Walnut Canyon has a long human history. Artifacts show that Archaic peoples, who traveled throughout the Southwest thousands of years ago, occupied the canyon at times. Later came the first permanent inhabitants, who flourished in the region from about C.E. 600 until 1400. You now can see the Monument in a few ways; Take in expansive views of Walnut Canyon and see cliff dwellings from a distance from the visitor center's two observation points or take one of the two trails to get close to the ancient dwellings. Rim Trail is 0.7 mile or about 30 minutes or the Island Trail which is 1 mile and takes about an hour. Activity Level: Easy to Moderate for the Rim Trail depending how much you would like to walk exploring. The Island Trail is more difficult and has over 700 steps to take you up and down.
On the way to Meteor Crater we will go by the abandoned Twin Arrows Trading Post, the Ghost town of Two Guns (or Canyon Lodge) and historic Diablo Canyon. There is a lot of history and legend written about this area. There is now a Navajo Casino at this same turn-off called Twin Arrows. History: Four men employed by the Hashknife Ranch robbed the train at Canyon Diablo in 1889, then fled on horseback with $100,000 in currency, 2,500 new silver dollars, $40,000 in gold coins, as well as silver watches, jewelry, and diamonds. A posse led by sheriff Buckey O'Neill pursued the bandits, but recovered less than $100 when the men were captured. After their release from prison, one of the thieves disclosed that stolen goods, along with their rifles, had been buried in the canyon rim near Two Guns. Legend: During the winter of 1879-80, Billy the Kid & his outlaw gang hid in the ruins of a stone house &corral on the west rim of Canyon Diablo, across from Two Guns.
Meteor Crater, also called Barringer Crater, is a meteorite impact crater approximately 37 miles east of Flagstaff and 18 miles west of Winslow. During the 1960s & 1970s, NASA astronauts trained in the crater to prepare for the Apollo missions to the Moon. The Meteor Crater is one of the few places on earth that is an exposed, & still fully intact, meteorite impact site that would emulate the surface of the moon. In 1984 the John Carpenter movie Starman with Jeff Bridges did some filming here. Also visit the Barringer Space Museum. A walk out on the viewing platform is the best way to view the crater.
Jackson Browne and Glen Frey of the Eagles wrote a song called "Take It Easy" in 1972, one of the popular lines in the song goes, "Standing on the corner in Winslow Arizona". In 1999, in response to the lyrics that made it famous, the city of Winslow erected a life-size bronze statue and mural commemorating the song, then in 2016 after Frey's passing a life-sized statue of of him was added to the Standin' on the Corner Park. So as we stop in Winslow for our lunch we can take the opportunity to snap a photo at this world famous location. Then we can see the last Harvey House, the La Posada Hotel, designed by Mary Colter and opened in 1930. The hotel closed in 1957 and was used by the Santa Fe Railway for offices. The railroad abandoned La Posada in 1994 and announced plans to tear it down. It was bought and restored by Allan Affeldt and it serves as a hotel and where we will be eating lunch (included up to $20 per person).
The Battle of Sunset Pass was fought in November 1874 during the Yavapai War. Following the theft of livestock by a band of Tonto Apaches, a troop of United States Army soldiers was dispatched to track the natives and recover the stolen property. The soldiers found the Apaches at Sunset Pass where a small skirmish ensued. Zane Grey also wrote a book called Sunset Pass that came from this location. This was first turned into a movie with Jack Holt in 1929, was remade with Randolph Scott in 1933, and then with James Warren in 1946. Our road headed south goes right through this pass.
As we head farther south through the ponderosa forest we pass through the historic area of Clint's Well and Long Valley. Then shortly after that we drive off over the Mogollon Rim. The Rim is a topographical and geological feature cutting across the northern half of the U.S. state of Arizona. It extends approximately 200 miles, starting in northern Yavapai County and running eastward, ending near the border with New Mexico. It forms the southern edge of the Colorado Plateau in Arizona. We can get great views of the Tonto Forest on this drive over the escarpment. As we come off the rim we either go through the town of Camp Verde or we go through Strawberry, Pine, and Payson before heading for Phoenix.
This trip takes us east of Phoenix to the Tonto National Monument located on a hill overlooking Tonto Creek (now Roosevelt Lake). The Monument showcases two Salado-style cliff dwellings. We will be walking up to the lower cliff dwelling.
Activity Level: Activity Level: Easy to Moderate depending how much you would like to walk exploring
Anyone who has read or studied up on the Apache Wars in Arizona knows the name of Al Sieber. During the Apache Wars, he was Chief of Scouts for many years and not only fought in many battles, he led/mentored other famous scouts such as Tom Horn and Mickey Free. He also served in the Union Army during the U.S. Civil War. Al was killed here in 1907 while leading a team of Apaches working on the Dam.
We will drive over the bridge, just above the dam, crossing what becomes the Salt River. Roosevelt Dam is the world's highest masonry dam & was started in 1906 and completed in 1911. The beginning of federal production of electric power occurred at Roosevelt Dam when Congress, in 1906, authorized the Reclamation Service to develop and sell hydroelectric power at the Salt River Project. On March 18, 1911 President Teddy Roosevelt spoke at the dedication of the Dam. There is also a Roosevelt Cemetery near the Dam that was used from 1906 - 1915 while the dam was being built. It is a short 250 yard walk.
The Old Globe Cemetery sits on a hill above the town of Globe. Many of the occupants come from the 1800s and were participants in the Indian Wars, such as Al Seiber and others from the Spanish American War with many of the traditional military style tombstones. Another option while in Globe is the Gila County Historical Museum (this can be substituted for the Cemetery as desired). While in Globe you will have lunch.
This optional stop is Arizona's oldest and largest botanical garden, across 392-acres and nearly three miles of paths (we can take up to an hour here as needed), named for mining magnate Colonel William Boyce Thompson. The Arboretum brings together plants from the planet's many deserts and arid lands, displaying them alongside unspoiled examples of native Sonoran Desert vegetation all within a wonderful natural setting. The enormous Picketpost Mountain serves as a backdrop as you approach the Arboretum. The mountain's unusual name stems from an early military camp established at the base of the mountain by General George Stoneman in 1870.
The other option for our last stop is the Historic Pinal Cemetery. This also has Picketpost Mountain in the background for a great photo opportunity. This is where Wyatt Earp's common-law wife Mattie Earp is buried. Celia Ann "Mattie" Blaylock (1850 - 1888) was a prostitute who became the romantic companion and common-law wife of Old West lawman and gambler Wyatt Earp for about eight years. On July 3, 1888, Mattie took a lethal dose of laudanum together with alcohol. Her death was officially ruled as "suicide by opium poisoning." This is good chance to walk historic grounds in the desert in a area that used to host the town of Pinal City, now long gone.