Northeast Arizona Travel Guide

Discovering Northeast Arizona: A Comprehensive Travel Guide

Northeast Arizona is a land of contrasts, with its rugged mountain ranges, stunning canyons, and vast stretches of desert. It’s no wonder that this area is home to some of the most awe-inspiring natural wonders in the country. The region is also rich in history, culture, and traditions that are unique to the area. From the painted deserts and petrified forests to the Native American reservations and ancient ruins, there is so much to explore and discover in Northeast Arizona.

In this comprehensive travel guide, we will take you on a journey through the hidden gems of Northeast Arizona. We will show you the best places to visit, where to stay, what to eat, and how to make the most of your trip to this beautiful part of the country. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or simply looking for a unique and unforgettable travel experience, Northeast Arizona has something for everyone.

Northeast Arizona: Why You Should Visit

Northeast Arizona is a region that is often overlooked by travelers in favor of more popular destinations. However, this region is a hidden gem that offers a unique and memorable experience for visitors.

Monument Valley Travel Guide

With its stunning landscapes, rich history, and diverse culture, Northeast Arizona has something for everyone. From the towering red rock formations of Monument Valley to the ancient ruins of the Hopi and Navajo tribes, there are countless natural and cultural wonders to explore.

Outdoor enthusiasts will also love the region’s many opportunities for hiking, camping, fishing, and other outdoor activities. And for those who love stargazing, Northeast Arizona is home to some of the clearest and darkest night skies in the United States, making it a prime destination for astronomy enthusiasts.

Things to Do in Northeast Arizona

Exploring Northeast Arizona – 8 Must-Do Adventures!

Are you ready to explore the wonders of Northeast Arizona? Whether you’re looking for majestic canyons, historic trading posts, or just a chance to learn about the history and culture of the Navajo Nation, there’s something for everyone in this part of the state! Here are 8 amazing activities you don’t want to miss on your next trip to Northeast Arizona:

Canyon de Chelly

Take a scenic journey through the depths of one of the most dramatic canyon landscapes on the planet. Enjoy stargazing on the canyon rim, breathtaking views from the various overlooks, and optional tours with local guides who will tell you all about the stories and legends of the area.

Canyon de Chelly
Canyon de Chelly

Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site

Step back in time at this 19th-century trading post that has been in continuous operation since 1878. See how things have changed over time including original artifacts, photographs, and tools used by generations of traders.

Navajo old style 'whirling logs' motif. Hubbell Family Home - Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site - Navajo Nation
Navajo old-style ‘whirling logs’ motif. Hubbell Family Home – Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site – Navajo Nation by Al_HikesAZ is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

First Mesa

From its breathtaking views to its spiritual significance, First Mesa is a place you won’t want to miss. Explore ancient ruins, visit nearby wineries, and check out the unique Native American jewelry crafted by local artisans.

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park

Situated on the border of Arizona and Utah, this iconic landscape is filled with otherworldly red rock formations that will leave you breathless. Stop by the visitors center to watch an enlightening film and then go on a guided tour to learn even more about the area.

Monument Valley (UT) Navajo Tribal Park
Monument Valley (UT) Navajo Tribal Park August by Ron Cogswell

Antelope Canyon

This stunning slot canyon offers some of the most spectacular photographic opportunities in the world. Go on a guided tour to get access to the exclusive topside areas and best light conditions as well as learn plenty of fun facts about its formations.

Antelope Canyon
Antelope Canyon

Navajo National Monument

Don’t miss a unique opportunity to explore two fully intact cliff dwellings at this national monument. Take your time exploring these sites, each adopted by a different tribe hundreds of years ago. Bring plenty of water and snacks and be sure to stay until after sunset when the sky lights up with amazing stars.

Spider Rock, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Navajo Nation, Arizona
Spider Rock, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Navajo Nation, Arizona by Ken Lund is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Explore Navajo Interactive Museum

Discover fascinating artifacts, interactive displays, and inspiring visuals at this modern museum dedicated to preserving and interpreting Navajo culture and heritage. Learn about ceremonial traditions, experience virtual reality simulations, and take away valuable life lessons.

Glen Canyon Dam National Recreation Area

Get ready for an adventure packed with outdoor activities like fishing, hiking, boating, picnicking, camping, and much more. Afterward, reward yourself with some R&R at one of the nearby beaches or savor delicious meals at one of the amazing restaurants in town.

Glen Canyon Dam, Carl Hayden Visitor Center, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, near Page, Arizona
Glen Canyon Dam, Carl Hayden Visitor Center, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, near Page, Arizona by Ken Lund

Planning Your Trip

When to Go, How Long to Stay, and What to Bring

Planning your trip to Northeast Arizona requires some careful consideration, as the area is known for its diverse climate. It is essential to know the season, the weather conditions, and the expected temperature before venturing out on a trip to this region.

The best time to visit Northeast Arizona is from March to May and September to November when the temperatures are mild, and the crowds are thin. During these times, you can enjoy beautiful landscapes and outdoor activities without the heat of summer or the cold of winter.

However, if you’re a winter sports enthusiast, you can plan your trip around December to February when Northeast Arizona experiences excellent snowfall. Ensure to pack accordingly with warm clothing, gloves, hats, and boots for the chillier months.

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, Arizona, USA
Winter at Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, Arizona, USA by Michael

Your trip length will depend on your itinerary, budget, and interests. Northeast Arizona has plenty to offer, from hiking, camping, and fishing to scenic drives and cultural experiences. Consider spending at least a week in the area to truly explore what this region has to offer and immerse yourself in the natural beauty and rich history.

When packing for your trip to Northeast Arizona, it’s best to bring layers due to the fluctuation in temperatures throughout the day. Ensure to pack comfortable shoes for hiking and walking, sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun’s UV rays. Don’t forget to bring a camera, as Northeast Arizona is a photographer’s paradise, and you’ll want to capture the stunning landscapes and unique cultural experiences to remember forever.

How to Get There

Transportation Options to Northeast Arizona

There are several options for getting to Northeast Arizona, depending on your starting point and preferred mode of transportation.

If you’re flying in from out of state or out of the country, the closest major airport is Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. From there, you can rent a car or arrange for a shuttle or private car service to take you to your destination in Northeast Arizona.

travel to Northeast Arizona
Locomotive Park, Route 66, Kingman, Arizona by Ken Lund

If you prefer to drive, there are several major highways that lead to Northeast Arizona, including US-60, US-163, and US-191. These highways connect to major cities such as Phoenix, Albuquerque, and Salt Lake City, making it easy to plan a road trip to Northeast Arizona.

For those who prefer public transportation, Greyhound offers bus service to several cities in Northeast Arizona, including Show Low, Holbrook, and Winslow. Additionally, Amtrak’s Southwest Chief route stops in Winslow, providing train service to the area.

Once you’re in Northeast Arizona, renting a car is the most convenient option for getting around, as public transportation is limited. However, if you prefer not to drive, there are several taxi and shuttle services available, as well as bike rental options in some areas.

No matter how you choose to get to Northeast Arizona, the journey is sure to be scenic and memorable. From towering rock formations to lush forests and sparkling lakes, the natural beauty of Northeast Arizona is not to be missed.

Best Parks and Scenic Spots to Visit

Northeast Arizona is home to some of the most stunning natural wonders in the United States. From vast canyons to towering rock formations, there’s no shortage of breathtaking scenery to take in.

Petrified Forest National Park

One of the most popular parks in the area is Petrified Forest National Park. Here, visitors can marvel at the ancient petrified wood that dates back millions of years. The park also features hiking trails that wind through stunning badlands and mesas, offering incredible photo opportunities. The park is also home to a variety of wildlife, including coyotes, pronghorns, and even black bears.

Petrified Forest

Canyon de Chelly National Monument

For those seeking a more challenging hike, a visit to the stunning Canyon de Chelly National Monument is a must. This park is home to towering cliffs and deep canyons that are steeped in Native American history. Visitors can hike down to the canyon floor to explore ancient ruins and rock art.

Apache Trail

If you’re looking for a scenic drive, the Apache Trail is a must-see. This historic route winds through the Superstition Mountains and offers stunning views of lakes, canyons, and wildflower meadows. Be sure to stop at the lookout points along the way to take in the breathtaking scenery.

Meteor Crater

For those seeking a true natural wonder, a visit to the Meteor Crater is a must. This massive crater was formed by a meteor impact over 50,000 years ago and is considered one of the best-preserved meteorite impact sites in the world. Visitors can take a guided tour of the crater and learn about the science behind this amazing natural wonder.

Museums and Historical Sites to Discover

Northeast Arizona is a treasure trove of cultural gems, with museums and historical sites that offer fascinating insights into the region’s rich history and diverse heritage.

Navajo Nation Museum

One must-visit site is the Navajo Nation Museum, which showcases the art, culture, and history of the Navajo people. Here, you can admire traditional Navajo textiles, jewelry, and pottery, as well as learn about the Navajo Code Talkers, who played a vital role in the American military during World War II.

Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site

Another must-see destination is the Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site, which was once a hub for trading between Native American tribes and Anglo settlers. Today, visitors can tour the historic trading post, which still operates as a store, and learn about the fascinating history of the region.

Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site - Navajo Nation
Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site – Navajo Nation by Al_HikesAZ

Apache County Historical Museum

For those interested in the history of the Old West, a visit to the Apache County Historical Museum is a must. This museum houses an impressive collection of artifacts and exhibits that showcase the history of the region, from the days of the Wild West to the present day.

Puerco Pueblo

Other cultural gems in the region include the Puerco Pueblo, a 13th-century Ancestral Puebloan site, and the Petrified Forest National Park, which features ancient petrified wood and stunning geological formations.

Puerco Pueblo
Puerco Pueblo, Petrified Forest National Park by PetrifiedForestNPS

Activities for the Adventurous Traveler

Northeast Arizona is an outdoor lover’s paradise. With its vast and diverse landscapes, it offers an array of adventures for the adrenaline-seeking traveler. From hiking to rock climbing to water sports, the options are endless.

Northeast Arizona Hiking

One of the most popular outdoor activities in Northeast Arizona is hiking. There are several trails in the area that offer breathtaking views of the canyons, forests, and deserts. The White Mountains, for example, offer numerous hiking trails, ranging from easy walks to challenging climbs. The Mogollon Rim is another popular spot for hiking, with trails that wind through stunning canyons and forests.

Mogollon Rim Vista Trail view - Payson Arizona
Mogollon Rim Vista Trail view – Payson Arizona by Al_HikesAZ

Rock Climbing Northeast Arizona

For those looking for a more heart-pumping adventure, rock climbing is a must-try activity. Queen Creek Canyon, located in the Tonto National Forest, is a popular destination for rock climbers of all levels. The area features over 800 routes, ranging from beginner to advanced, with stunning views of the desert landscape.

Queen Creek Canyon
Rock Climbing Arizona” by tonynetone

Water Sports

If water sports are more your style, then head to Lake Powell, located near the Arizona-Utah border. The lake offers a variety of water activities, including kayaking, paddleboarding, and jet skiing. You can also take a scenic boat tour of the lake and explore the stunning canyons and rock formations.

Best Local Restaurants and Breweries in NE AZ

Northeast Arizona boasts a vibrant culinary scene that is worth exploring. Whether you are in the mood for a hearty meal or just want to grab a quick bite, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Start your day off with a hearty breakfast at one of the local diners like Blue Canyon Grill in Cameron AZ. You can expect to find all the classic breakfast dishes like pancakes, eggs, and bacon, as well as some unique regional specialties. For lunch, head over to one of the local cafes or delis, where you can enjoy a sandwich made with fresh local ingredients or a bowl of soup that will warm you up on a chilly day.

If you are looking for a more upscale dining experience, Northeast Arizona has plenty of options to choose from. There are several fine dining restaurants that specialize in local cuisine, including dishes featuring elk, bison, and other regional delicacies. These restaurants often have an extensive wine list, so be sure to ask the sommelier for recommendations.

tombstone brewing in tombstone, az location
Tombstone Brewing Company; image via

When it comes to beverages, Northeast Arizona is home to several breweries and wineries. Take a tour of Tombstone Brewing Company and sample some of their unique craft beers, or visit a winery and learn about the winemaking process while sipping some locally made wines. You can even take a bottle or two home with you to enjoy later.

No matter what type of food or drink you are in the mood for, Northeast Arizona has something to offer. Be sure to explore the local dining scene and discover some hidden gems that will make your trip even more memorable.

Where to Stay: Accommodation for Every Budget

Northeast Arizona is a beautiful region with diverse landscapes and attractions. If you’re planning a trip, the first thing you need to consider is where to stay. Fortunately, there are plenty of accommodation options for every budget in this region.

If you’re looking for luxury, you can check out the resorts and hotels in the area. Many of them offer world-class amenities like spas, fine dining, and golf courses. The rooms are spacious, comfortable and come with stunning views of the surrounding landscapes.

Camping Northeast Arizona
Camping below Kendrick Peak by Al_HikesAZ

For those who prefer something more budget-friendly, there are plenty of motels, lodges, and inns to choose from. They offer a comfortable stay at an affordable price. These accommodations usually have fewer frills, but they still provide all the basic amenities like free Wi-Fi, comfortable beds, and clean bathrooms.

If you’re traveling with a large group or family, you might consider renting a vacation home or cabin. This is a great option for those who want a little more privacy and space. Vacation homes and cabins come fully furnished with kitchens and other amenities, so you can cook your meals and save money on dining out.

Camping is another option for those who like to be close to nature. There are many campsites in the region, ranging from basic sites with no amenities to fully-equipped RV parks. Camping is a great way to experience the beauty of the region up close and personal.

No matter what your budget is, you’ll find a suitable accommodation option in Northeast Arizona. So, book your stay and get ready to explore the hidden gems of this beautiful region.

Off-the-Beaten-Path: Hidden Gems and Secret Spots

If you’re someone who loves to explore and discover hidden gems, Northeast Arizona is the perfect destination for you. The region is filled with off-the-beaten-path destinations that are sure to leave you in awe. From secret spots that only the locals know about to hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered, this region has something for everyone.

Canyon de Chelly

Another hidden gem in Northeast Arizona is the Canyon de Chelly National Monument. This monument is located in the heart of the Navajo Nation and is home to some of the most breathtaking scenery in the region. Visitors can explore the canyon on foot, horseback, or by taking a guided tour.

Homolovi State Park

For those who are interested in history, the Homolovi State Park is a must-visit destination. This park is home to several ancient ruins that date back to the 14th century. Visitors can explore the ruins on their own or take a guided tour to learn more about the history of the area.

Homolovi State Park
Homolovi State Park by Trevor.Huxham is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Meteor Crater Natural Landmark

If you’re looking for a truly unique experience, consider visiting the Meteor Crater Natural Landmark. This landmark is the result of a meteor impact that occurred over 50,000 years ago. Visitors can explore the crater on foot or take a guided tour to learn more about the history of the area.

Tips for Traveling in Northeast Arizona

Traveling in Northeast Arizona can be a breathtaking and unforgettable experience, but it’s important to take some precautions to ensure your safety and enjoyment. Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind during your travels:


  • Research the weather conditions and pack accordingly. Northeast Arizona can experience extreme temperature fluctuations, so it’s important to be prepared for both hot and cold weather.
  • Respect the local culture and traditions. Northeast Arizona is home to several Native American tribes, and it’s important to be respectful of their customs and beliefs.
  • Take advantage of the opportunities for outdoor adventures. Northeast Arizona is home to some of the most beautiful and unique landscapes in the United States, and there are plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities.
  • Make sure you have plenty of water and snacks with you, as some parts of Northeast Arizona can be quite remote and it may be difficult to find food and water.


  • Leave any valuables in your car or unattended, as theft can be a problem in some areas.
  • Ignore warning signs or venture off marked trails in national parks or other protected areas.
  • Approach wildlife, as many of the animals in Northeast Arizona are dangerous and should be observed from a safe distance.
  • Travel alone at night, especially in remote areas.

Why Northeast Arizona Should Be Your Next Travel Destination

In conclusion, Northeast Arizona is a destination that should be on every traveler’s list. With its unique combination of natural wonders, rich cultural history, and outdoor recreational opportunities, there is truly something for everyone in this region.

Whether you’re looking to explore the majestic beauty of the Petrified Forest National Park, learn about the ancient civilizations at the Navajo National Monument, or hike through the stunning canyons of the White Mountains, Northeast Arizona has it all.

Greer Resort and Cabins this morning in the White Mountains of northeast Arizona. by cobalt123 is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Moreover, Northeast Arizona offers a chance to escape the crowds and experience a more authentic and immersive travel experience. Far from the hustle and bustle of the city, visitors can discover the hidden gems of the region, from the charming small towns to the friendly locals who are always eager to share their stories.

So, if you’re looking for a destination that will take your breath away and leave you with memories to last a lifetime, look no further than Northeast Arizona. Start planning your trip today and get ready for an adventure you’ll never forget!

We hope you enjoyed our comprehensive travel guide to discovering the hidden gems of Northeast Arizona. With so much natural beauty and rich history in this region, it’s no wonder why this area is becoming a popular tourist destination. We hope that our guide has provided you with the inspiration and information you need to plan your next adventure to Northeast Arizona. Don’t forget to share your experiences and tag us on social media, we’d love to hear all about it!

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