Enjoy a Day of Discover on Martin Luther King Jr. Day
January 18th, 2016
If you are going to be visiting Sedona, Arizona over Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend it would be the perfect time to take a day trip up to the Grand Canyon and include some stops at National Monuments in Flagstaff along the way.
In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Grand Canyon National Park will join national park units across the country and offer visitors fee-free entry into the park on Monday, January 18, 2016. Flagstaff Area National Monuments will also waive entrance fees on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, in recognition of his civil rights effort, entrance fees will be waived for all visitors to Sunset Crater Volcano, Walnut Canyon and Wupatki National Monument! See Below for more information on these National Monuments.
To celebrate the National Park Service’s centennial year, the NPS will offer 16 entrance fee-free days in this year (16 in ’16). The remaining fee-free days will occur April 16-24 during National Park Week, August 25-28 to celebrate the National Park Service’s birthday, September 24 for National Public Lands Day, and November 11 in honor of Veterans Day. For more information about free entrance days in the national parks, visit www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm.
Day Trip Note: Consider taking the Scenic Loop Drive: Sunset Crater Volcano is located along a 34 mile scenic loop road that takes you from open meadows and the beautiful Ponderosa pine forests surrounding Sunset Crater, through Juniper grasslands and view of the Painted Desert, to the open red rock landscape of the Wupatki Basin and Wupatki National Monument. Drive time along the Loop Road is about 1 hour
Sunset Crater Volcano was born in a series of eruptions sometime between 1040 and 1100. Powerful explosions profoundly affected the lives of local people and forever changed the landscape and ecology of the area. Lava flows and cinders still look as fresh and rugged as the day they were formed. But among the dramatic geologic features, you’ll find trees, wildflowers, and signs of wildlife – life returns. People had been living here for several hundred years, at least, before the volcano erupted. Although we don’t know what they called themselves, archaeologists consider them representatives of the Sinagua culture. They were farmers, living in scattered groups adjacent to their corn fields. Their homes were pithouses, dug partially into the ground. 900 years later, Sunset Crater is still the youngest volcano on the Colorado Plateau. The volcano’s red rim and the dark lava flows seem to have cooled and hardened to a jagged surface only yesterday. As plants return, so do the animals that use them for food and shelter. And so do human visitors, intrigued by this opportunity to see nature’s response to a volcanic eruption. Make sure to walk the Lava Flow Trail while you are there! For directions to this monument click here. For more information visit Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument.
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Experience Walnut Canyon National Monument, once home to a vital pueblo community over 700 years ago that built their homes in shallow alcoves along the ledges of the canyon. Carved by Walnut Creek over a period of 6 million years the canyon is twenty miles long, 400 feet deep and 1/4 a mile wide. The canyon offers two trails, the Rim Trail that takes you on an easy beautiful stroll above the rim of the canyon and the Island Trail that is more strenuous and descends 185 vertical feet into the canyon! You will enjoy the scenic beauty the Rim Trail provided, but I have to tell you, if you can handle it, the Island Trail is the way to go! The Trail starts with a ramp type walkway down, then stairs taking you down further into the canyon where you will see cliff dwelling rooms along the trail with more visible across the canyon. The trail is paved making it a little easier to walk but I suggest if you have back problems, or a fear of heights, stick to the rim trail…Read More
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Wupatki National Monument
Martin Luther King Jr. Day – Free Entrance
Open Daily (9:00 AM – 5:00 PM)
Fees: Ages 16 and up $5.00 / Under 16 Free
From hunter-gatherers to farmers, herders, ranchers, and caretakers, many people have called Wupatki home. Less than 800 years ago, Wupatki Pueblo was the largest pueblo around. It flourished for a time as a meeting place of different cultures. Yet this was one of the warmest and driest places on the Colorado Plateau, offering little obvious food, water, or comfort. The builders of Wupatki and nearby pueblos have moved on, but their legacy remains. It will take about 2 hours to see five prehistoric pueblos. If you have less time, allow at least 30 minutes to visit the largest Wupatki Pueblo located behind the Visitor Center. For more information visit the Wupatki National Monument.