The fossilized jungle park, as it seems today, is nothing more than a barren and barren land; however, this rugged land is a living scientific laboratory that reveals that millions of years ago this land flourished with large river systems, prehistoric forests, flora and fauna.
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They are two entrances to the park. The Painted Desert Visitor Center is located at the northern entrance, the Rainbow Forest Museum and the gift shop at the southern entrance. It is located between a 28-mile-long paved landscape highway filled with hills and winding curves, which displays one of the largest fossilized wood deposits in the world.
Along the highway are pullovers and short drives to areas with scenic walking paths that allow one to get a close-up view. To take a different look at the painted desert, one should drive north from Winslow on Interstate 87 for 14 miles to a view of the desert. The difference in colors is stunning past and well worth a visit.
What can we say about the Grand Canyon? We learned about the valley at school, watched it on National Geography, and watched films produced in and around the valley, and read books about it; however, none of these things came close to actually standing on the edge overlooking the valley. Which part of the edge stands on one of them, and the valley has miles miles away from the edges to stand on it, giving each place a different person to see?
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The best way to see the valley along the southern entrance road is the walking route on the southern rim, which runs from the Hermit Pier to the south of Kaipap and covers only less than thirteen miles, most of which is paved with only slight slopes and provides excellent views of the valley. For someone who wants to venture into the valley, there are four paths to choose from. Hermit Lounge, Kolb Studio, South Kebab and Grandview Trail. All four categories are categorized as extremely difficult, as the Grandview Trail is recommended for experienced desert parks only.
When you leave the Desert Drive Visitor and Travel Center (Interstate 64) for the next 22 miles, one will follow the edge of the valley with withdrawals to view the valley views and four different side roads with observation points. Between Moran Point and Lipan point, be sure to hunt the Tusayan Museum and Ruins on the right side of the road.
Located in Clarkdale, Tuzigoot National Monument is a remnant of the South Sinagua village. The ruin is set on top of a long ridge rising 120 feet above the Green Valley. Two paved walking trails are here to enjoy one. The ring path takes one quarter of a mile to the top of the summit where the monuments are located, while the other path is half a mile in one direction and takes one along the top of the chain overlooking the valley.
The Castle of Montezuma and Montezuma is located near Camp Verde and 11 miles is part of the people of Sinagua that was raised in the Verde Valley. The visitor center for both sites is located on Castle and has a gift shop and a museum with information on both sites. The site of the castle has a quarter-mile passage through the beautiful Sycamore grove along the spring feeding schedule. Along the way, one will see the ruins of a cliff house and a five-story castle dug deep into the wall of the slope 100 feet above the valley floor. The site of the well contains a quarter-mile paved ring that takes one to the edge of the well, where 1.6 million gallons of water flow through two openings at the bottom each day. On one side of the ledge sits the abyss residences of the great Pueblo ruins. The shaded forest along the corridor near the rubble of salt is a continuous discharge of 74 degrees of water traversing 150 feet of limestone from the well.
Interstate 545 is located off Interstate 89, 35 miles away by a scenic drive, one of which leads through the Sunset Crater National Park at the southern end and Wobatake National Park at the north end. During this journey, one travels through the hills in the Coconino National Forest to the arid open valleys.
The Crater Rock National Park retains two ponds and with 6.5-mile walking trails, one can see remnants of what happened hundreds of years ago when these volcanoes exploded. The A’s trail extends to the right, where rough lumps of basaltic lava are formed. Lenox Crater rises 200 feet across the forest to the crater, where one can see views of the O Leary Peak and San Francisco peaks. The Bonito Pass leads to a view of a river where a river of lava rock is trapped between two pools. The Lava Flow ring travels around the base of the Sunset Crater where unusual forms and lava forms can be seen and a scattered cone view, along the trail, where one can see where new plants appear each year.
The Wukoki National Monument displays six historic pueblos that can be seen by 2.4 miles of hiking trails. The 800-year-old Wukoki ruins are one of the most impressive and visible from the miles and seem to look like an ancient castle sweeping through the sky. Wupatki Hotel Pueblo is located directly behind the Visitor Center, the largest garden with 100 rooms. The half-mile ring takes one of the main configurations with a ball pitch outside and into the nostril, which is a great geological feature. Pueblo Castle was built on top of Mesa and covers every inch of available space. From the top of Mesa, one can see across the valley for several miles to the mountain ranges. The Lomaki trail will drive one between the ruins of the square valley and end at the Lomaki ruins. These ruins overlook a pair of small canyons.
Walnut Canyon National Park has two walking trails that give one an opportunity to look back at how these people adapted to the land. The one-mile to 185-foot Island Trail descends into the 400-foot-deep valley, wrapping a loop path around an island in the middle of the valley. Along the annular corridor, one can experience 25 room cliff cliffs carved in a sandstone trick, with views of other dwellings spread along the cliff walls across the valley. The 7-mile canyon tour route runs through the Juniper and Pignon mixed forests where two of the canyon offer stunning views of the valley below and cliff dwellings. Set back from the partially restored pit house edge and Pueblo.
Located on Highway 89A, Oak Oak Canyon Scenic Byway is 28 miles from the road from South Flagstaff to Sedona. The early stretch of the highway from Flagstaff stretches through the hills through the Ponderosa Pine Forest where elk herds cross the highway frequently. The 14-mile route from Mogul Reem runs across the Oak Creek valley to Sedona, with its 4,500-foot height change, a stunning stretch of beauty that Rand McNally has rated as one of America’s top 5 stunning engines.
At the top of the summit is a view of Oak Creek Vista, which allows one to see parts of the winding road along the cliff walls, as well as the beauty of the canon with towering slopes on both sides. At first one will sneak down the valley around the curved connections and hairpin curves that embrace the valley walls, with perfect colors of yellow and gold.
As one descends, the steep winding road turns into a gentle retreat along the Oak Creek valley that opens to the foliage of oak trees interspersed with evergreen pine trees. Thanks to the clear Oak Oak that flows throughout the year, it allows lush greenery throughout the spring and summer. Throughout the valley bottom, the creek and highway run parallel to each other where the creek is at the same level down a hundred feet.
A few miles from the valley, one notices that the walls of the slope change from yellow and gold to rocks and cliffs with a red face, where the slopes embrace the road from one side and the forest on the other. Throughout the valley, one will see the show moving from very narrow to hundreds of feet as the valley floor is littered down the highway with cottages, housing and small camps.
Red Rock Scenic loop is 10 miles south of Sedona. However, it can be a waste of time. Upon entering from the bottom, you will see the valley on one side and the hills of Ponderosa Pines on the other side. After about three miles orbiting a curve, the red-faced slopes appear. For the next seven miles, one travels through a hairpin and a roundabout highway across a cliff side with stunning views of Cathedral Rock, Courthouse Butte and Bell Rock. If time permits, stop at the Crescent Moon picnic area in the clear Oak Creek and Red Rock State Park.
Oatman is a small town off the beaten path, but well worth the time and effort to see. Upon entering Oatman from the east, take historic road 66 off I-40 just west of Kingman. During the first twelve miles, the road passes through a flat barren land with several old houses along the way. The road itself is fairly beautiful with all the small borders in it, like a roller coaster for young children. At Cool Spring Station, the historic building, now a museum and gift shop with old mobile gas pumps in the foreground, deserves to spend a few minutes at. At this point, the road begins to climb through the Black Mountains along one of America’s dangerous roads.
Over the next 10 miles, the narrow two-lane highway will fit along steep curved walls and back crushers with a very limited number of protection bars to protect one from driving on the road and falling into the ramp. Unfortunately, if one looks close enough, there are cars sitting on the walls of the slope that retreated. At an altitude of 3,550 feet passing through the Sitgreaves Pass, the road begins to reach Oatman, a former mining town, now a living ghost town, with a height of 2,710 feet.
When you go to town, one will see why so many people come here, take away modern cars parked on the fronts of shops, and you will feel like they are back 100 years later. Most storefronts in the early 19th century show access to wooden walking routes on both sides of the streets, just like the old Western days. Historic buildings along the main street, once home to beauty salons, banks and hotels, are now museums, gift shops and restaurants. Since the main street is the only street in town, visitors and wild donkeys roam freely along the highway, slowing cars passing through the crawl. As the afternoon approaches, be prepared to watch the re-enactment of a bank robbery ending in an armed battle between two costumed fighters, Billy The Kid was not suitable for these senders.
The historic Jerome Historical Park has been a magnificent site since 1916 when James Douglas built the house on a hill above the Little Daisy Mine. The house is now a museum dedicated to the city of Jerome and the Douglas family. The museum displays minerals, mining equipment, and artifacts from the copper mining boom throughout Jerome. To get here, one travels down the historic 89A road on a cliff side along a steep winding road to the city of Jerome founded in 1876, with stunning views of the Verdi Valley. At the height of Jerome 15,000 people live here, now just over 400 people reside in this historic city. Today art galleries and small wineries are spread in the downtown area.
Red Rock State Park, just south of Sedona along the scenic Red Rock Ring, is a 286-acre nature reserve with stunning views of red rock formations. The five-mile family-oriented hiking trail is a network of rings intertwined with the red rock vistas or lush greenery of Oak Creek, though the Eagle’s Nest ring is the highest with a height of 300 feet. Wildlife in the gardens consists of mule, deer, gambling, bobcat and many bird species.