Things are slowly beginning to open around this area. By things I mean State and National Parks, National Monuments, and other outdoor activities. We rarely visit restaurants, salons or tattoo parlors so they don’t count. Montezuma’s Castle National Monument is still closed, Tuzigoot National Monument is still closed etc. Luckily we had visited both of these on our previous visit.
There are three national monuments north around Flagstaff, Walnut Canyon NM is partially open, Sunset Crater NM is open but Wupatki NM is closed. We decided to take out chance and visit to see what we could see.
Walnut Canyon NM is known for the ancient cliff dwellings in a canyon with remarkable rock formations. The only trail open was the Rim Trail, we were hoping to catch a glimpse of some of the cliff dwellings from the rim trail, but did not. It was only open about a quarter of a mile loop back to the parking lot and the only overlook was so crowded with people that we did not even stop for a picture. This park was a bust for us, but we did enjoy our picnic.
Sunset Crater NM on the other hand was a very pleasant surprise. The very tall San Francisco Peake mountains just west of Flagstaff are older volcanic peaks that reach up to 12,000 feet.
East of Flagstaff are some smaller peaks including this beautiful Sunset Crater. So named because of the orange red color around the top.
This volcano last erupted about 1,000 years ago, and there is still a lot of lava flow around the area. It is amazing how long it takes for anything to grow in a lava flow. You can see the stark difference on these cinder cones.
A loop road runs from Sunset Crater to Wupatki NP and although we knew that Wupatki was closed we decided to take the scenic drive any way. We were pleasantly surprised by the ever-changing landscapes and a nice view of the Painted Desert in the distance. Wish we could have seen the Wupatki Pueblo ruins, but maybe another time.
Peace, love and thankful for wonderful blue skies watching over us!!!