Explore a storied landscape with new discoveries at every turn
Arizona is a wonderland of majestic landscapes that stir the soul. From its Painted Desert and the mesas of Monument Valley to its ponderosa pine forests and snow-capped peaks, not to mention the Grand Canyon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World, there’s a mind-blowing bounty of natural beauty and adventure to be had throughout this southwestern playground.
Twenty-two National Parks and Monuments grace this sprawling state, along with Wild West culture, 22 American Indian tribes, and timeless towns where you’ll find friendly folk dedicated to preserving their cultural heritage and pursuing the arts. It’s the kind of magical place where you can tee off on an emerald fairway in the morning and carve some turns on the slopes in the afternoon. You can relax at a world-class spa, visit ancient cliff dwellings by Jeep, raft through the red rock canyons along the Colorado River, or cruise Historic Route 66.
So if you’re looking to recharge on a winter escape or rev it up on an adventure, come experience Arizona’s exhilarating open-air lifestyle, maverick spirit, and unending beauty.
National Park Alert
Grand Canyon National Park
The South Rim lies 60 miles from the City of Williams, and the chance to ride a historic train to this scenic wonder should not be missed. Representing two billion years of geology, the Grand Canyon inspires jaw-dropping awe and reverence to Mother Nature.
City of Williams - Gateway to the Grand Canyon
This charming mountainside town edging a ponderosa pine forest offers visitors a walk back in time with its Old West vibe, historic railway, and the best-preserved section of Route 66 in the country. Soda fountain shops, quirky hotels, classic cars, and cowboys color this iconic highway, which travels right through town.
Honoring its 90th anniversary, the City of Williams is holding a Cruise the Loop Celebration on November 12th for enthusiasts who want to motor along the famous route, hit a ’50s-style drive-up for burgers and shakes, and honor history. Over the holidays, the City of Williams lights up in style, kicking off with a Christmas Light Parade along Route 66 and tree-lighting ceremony with Santa on November 26.
While Williams is known for its Grand Canyon Railroad (circa 1901) that takes visitors to the national treasure in style, during the holidays it’s transformed into the Polar Express, a steam train adventure that takes pajama-clad children on a moonlit ride to the North Pole for a visit with Santa and his elves.
National Park Alert
Witness the cliff dwellings of early native cultures at Walnut Canyon National Monument and the 800-year-old rock-walled pueblos of the Anasazi tribes at Wupatki National Monument. To learn more about the native cultures, visit the renowned Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff.
Flagstaff - A High Country Winter Wonderland
While most people associate Arizona with desert heat and endless sunshine, Flagstaff, set at 7,000 feet, is officially the state’s winter wonderland, offering alpine beauty, top-notch snow sports, and small-town mountain charm. With more than 100 inches of snow blanketing the forests and slopes annually, it’s a haven for skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, and snowbiking.
New this year at Arizona Snowbowl is the state’s first high-speed, six-person lift, aptly named the Grand Canyon Express since you can see the natural wonder while riding it. As Flagstaff is an “International Dark Sky City,” with very little light pollution, stargazing is the perfect après-ski activity. There’s also ice skating, sleigh rides, festivals, and holiday fetes.
A cultural and educational hub, Flagstaff also boasts exciting eateries and watering holes. For food, you’ll find everything from a steakhouse with servers singing show tunes and a sushi restaurant to an Irish gastropub and Mexican cantina with authentic eats. Craft beer fans should follow the Ale Trail or try the Alpine Pedaler multi-seated bike for a group pub crawl.
National Heritage Area
Yuma has a rich history, as the first Europeans arrived in 1540 to survey the area as a natural point to cross the once-untamed Colorado River. Today, the revitalized land near Historic Downtown Yuma is made up of two State Historic Parks, riverfront trails and beaches, 350 acres of restored wetlands, and an interpretive plaza that tells the many stories of the Yuma Crossing.
Yuma - At the River’s Edge
An easy 170-mile drive from San Diego, Yuma offers nearby desert fun, especially as the late fall/early winter temperatures cool down. Caballeros de Yuma hosts the annual Colorado River Crossing Balloon Festival, welcoming dozens of balloonists to soar over the river and the spectators below to enjoy the awesome sky visuals (November 11–13).
ATV enthusiasts can rev up the adrenaline at the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area, once a filming location for Return of the Jedi. Racing fans can check out the winged sprint cars at the Cocopah Speedway, where racing resumes at the dirt oval in mid-November.
For those who want to visit a real-life ghost town, Castle Domes Mine Museum, just northeast of Yuma, is an 1800s mining town complete with buildings, artifacts, and Old West tales that invite visitors to travel back in time.
In Historic Downtown Yuma you will find Yuma’s Main Squeeze, the only local winery, the Yuma Art Center and Historic Yuma Theatre, boutique shops, restaurants, and the Prison Hill Brewing Company. Craft beer aficionados should attend the Rio de Cerveza Brew Fest (November 19) at Desert Sun Stadium—a suds-infused evening of beer sampling, live music, good eats, and lawn games.
Grand Canyon Resort - Adventures Abound
For a truly unique experience, head to Grand Canyon Resort, where the Hualapai Tribe owns a lovely lodge on Route 66 and a stunning ranch with horses and overnight cabins, offering accommodations and adventures for every age and whim.
Whether you want to horseback ride along the canyon rim, river raft the Colorado, take in the canyon scenery on a helicopter, enjoy a guided bus tour narrated by a Hualapai tribal ambassador, kick back on a wagon ride, or spend the night at a Wild West ranch eating s’mores by the campfire while cowboys tell their tales, it’s all right here.
In 2007, the tribe built the world-famous Grand Canyon Skywalk, a horseshoe-shaped glass bridge 4,000 feet above the river that affords travelers unrivaled views and a walk beyond the canyon walls. Guests can also hike out to historic Guano Point and enjoy lunch at the edge of the epic wonder while drinking in panoramic views of the Grand Canyon.
One- or two-day rafting trips run from March to October. Lifetime memories await at Grand Canyon Resort, an easy two-hour trip from Las Vegas.
Come see for yourself why more than a million people each year visit Grand Canyon West.