Getting there and getting around Flagstaff, Arizona

Flagstaff has long been an important transportation hub: It’s along historic Route 66 and a major east-west railroad line. The rail depot was formerly known as the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Depot. Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/miroslav_1. Flagstaff has long been an important transportation hub: It’s along historic Route 66 and a major east-west railroad line. The rail depot was formerly known as the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Depot. Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/miroslav_1.

Flagstaff is a two- to three-hour drive from the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) and a four-hour drive from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas (LAS). The small but conveniently located Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (FLG) also offers several flights daily to Phoenix.

A car is necessary to see most of the area’s attractions. Rental vehicles are available at all of the regional airports. Due to the city’s high elevation, May through October are the best months to visit. It can be quite cold and snowy in the winter and windy during the spring. Summer afternoons tend to be pleasantly warm, with average highs in the mid-20s Celsius (high 70s Fahrenheit).

Blocks of volcanic basalt were used to build many of Flagstaff’s historic homes. Credit: Terri Cook and Lon Abbott. Blocks of volcanic basalt were used to build many of Flagstaff’s historic homes. Credit: Terri Cook and Lon Abbott.

With its good selection of hotels and restaurants, Flagstaff is the logical base for exploring the area, including the Grand Canyon, 118 kilometers to the north. Camping opportunities are also plentiful in the surrounding public land, but visitors are not allowed to camp outside of designated sites on the Navajo Reservation. A detailed map is a good investment before exploring the reservation. Directions to Grand Falls, as well as much more information about Flagstaff and the surrounding area, are available online at www.flagstaff.com.

Terri Cook and Lon Abbott

Terri Cook (www.down2earthscience.com) is a science and travel writer based in Colorado and an EARTH roving correspondent. Lon Abbott is a geology professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017 - 13:30