Arizona: As Grand As Its Namesake Canyon
As Grand as the Canyon is (and it is spec-TAC-ular!), Arizona’s charms don’t end there.
With a dramatically varying landscape that rises and falls by thousands of feet over the expanse of the state, it’s possible to begin a day trip on a flat, cactus-sprinkled desert baked dry by the scorching heat, and four hours later find yourself in a soaring pine forest of cool evergreens, reaching for your jacket. Along the way you can encounter deep gorges at the bottom of which are clear running creeks, surreal slot canyons sculpted by flash floods, or vermillion cliffs on whose shallow ledges lie ancient dwellings built centuries ago.
Whether or not you consider yourself spiritual in any traditional sense, you cannot help but feel insignificant when appreciating the natural forces that are responsible for such impressive beauty. In Arizona, the word ‘awesome’ has true meaning and you’ll find yourself reaching for that description time after time.
Maybe that’s why here, the haunting notes of the Hopi Indians’ flute sound like the voice of the land itself, resonating deeply within, both now, and long after you return home.
TIP: Many of Arizona’s most-visited sights are on land belonging to Native American tribes, and some places have very limited accommodations for visitors. If you are planning your trip around seeing specific parts of the state, be sure to book your hotels in that area in advance. Hotels can be far apart, with long stretches of driving between. And if you are thinking of taking a mule down to Phantom Ranch, the only accommodation at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, start your planning a year in advance! (unless you are really lucky and there’s a cancellation)
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When it comes to what to do at the Grand Canyon South Rim, read on: there are driving routes and walking trails that offer spectacular viewpoints for stunning sunrises and sunsets; hikes that take you down into the canyon; and historic sites where you can experience the spirit of this land and the generations of native Americans and adventurers who have called it home.
When I think of architect Frank Lloyd Wright and everything I’ve read or written about him, the adjectives ‘relaxed’, ‘easy-going’ or ‘fun-loving’ definitely do not come to mind. Yet after visiting Taliesin West, his architecture studio and home just outside Phoenix, Arizona, I came to understand that this property was probably the one place where Wright was at his most chill. Relatively speaking, of course.
Henk and I never seem to tire of visiting the southwestern United States; we’ve been there several times, and on each trip we discover something new and amazing. But although we have visited Arizona and toured much of the state, we hadn’t really spent much time in Phoenix. So we were thrilled when Visit Phoenix invited us down for a visit, as this gave us a chance to really explore the city, and put together a ‘grownup’ guide of things to do around Phoenix.