Flagstaff, Arizona is a mountain town nestled in between Mount Elden and the San Francisco Peaks. If you visit a mountain town, you must become acquainted with the mountains. After being diverted by the eccentric feelings and flavors of a small downtown and enjoying the flickering neon lights of the historic (and perhaps haunted) Monte Vista hotel, you must retreat into the trails and back roads of the majestic hillsides, and allow the crisp and cool summer air to awaken every skin cell on your body. You have to watch a golden ruby sunset over the tops of the expansive Ponderosa pines, and it is absolutely necessary to gaze up at the serene clarity of thousands of undimmed stars (Flagstaff is the world’s first “International Dark-Sky City”). The pathways and trailheads always manage to bring you “home,” whether that is one of the city’s many cozy hotels or a lonely tent in a hidden away campsite is up to you.
If you’ll let it, Flagstaff will tell you a story. The charred rings of an ancient evergreen show you the drama of survival, of fires and floods, and the shards of pottery buried in the dirt whisper secrets of the past in languages a native ear may recognize. Around every corner there is a surprise – a natural spring, an ancient ruin, or a hidden well. Even in the city, connected by little-known underground tunnels and the famous Route 66, you will discover something new – a restaurant in a cottage, a store containing nothing but scented candles, or a hundred year old mansion made of rustic logs and volcanic stone.
Flagstaff, under all its tranquility and perfect summer weather, is roaring with life and exploration and occasional monsoons. The grandeur of Humphrey’s Peak will lift you up into a world where you can truly enjoy a small city and a summer escape, and long after your visit ends, the shining stars will dance in your dreams and the wind blowing through the pines will call you back.
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