We thought we were done travelling this summer after our epic trip through Oregon and Northern California, but it turns out we were up for one more quick jaunt to Arizona. The Sweet Love once lived in Williams, AZ and I had never been anywhere in Arizona before so we set off. We visited Williams, Flagstaff, Sedona, and Jerome. It was unbelievably gorgeous and the temperatures were perfect. It turns out we went at the right time of year: August. There were monsoon style rains every single day but they only lasted an hour or two and the rest of the day was stunningly beautiful.
We stayed most of the week in Williams, AZ, a tiny town outside of Flagstaff. Williams is known as the “Gateway to the Grand Canyon,” although we didn’t visit the Grand Canyon while we were there. We stayed at a KOA that had an in-ground jumpy, as you can see our Little Love bouncing on above. They also had miniature golf, a playground, an indoor pool and spa, a Go Kart track (closed while we were there), and a wiggle worm train that went around the park twice a day. It was a blast!
A few miles down the road was a Deer Farm. It was so cool! They have all kinds of rescue animals like porcupines, reindeer, donkeys and a zonkey! (Yes, a zonkey is a thing. It’s a mix of a donkey and a zebra. They’re rare, mostly in zoos, and infertile). At any rate, the Little Love and the Sweet Love had a blast getting mobbed by dear and feeding the camel carrots.
While in Williams, we ate at the local diner which had great murals all around. We just so happened to be sitting in front of the one of Marilyn Monroe and James Dean *swoon*.
Oak Creek Canyon
We drove out to Sedona one day going through Flagstaff and driving the Oak Creek Canyon. Such an incredible drive! And on our way back from Sedona we pulled off the highway to hike down to the creek and swim. It was epic.
Cliff Dwellings at Walnut Canyon NM
The next day we drove just outside of Flagstaff to see the cliff dwellings. These were astounding. Can you even imagine having to repel down to your home each day? Or climb up? Gnarly. The dwellings are absolutely everywhere along the canyon. And while they have it set up so you can easily walk down to the point and cruise a loop of the dwellings, there are many others you simply can’t get to safely. If you look in the picture below you can see arrows pointing to some of the dwellings we couldn’t go see close up. I highly recommend this location as it’s:
- easy to get to
- highly unadvertised and therefore nearly empty of other tourists
- manageable if you can handle some stairs
- has hiking paths around the top if you don’t want to go down the stairs and see the dwellings close-up
On our last day in Williams we drove out to Sycamore Canyon. It’s a smaller Grand Canyon, less well known and therefore completely unpopulated. It was stellar for hiking and views. We were in the shallowest part of the canyon although I’m told it goes on for several miles and gradually opens up to something that rivals the Grand Canyon. This section here is often used for rock climbing training by locals, although none were there the day we visited.
We drove down out of Williams and into the desert outside Jerome. We took a day trip into Jerome and had lunch and visited the Gold King Mine. The Gold King Mine is a treasure trove of old Studebakers and Internationals. It was phenomenal! I encourage all vintage truck enthusiasts to head out there; definitely worth the trip. You can see some of the photos we took of the vehicles there in our blog: Gold King Mine in Jerome, AZ. You can see even more on Instagram and Facebook which we post to daily. It was also great for our Little Love as he got to feed their goats.
Unfortunately, as we were driving back to our campsite we saw the massive clouds and began to feel the gnarly rain. It was the best/worst rainstorm we’d been in yet and being camped down by a river, we found our campsite completely washed out upon our return. Sigh.
We may have had a less-than-pleasant-end to our trip, but all in all it was rejuvenating, inspiring, and stunningly beautiful. If you enjoyed this, you may want to check out more of our travels this summer starting with Part One.