12. Sedona is more than simply gorgeous scenery – it is known to be an area of healing

Great views from the summit of the Airport Mesa loop hiking trail

Airport Mesa – a vortex site and one of Sedona’s most breathtaking trails!

There is no question as to whether or not Sedona is one of the most gorgeous destinations in the West, if not the entire country. The million plus year old red rocks are simply out of this world. If you actually get out there on the trails and explore a bit (which you totally should), you will likely feel a generally sense of happiness and possibly even healing. Sedona has been drawing more and more tourists over the years due to these energy healing vortexes, which many believe to have healing properties.

Stunning views from the Boynton Canyon Trail in Sedona Arizona

Boynton Canyon is said to have both masculine and feminine energies, which means that it is a great trail to balance yourself. Whether or not you believe in vortexes, it is one beautiful hike!

A vortex is basically an area of intense energy that rises up from the Earth and affects a person in various ways depending on whether or not it is a masculine or feminine energy. The beautiful Chapel of the Holy Cross is the most popular vortex site.  Vortex hikes include Cathedral Rock, Boynton Canyon, Airport Mesa, and Bell Rock. Whether or not you feel any special energy, one thing’s for sure, all of these hikes (as well as many others in the area) feature some of the most stunning landscapes you will ever witness.

13. Fall foliage rivals that of the New England region

Striking yellow foliage at Aspen Corner along Snowbowl Rd in Flagstaff, Arizona

Aspen Corner along Snowbowl Rd. is just one of many places where you can experience some of the brightest fall foliage in the country!

Northern Arizona offers some of the best leaf peeping opportunities out West. With dramatic fall foliage and an abundance of outdoor recreational activities, it really is an easy entry on any leaf peepers fall getaway bucket list. Each season, the high altitude trails (mostly those above 8000 feet) are loaded with shimmering golden aspens. Flagstaff offers the most dramatic fall scenery via trails like the incredible Inner Basin, which takes you on a colorful journey through the heart of the San Francisco Peaks. Check out my list of the top 9 fall foliage trails in Northern Arizona to get started.

14. It is recognized as one of the best spots in the world for stargazing

Blood Moon in Flagstaff AZ - March 2016

It comes at no surprise that Northern Arizona is frequently listed as one the top places in the world for stargazing. With clear skies and low light pollution, you can enjoy endless stargazing almost any time of year. In 2001, Flagstaff became the World’s First “International Dark Sky City.” Flagstaff sees on average over 280 sunny days per year, meaning dark cloudless nights for stargazing. Head to the Lowell Observatory, Buffalo Park, or take a scenic drive along the Sunset-Wupatki loop drive for the some of the best stargazing in the country. During the summer months, Walnut Canyon offers free stargazing hikes. Also be on the lookout for the annual Festival of Science, featuring more stargazing parties and events than you could possibly imagine.

15. The region is rich in Native American culture

Wupatki National Monument in Northern Arizona

This 100 room pueblo was built in the 1100’s and occupied by 85-100 people.

Currently, Arizona is home to 22 Indian tribes. Arizona has the 3rd highest Native American population, with reservations taking up over a quarter of the total land area. The Navajo, Hopi, Havasupai, Kalibab-Paiute, and Hualapai tribal lands cover 31,000 square miles of this region.

Cliff dwellings at Montezuma Castle

Montezuma Castle is known to be one of the best preserved cliff dwellings. This 20 room apartment like dwelling is over 800 years old!

There are numerous ancient Indian ruins to explore around the Northern Arizona region, the most famous being Wupatki National Monument and Walnut Canyon. Exploring the ancient cliff dwellings at Walnut Canyon & Montezuma Castle are definite must-do’s for anyone interesting in Native cultures or just looking to take in some fabulous views. Exploring the ancient pueblos at Wuptaki National Monument is another great addition to your itinerary. If you are really interesting in further your education, you can plan a visit to the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff.