Places and Landmarks to See in Arizona
Anyone living here more than five years is automatically tagged a native. So hopefully by now you have seen some of these famous Arizona Landmarks
Our state’s climate variety is astonishing: national high and low temps sometimes on the same day. Droughts and monsoons. Scrub in the south, lush grasslands all over, dense forests in the north. Wide, wide expanses that beckon the traveler to seek and explore.
And in those travels – even commutes – you may be surprised to find the familiar landscape hides a considerable number of historically significant landmarks. Some natural, some man-made. For instance:
You pass it every time you drive between Phoenix and Tucson – a 1,500-foot-tall peak that’s said to be one of the best hikes in the state. It’s also where the North and South fought the westernmost battle of the Civil War. Literally awash in flowers in spring, the view from the top is spectacular. (azstateparks.com/Parks/PIPE/index.html)
This is what happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object. Twenty miles west of Winslow, Arizona (where you can stand on a corner to see a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed
Ford*) this is thought to be best preserved impact crater in the world. Fifty thousand years ago, a 150-foot-long meteorite crashed into the earth, creating this now-scenic scar. It’s about 550 feet deep, and 2.5 miles in circumference. Guided tours are available. (meteorcrater.com/)
Mission San Xavier del Bac
Built in the late 1700s, it’s still an active Roman Catholic church. Often called “The White Dove of the Desert,” it’s what your mind sees when you think of Spanish colonial architecture – a storybook blend of Moorish, Byzantine and Renaissance. In Tucson and easily accessible, it is the oldest intact European building in Arizona, and definitely worth a visit. (http://www.sanxaviermission.org/)
Montezuma Castle …
… has absolutely nothing to do with Montezuma. Or a castle. Built (we think) by the Sinagua Indians about 700 years ago it is in fact a six-level, 20-room village built into a cave in a cliff face – 100 feet above ground level! Just off the I-17 near Camp Verde, it’s one of Arizona’s best preserved indigenous cliff dwellings. Visitors cannot climb up, but you can clearly see the dwellings from the trail below. (https://www.nps.gov/moca/index.htm)
No, we didn’t forget the Grand Canyon … but that’s a special trip.
And really, that’s just the beginning of your historical explorations. According to Wikipedia, there are 43 more historic sights just waiting for you to visit: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_National_Historic_Landmarks_in_Arizona)
*The Eagles, “Take it Easy”, 1972