Places to Visit: Flagstaff

Zion National Park
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As the largest northern Arizona city and located only 80 miles south of the Grand Canyon and 206 miles southeast of Zion National Park, Flagstaff offers a variety of amenities, outdoor activities, and cultural attractions.

  • Located south of the Grand Canyon and San Francisco Mountains, outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy a variety of activities.
  • Designated as a an 'International Dark-Sky City', Flagstaff is home to two major observatories and popular with star-gazers.
  • Home to Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff is home to several symphonies, museums, and theaters.


Flagstaff, a northern Arizona small city with a Colorado mountain-town personality, lies only 206 miles southeast of Zion National Park. Depending on which route you travel you can conceivably customize the drive into a mini-National Park showcase tour by visiting the Grand Canyon before reaching Zion.


North of Sedona and Prescott, the city of Flagstaff lies near the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau and south of the San Francisco Peaks and Kachina Peaks Wilderness.  Surrounded by the largest continuous Ponderosa Pine forest in the continental US, Flagstaff is also a mere 80 mile drive to the Grand Canyon National Park to the north.

Services and Amenities

With a population of approximately 60,000 and home to Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff offers a variety of dining and lodging options.  Whether interested in a quaint Bed and Breakfast, a 'Dude' Guest ranch, or a budget accommodation, travelers are sure to find lodging that fits their budget or needs.  A variety of restaurants are located in downtown Flagstaff, as well as in the periphery city. 

Activities and Attractions

Surrounded by national forests and mountains, there is no shortage of outdoor activities in the Flagstaff area, including scenic hiking, mountain biking, climbing, and even skiing in the winter months.  For more information, visit one of the many outdoor stores located throughout town.

As a university town, Flagstaff also offers cultural attractions and entertainment as well.  If interested in the night sky, visit the Lowell Observatory and the United States Naval Observatory Flagstaff Station.  A variety of festivals, museums, symphonies, and theaters entertain locals and visitors alike.

Getting Here

Grand Canyon Option:
From Flagstaff, follow Route 180 north 79 miles to Grand Canyon National Park. The first 40 miles wind through the Kaibab National Forest, highlighted by the San Francisco Mountains, home to Humphreys Peak, Arizona's highest point at 12, 633 feet. From the Grand Canyon travel east on Route 64 to Route 89 and continue north towards Page, Arizona. From here follow the directions described below, under Direct Option.

Direct Option:
From Flagstaff, take Route 89 north for 89 miles to Page, home to the Glen Canyon Dam.  Beetween Flagstaff and Page, you'll pass the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, the Wupatki National Monument, and the Painted Desert. From Page, Route 89 continues north into Utah, through the southern edge of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, to Mount Carmel Junction. Turn left (west) on Route 9 and follow for 12 miles into Zion National Park.