I’ll admit, before my first trip, I didn’t get the Arizona thing. I’m used to a lush green Pacific Northwest landscape, and I imagined a parched desert wasteland with a stray cactus here and there. Yet, I was intrigued by the red rocks, and I had heard good things about Sedona. So I decided to book a family spring break trip to Arizona. The breathtaking beauty and endless blue skies won us all over, and we can’t wait to return.
We flew into Phoenix, rented a car, and drove up to our family-friendly resort close to the main drag. The resort, Arroyo Roble, was perfectly situated and set up nicely for kids with a game room, indoor and outdoor pools, and a central courtyard. The condo, although a bit dated and dark, was spacious and well equipped with everything we needed to prep all our meals. With Whole Foods just down the street, we stocked up on everything we needed and saved a lot of money over eating out.
Each day involved a hike and/or day trip, and surprisingly the kids were on board with all the hiking. We purchased a Red Rock Pass, and got our money’s worth! Favorite hikes included:
(1) West Fork Trail of Oak Creek Canyon, known as one of the best trails in Coconino National Forest and one of the top ten trails in the United States, is 7.2 miles and includes many creek crossings to keep kids engaged. This was our longest and most ambitious hike, and it was a success!
(2) Devils Bridge Trail, a 4.2 mile moderate hike, is short and steep and features amazing views of red rock country.
(3) Fay Canyon Trail, 2.6 miles, boasts a beautiful waterfall and is good for all skill levels.
(4) Doe Mountain Trail, at a mere 1.5 miles, is a moderate loop with incredible views all the way.
(5) Boynton Vista Trail, very short (0.5 miles each way to the vista), meanders to the base of Boynton Spire. For some, this location is also a popular vortex spot or a place in nature where the earth swirls with energy drawing everything to its center. Some do meditation here and place rocks to their foreheads to feel the energy. There is one man in particular who plays the flute and, if you are lucky, gives out heart-shaped red rocks. It turns out, we were among the lucky few, and we each received a special rock to take home. (I still use mine as a paperweight.)
Other favorite memories included visiting the copper mining town of Jerome, experiencing the stunning magnitude of the Grand Canyon National Park, visiting Montezuma’s Castle National Monument (where the kids participated in the Junior Ranger program), and dinner out at Elote Cafe.
There is so much to see and do in Arizona, and we can’t wait to return. We already have a few ideas for our next trip, including visiting the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, experiencing the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, and hiking Horseshoe Bend. I’d welcome ideas for hikes and excursions for our next trip.
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