Located in the northern part of Arizona, Flagstaff and its metropolitan area are home to more than 139,000 people. The city is near the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau, sitting at about 7,000 feet in elevation. The Rio de Flag river flows through the city, which is next to Mount Elden. Route 66 passes through the city, which offers a variety of things to do, both indoors and out. The city is about 75 miles from the Grand Canyon National Park, making it a gateway to all the Park offers.
Even when a city has as much to offer as Flagstaff does, a road trip offers the opportunity to explore another part of the country. If you have two to three days available to travel, consider heading to Provo, Utah. The trip requires about seven and a half hours of driving, while offering excellent scenery and places to explore along the way.
What will you find when you arrive in Provo? Plenty. Those seeking to spend time outdoors will find mountains, waterfalls, and the Timpanogos Cave National Monument. Visiting in the winter months means opportunities for skiing and snowboarding in the area. Looking to spend time inside? Check out the Covey Center for the Arts and the Provo City Library at Academy Square. The city is also home to the LDS Missionary Training Center and two LDS temples. Lying in the Utah Valley, Provo makes an excellent destination regardless of your particular interests.
A man-made reservoir on the Colorado River, Lake Powell is a large lake located in both Arizona and Utah. A popular vacation spot, the lake receives about two million visitors each year. Lake Powell and its surrounding area offer a number of outdoor recreation opportunities. Choose to spend a night or more on a rented houseboat, stay in one of the area’s resorts, or sleep under the stars at a campground. Fishing is popular at the lake, where you can catch a variety of species. Exploring the lake by kayak is also popular and rentals are available. The area also offers a number of hiking trails so you can explore the area surrounding Lake Powell on foot. No matter what you choose to do, you will have a front-row seat to the amazing scenery that the area has to offer!
After leaving Lake Powell, continue on the road for about an hour and a half until you reach the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. A unique destination, the Park includes 3,370 acres and is home to sand dunes of a coral pink color next to red sandstone cliffs.
The result of the erosion of Navajo Sandstone that surrounds the park, the dunes are thought to have existed for between 10,000 to 15,000 years. In addition to taking in the beauty of the dunes, you can explore them by foot or by using an off-road vehicle. There is also a campground at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, making it easy to spend the night and continue exploring the surrounding area.
After exploring Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, you are about an hour from your next stop; Red Canyon. Located in the Dixie National Forest, Red Canyon offers unique red rock formations and stands of Ponderosa Pine that create a visual masterpiece. Just driving through the area will provide you with excellent views. However, while you are there, consider taking a closer look at the unique area. An extensive trail system is available that is perfect for exploring the area, with options for all ability levels. Biking and horseback riding is also possible on some trails and the Casto Canyon Trail allows off-highway vehicles. The trails are open year-round; should you be visiting in the snow, you can still explore by snowshoe or cross-country skis.
Less than an hour and fifteen minutes from Red Canyon is the Cove Fort Historic Site. The Site, which was a key way station for travelers from 1867 through the early 1880s, is located between Beaver and Fillmore. The Fort was built out of volcanic rock in 1967 by Ira Hinckley and his brother Arza in an effort to protect themselves and those traveling from the possibility of Native American raids due to the Black Hawk War, which occurred from 1865-1868.
The fort was never attacked and during its use, the Hinckleys kept good relationships with local Native Americans. The self-sufficient fort was operated by the family, including making regular meals and keeping up a small farm, ranch and blacksmith shop. Cove Fort is currently operated as a historic site by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and tours are available.
About an hour from Cove Fort Historic Site is Yuba State Park. Managed by Utah State Parks and Recreation and the USDI Bureau of Land Management, Yuba State Park is home to a reservoir that is 22 miles long when full and a number of recreation activities. During your visit, be ready to enjoy sandy beaches and warm water, swimming, boating, hiking, waterskiing, windsurfing, fishing and opportunities to use off-highway vehicles.
Yuba State Park offers multiple campgrounds, making it easy to stay for a few days and enjoy all that the park has to offer. Enjoy the diverse desert plants and animals that can be found at the Park during your visit as you relax and take in your beautiful surroundings!
About an hour from Yuba State Park is your destination of Provo, Utah’s third-largest city. Provo is 43 miles south of Salt Lake City and home to more than 116,000 people, as well as Brigham Young University. The summer climate of the city averages around 94 degrees Fahrenheit while the winter climate is a mild 40 degrees Fahrenheit, with outdoor activities able to be enjoyed year-round in the city and its surrounding areas.
During your visit, consider viewing Bridal Veil Falls, a 607-foot tall waterfall in the south end of Provo Canyon. The Timpanogos Cave National Monument includes a cave system in the Wasatch Mountains. Close to Provo, take a challenging 1.5-mile trail to the cave system and enjoy a guided tour. Nearby mountains offer a number of options for hiking and mountain biking.
You can also check out the Provo City Library at Academy Square, which is located in the 1892 building of what was once the Brigham Young Academy. There is also the Provo Utah Temple of the LDS Church and the Provo City Center Temple. The city also offers plenty of shopping as well as unique restaurants to grab a bite to eat.
Looking to spend a few days? There are a number of camping opportunities available within Provo and its surrounding area. Spend a few nights and take your time exploring all that Provo has to offer!