million or so to wear all but the remaining formations away to relatively nothing.