Photos courtesy of Discover Flagstaff
Tucked in the vast expanses of the world’s largest contiguous Ponderosa Pine forest, Flagstaff unveils its newest charm – the Flagstaff Trails Passport. It’s not merely a guide but an invitation to traverse lesser-trodden paths, diving deep into the fabric of a city that fuses nature, culture, and luxury.
The Flagstaff Trails Passport operates with a simple yet engaging premise: check-in at the curated list of local trails, and based on the level of difficulty, earn points. The more you explore, the more rewards you gather. These range from commemorative stickers for just a single trail point, to wooden postcards for 5 points, and even a heartwarming opportunity to give back with a donation made in your name at 10 points to the FTI (Flagstaff Trails Initiative). Passionate hikers hitting the 15-point mark can snag a stylish fanny pack for future adventures.
Each trail in the passport beckons with a unique allure. One-point trails, like the Arizona Trail through Picture Canyon or the Campbell Mesa trail system, offer gentle strolls for those seeking serenity. Meanwhile, the Kachina Trail and the Little Elden Spring Trail, falling under the two-point category, up the ante a bit. And for the thrill-seekers, the three-point rank awaits with challenges like the rigorous O’Leary Peak Trail and the lofty Kendrick Mountain Trail.
As trails lead to discoveries, Flagstaff’s hotel scene unfolds like a trove of stories waiting to be experienced.
Little America Hotel Flagstaff emerges as a blend of elegance and wilderness. Located amidst 500 acres of pristine Ponderosa Pine Forest, this AAA Four Diamond-rated hotel exudes luxury at every corner. The meticulous attention to detail is evident, from the sprawling rooms to the breathtaking views of the San Francisco Peaks. But it’s not all about the outdoors. The Silver Pine restaurant offers culinary delights, a perfect end to a day spent at nearby attractions like Meteor Crater.
Meanwhile, the High Country Motor Lodge resonates with younger travelers. Set just off Route 66, this boutique-style, pet-friendly hotel merges vintage aesthetics with modern vibes. Its proximity to Riordon Mansion and Northern Arizona University adds to its charm. But it’s the evening entertainment, tailored for Millennials and Gen Zs, that truly sets it apart, offering a fresh twist on Flagstaff hospitality.
Not too far off, the Weatherford Hotel stands as a testament to Flagstaff’s rich history. Dating back to 1897, this quirky-chic establishment retains its historic charm while catering to modern sensibilities. It’s a slice of history, positioned a heartbeat away from Route 66, allowing guests to relive the tales of old while reveling in contemporary comforts.
Outside the walls of these establishments, Flagstaff unfolds its myriad offerings. From exhilarating mountain biking trails, checking out the stars at the Lowell Observatory, leaf peeping in autumn’s hues, to visiting The Museum of Northern Arizona (established as a repository for Indigenous material and natural history specimens), to miles of Route 66 that echo with the mountain city’s vibrant culture, there’s something for everyone.
Of course, traversing trails and exploring Flagstaff’s gems can ignite a hunger only the city can satiate. James Beard nominees include Proper Meats + Provisions, Atria Restaurant, and Shift Kitchen + Bar, and are ready to tantalize the taste buds.
In Flagstaff, trails don’t just lead to nature’s wonders, but to boutique retreats, gastronomic adventures, and historic tales. So, grab your passport, let Flagstaff guide your steps and heartbeats, and dive deep into the city’s many tales. They’re all waiting to be written in your travel chronicles.
It’s a good idea to visit the experts at the Visitor Center, 1 E. Route 66, upon your Flagstaff arrival, as they can assist with recommendations and itinerary things to do.
To learn more about Flagstaff, visit discoverflagstaff.com.