Flagstaff nature trails feature scenic cross country skiing and hiking, set in the wilderness of Coconino National Forest. Unlike a jaunt around the world's largest Cheerio, the facility features 40 km of nonredundant trails, all traversable by classic and skating skis, or a pair of snowshoes. There are trail passes for adults, children, and students/seniors. Flagstaff's equipment rentals include pulk sleds and ski packages.
Each year, Flagstaff Blues & Brews Festival spreads across a grassy lawn at the Continental Driving Range for a day-long celebration of music. An eclectic lineup of blues performers entertain guests until the sun begins to set. Meanwhile, tented outdoor beer gardens provide fuel for the celebration in the form of craft brews and food while benefiting local school music programs. To accommodate guests of all ages, there's also a children's area filled with bounce houses and games; kids 12 and under are admitted to the festival for free.
Just south of the gateway to the Grand Canyon stands Bearizona, a drive-thru wildlife exhibit that regales creature-seeking carpools with bison, mountain goats, and other animals from the comfort of their own automobile. The 3-mile drive takes guests through sprawling enclosures, where they can peer in on packs of cuddly arctic wolves or ask black bears for directions to the nearest stocked cooler. After traversing the park’s drive-thru section, visitors can stroll through the forested Fort Bearizona enclosure, which houses exhibits of smaller animals and Bearizona Barnyard, an interactive petting zoo.
Much of Arizona remains unchanged from the days when cowboys and their dinosaur steeds ruled the desert plains. Millions of acres of lush trees still blanket the Coconino National Forest, growing up over mountains in defiance of the desert's red rocks. In Mayer, miles of horseback trails snake past rivers and rock outcroppings, passing by historic windmills and cattle ranches that still operate to this day.
The horseback guides at Pot A Gold Adventures call each of these majestic landscapes home. Each day, they lead groups from three different stables: Hitchin' Post Stables, Pot A Gold Stables, and Mountain Ranch Stables. From here, they depart on two-hour adventures through deserts and forests. On some of these trips, they might stop to build a fire and cook dinners of steak, potatoes, and beans.
Lemonade and iced tea replace cowboy food during the spring and summer. The wagons are drawn on rubber wheels to make the ride as smooth as possible so guests can enjoy the views as well as the horses, as they are nearly as beautiful as the surrounding landscape. Pot A Gold Adventures' trainers raise most of the purebred Quarter and Paint horses almost from birth.
One of the oldest continually operated ski areas in the U.S., Arizona Snowbowl turns over a new leaf from late May through mid October. During this time, one of the resort's ski lifts remains open to whisk visitors to the top of an 11,500-foot-tall peak, where they take in views of land features up to 70 miles away and get a rare chance to see the Kokopelli shape that the Grand Canyon makes from above. The bustling summer season is also when area experts host interpretive talks and hikers trek through the Kachina Peaks wilderness on high-altitude trails. Of course, Arizona Snowbowl is also open for winter recreation from mid-December through April.
After a day of outdoor activities, adventurers can sip cocktails, scoop up green-chili chicken stew, and munch sandwiches at the Agassiz Lodge —featuring live music on the weekends—, located at the base of the scenic chairlift where guests can also shop for souvenirs and clothing.