Arizona Travel Guide

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Tucson This town in Arizona can be found right in the middle of the American Southwest, surrounded by deserts, canyons, cliffs and saguaro cacti. There is also a huge mixture of birdlife. It has served as a Spanish and Mexican outpost and the lawlessness of the trigger-happy Wild West. Through all of this it has managed to maintain a legacy of vibrant Hispanic and traditional Indian cultures. It is a city which is definitely worth a visit should the traveller be in the area.

Flagstaff The town was founded in 1881 and the railroad roared in, in 1882. Other than the railroad, of which Flagstaff is the biggest town between the Albuquerque and the Pacific Coast, the town is also known for its timber, sheep and cattle. The town is also one of the highest cities in the U.S. and has a definite four-season climate. The city boasts a host of cultural and outdoor activities and urban trails, such as hiking in the Mount Humphreys, Elden and the Kendrick Peak. There is also fishing in the lakes of White Horse, Ashurst and Mary and has possibly the best mountain biking trail systems in the world. It also has a very good and vibrant downtown nightlife.

Tombstone The town is located between the Dragoon and Huachuca Mountains and is 4,540 feet in elevation. Before its notoriety as a Wild West town, Tombstone started out as a silver mine strike. It later became known for its saloons, gambling houses and of course the famous shoot-out at the OK Corral between Earp and Clanton. The pride of the city is its Old West heritage of original historic buildings. The Courthouse which was built in 1882 is now a state park. There are other attractions such as the Rose Tree Inn it has the largest rose tree in the world Boot Hill Graveyards, the Crystal Palace Saloon and the OK Corral. In October for three days the lusty, early days are re-enacted. There are also staged shoot-outs in the OK Corral and Allen Street as depicted in the old days.

Energy Vortexes There are several naturally occuring energy vortexes, which could be described as subtle, spiraling currents that emanate from the earth that are special to Sedona. Purported to increase spiritual growth and personal enlightenment, these spots are incredibly popular. People come from all over the world to experience these natural wonders.

Grand Canyon National Park - Enjoy the beauty and wonder of the Grand Canyon firsthand by hiking though many of the trails, rafting down the Colorado River or exploring one of the many roads that makes its way through the canyon. The Grand Canyon is heavily visited and those that wish to hike, camp or go on mule trip reservations are suggested. Those that are planning on just a day visit should arrive early since parking is limited.

Arizona Center - Located in downtown Phoenix the Arizona Center is a shopping district like none other. With over 50 unique shops, boutiques and restaurants, visitors will enjoy shopping with class. The Arizona Center is highly accessible to major sporting events and also includes movie theatres, bars and outdoor dining.

Outdoors

Sonora Desert Museum This museum can be found in the Tucson Mountain Park about 14 miles west of the university. It is part zoo and part garden and is of the highest quality and not to be missed. There are indoor displays with a walk-through cave and mine; glass fronted cages are the home to tarantulas, rattlesnakes and many more small desert animals. The museum also serves as a rescue centre and the animals found here were injured and would not be able to survive without the assistance of the museum staff.

Walnut Canyon National Monument Here you will find prehistoric cliff dwellings located in shallow caves of limestone ledges. These dwellings were built by the Pueblo people over 800 years ago. Visiting the area can only be done during the day and the walk is tough up some very steep and rugged steps. The climb back up the 240 steps is strenuous and can tax the heart and lungs. This is definitely for those who enjoy a good cardiovascular workout.

Kartchner Caverns State Park The caves have been rated one of the world's 10 best, is a wonderland of stalactites and stalagmites. The caves a situated in the Whetstone Mountains 40 miles southeast of Tucson. Park Rangers will take visitors on a 90 minute guided tour of the Throne Room and Rotunda Room, these rooms run under the foothill for 400 feet. The highlight of this tour is the Kubla Kahn column, which is 58 feet tall and has a weight of 370 tons, it was formed by a stalactite growing from the ceiling and meeting with a stalagmite which was growing up from the floor. It is well worth a visit and an experience not to be missed.

Moving around

Although there is good public transport it is still difficult to get around without a car. There are Greyhound buses which stop at all major cities and Amtrak trains cross the state on their transcontinental route. If the traveller wishes to see the backcountry especially the reservations it cannot be done without a car.

National festival and holidays

Navajo Nation Fair Window Rock celebrates its heritage with the American Indian Fair which is the largest in the world. The festival is held every year from the 8 12 September with over 100,000 people visiting. The festival celebrates and promotes the traditional Navajo values, beliefs and past times.

Tucson 'Meet Yourself' Festival This festival is celebrated every year from the 8 10 October and has been going on for more than 25 years. The festival can be found in the El Presidio Park and shows the diversity of the Southern Arizona's ethnic and folk communities.

Fiesta de San Agustin This festival is held every 28 August to celebrate St Augustine who is the patron saint of Tucson. St Augustine had a long association with Tucson which goes right back to when the Spanish military where here in the 1700's. The cathedral holds a special mass with exhibits, speeches, stalls and a whole lot more.

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