Arizona National Parks and Monuments – My top-10 favorites including a video
Looking to visit Arizona National Parks and Monuments? This is the post and video for you as I highlight my top-10 favorites.
Many of the National treasures in Arizona showcase both native cultures as well as indigenous cacti. Over the years I have road tripped nearly ever part of Arizona and have been to all of the National Parks, and most of the Monuments, so I thought it would be fun I share with you my ten favorite Arizona National Parks and Monuments, which are brought to you by Allianz Travel.
Canyon de Chelly National Monument
First up is one of the most under-rated Arizona National Monuments, Canyon de Chelly, where wind, water and time have etched a masterpiece. This is a place that stole the heart of famed photographer Ansel Adams. Located in northeastern Arizona, this monument is situated on Navajo land with free admission to access the rim sights. However, If you want to go down inside the canyon, to get a close up view of the cliff dwellings and other artifacts, you need a Navajo Guide. Canyon De Chelly is an astonishing area with colorful cliffs, rich soil, flora and fauna. It’s a place that should be on everyone’s bucket list when visiting the Arizona National Parks and Monuments.
Glen Canyon National Recreation area
Glen Canyon National Recreation area is home to some of Arizona’s most recognizable sights the world over, from Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Lake Powell, Vermilion cliffs, Lee’s Ferry to The Glen Canyon Dam. This is an incredibly scenic part of the state with so many activities to choose from, such as kayaking, boating, camping, hiking to off-roading and more.
Organ Pipe National Monument near Ajo in southern Arizona
This Arizona National Monument is a place abundant with organ pipe cacti, the only place in the United States where it grows naturally. Unlike many other national monuments, you can continue your drive right through the park. The Ajo Mountain Drive is the most popular scenic driving route, however it’s worth mentioning that the road is gravel and you may not want to take your RV on this stretch.
Saguaro National Park
Saguaro is another place dedicated to a unique cacti that only grows in the Sonoran Desert. The Saguaro also has another distinction, it’s the larges cacti in the country and a iconic symbol of the Southwest.
Chiricahua National Monument
No Southern Arizona road trip would be complete without a visit to the Chiricahua Mountains. This is a place where you’ll find some fascinating rock formations. These thin spires (called hoodoos) support larger rocks that appear to be balancing on top. One of the best ways to navigate through this odd landscape is to drive the paved Bonita Canyon Scenic Drive which gradually winds its way through a pine forest to Massai Point. At this overlook you have 360° views.
Montezuma Castle National Monument
Montezuma Castle is one of Arizona’s most cherished historical treasures—it’s a cliff dwelling that will captivate you with is age old design that has stood the test of time.
Tumacacori National Historical Park
Tumacacori is a historical park where three early Spanish colonial mission ruins have been preserved. The oldest and best-preserved of the three is San Jose de Tumacacori, which was built on the site of this Pima Indian village back in the 1750s.
Tuzigoot National Monument
Located between Sedona and Jerome, lies a small national monument known as Tuzigoot, which is one of several sites south of Flagstaff where the 12th century Sinagua Indian dwellings are preserved. Unlike the Montezuma Castle twenty miles to the southeast, Tuzigoot comprises a cluster of buildings on top of a small sandstone ridge near the Verde River.
Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument
Visiting Sunset Crater is an unearthly experience. This is an extinct volcano where a large expanse of lava and ash are peppered by vegetation, showcased against the deep black color of the landscape. Many visitors also stop at the nearby Wupatki National Monument. The scenic loop leads from a high Ponderosa Pine forest, down nearly 2,000 feet in elevation to the red rocks and painted desert vistas of Wupatki.
Grand Canyon is the grand daddy of the Arizona National Parks
Of course, the grand daddy of all the national parks and monuments in Arizona is the Grand Canyon.
Well that’s it from the Grand Canyon State and my top 10 favorite Arizona National Parks and Monuments. If you have any questions about visiting any of the Arizona National Parks and Monuments, please leave a comment below.