Flagstaff, AZ

Flagstaff Hotels/Motels

There are hotels and motels in Flagstaff, with something for every taste and price range. For more information and a complete list. Click Here. (Rates, availability and reservation online)

Location / Description

Flagstaff is a small city located in the north central Arizona, situated at the base of San Francisco Peaks, a 12,633-foot-high dormant volcano. Flagstaff is located at the intersection of US Interstate 40 and US Interstate 17, making it a hub for transport in the Northern Arizona area.

Flagstaff is the county seat of Coconino County, the second largest in the United States, which encompasses the winter ski resort, Arizona Snow Bowl, Meteor Crater, the Painted Desert and Oak Creek Canyon. Flagstaff stands as the gateway to many nearby national parks and monuments -- Sunset Crater National Monument, Walnut Canyon National Monument, Wupatki National Monument, Grand Canyon National Park, and Petrified Forest National Park.

flagstaff train station

It is also home to the U.S. Naval Observatories and Lowell Observatory, Northern Arizona University and the Museum of Northern Arizona, one of the best archeological museums on the Prehistoric Southwest in the world.

The three San Francisco Peaks are immediately north of the city, which is encircled by the Coconino National Forest. Local business includes forestry, transportation, manufacturing, and the tourist industry.

Population / Elevation
  • 45,900 residents
  • 6,905 feet above sea level

Weather / Climate

At 7,000-foot elevation, be prepared for abrupt weather changes in any season. Expect windy conditions most of the year. Spring is usually mild but heavy snowfall can occur. Summer days are warm with temperatures in the eighties. Afternoon thunderstorms likely July to September. Winter days can be cold, snow and ice can cause temporary closure of the Island Trail.


Surrounded by dense forests (now called the Coconino National Forest) at an elevation of 7,000 feet, the region has long been, and remains a center for logging. Lumberjacks celebrating the 4th of July, 1876, nailed a U.S. flag to the top of a tall Ponderosa Pine, thus giving the settlement its name -- Flagstaff. In 1882, the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad (now the Santa Fe) arrived and assured the community's growth.

Shortly thereafter, local interest in nearby Indian ruins (now encompassed within Walnut Canyon National Monument) gained momentum. These ruins became more well known when lumber magnate Michael Riordan, who was recuperating from tuberculosis in Flagstaff, took a personal interest in them.

Riordan was probably the best known and most self-publicized of those pothunters who explored the ruins and removed artifacts over the next 25 years. But as early as 1891, local citizens became alarmed at the scale of looting and destruction of ruins, which occasionally involved dynamiting walls and rooms to allow for more light.

The Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce, recognizing the tourist value of the ruins, denounced the mutilation of the cliff dwellings in 1891, but no formal steps were taken to protect the ruins until they became part of the San Francisco Mountain Forest Preserve in 1904.

While a timber-based economy still prevails in the Flagstaff area, since 1900, the tourist industry, augmented by the area's scientific developments and the proximity of Glen Canyon Dam, are added economic assets.

Things To Do

The Grand Canyon is located approximately 120 miles North of Flagstaff. Meteor Crater, the world's largest intact meteor impact crater is located 35 miles East of Flagstaff. The Arizona Snowbowl is located on the San Francisco Peaks and is the major ski resort and winter fun site for the area. Coconino National Forest surrounds the area and provides many scenic views, trails and outdoor recreation opportunities. Northern Arizona University is one of the 3 state universities in Arizona.

Events Calendar
January: Playthings of the Past. 928-774-6272.
February: Flagstaff Winterfest. 928-774-4505 or 800-842-7293.
March: Archaeology Day - Museum of Northern Arizona. 928-523-5661.
April: Voices from the Past - Lowell Observatory. 928-774-2096.
May: Great Fiesta del Barrio & Fajita Cook-off. 928-526-3186.
June: Route 66 Celebration - 928-774-1330.
July: Festival of Arts & Crafts Extraordinaire. 928-774-5213.
4th of July parade
August: Flagstaff Festival of the Arts. 800-266-7740 or 928-774-7750.
September: Annual Bed Race. 928-774-1330.
October: Oktoberfest. 928-774-9541, 800-842-7293.
November: Annual Holiday Lights Festival. 928-779-7979 or 800-435-2493.
December: Holiday Tours at Riordan Mansion. 928-779-4395.
Northern Lights Holiday Parade
Camping & RV Parks

There are many commercial and Forest Service locations for camping and RVs in and near Flagstaff. For a complete list contact:
Convention and Visitors Bureau
Milligan House at 323 West Aspen Avenue
Flagstaff, Arizona 86001-5399
928-779-7611 ~ Fax: 928-556-1305

Resources & Nearby Attractions


Cities & Towns
Parks & Monuments
Recreation & Wilderness Areas
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Canyon de Chelly National Monument
Canyon de Chelly NM offers the opportunity to learn about Southwestern Indian history from the earliest Anasazi to the Navajo Indians who live and farm here today. Its primary attractions are ruins of Indian villages built between 350 and 1300 AD at the base of sheer red cliffs and in canyon wall caves.

Glen Canyon Dam

Held behind the Bureau of Reclamation's Glen Canyon Dam, waters of the Colorado River and tributaries are backed up almost 186 miles, forming Lake Powell. The dam was completed in 1963. Take a look at this tremendous feat of engineering - the Glen Canyon Dam.

Lees Ferry

Due to the shale deposits which slope gently to the river here, Lees Ferry was the only place to cross the Colorado River for 260 miles until the Navajo Bridge was built across Marble Canyon in 1927. Join DesertUSA as we explore this historic site.

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
The movie Stagecoach, in 1939 introduced two stars to the American public, John Wayne, and Monument Valley. Visiting Monument Valley gives you a spiritual and uplifting experience that few places on earth can duplicate. Take a look at this spectacular scenery in this DesertUSA video.

Oatman AZ & the Wild Burros
Oatman is a fun place to visit -- an authentic old western town with burros roaming the streets and gunfights staged on weekends. The burros are tame and can be hand fed. Enjoy an exploration!


We have a online Wildflower Field Guide that is designed to help you identify desert wildflowers by color, scientific name, region and common name. The pictures are sized to work on the iPod, iPhone and similar devices. With your iPod or phone you will easily be able to identify wildflowers while in the desert. Links for downloads are on the bottom of the Wildflower Field Guide page.

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