Flagstaff, AZ, is one of the most unique tourist destinations you could ever hope to visit. The city is enriched with natural beauty all around. With beautiful sunsets, mountains in the distance, green forests, and rapid rivers, Flagstaff is a relaxing and calming destination for all nature lovers.
When in Flagstaff, make sure you acquaint yourself with the 900-year-old cinder cone in Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. You shouldn’t skip out on the Lowell Observatory either and miss the chance to see all the stars in the sky with such clarity. Before you depart from the city, learn all about its history in the Museum of Northern Arizona.
Lucky for the residents of Flagstaff, Yosemite National Park is only a nine-hour drive away via the I-40. However, instead of driving straight to your destination, a weekend spent in places like Las Vegas and Kingman that are along the route, offers one of the best road trips experiences one can hope for.
With an end destination like Yosemite National Park, CA, let’s just say the end of your journey is where your real adventure will begin. Yosemite National Park is home to beautiful waterfalls, abundant wildlife, giant sequoias, deep valleys, granite cliffs, and an enormous wilderness area. With famous landmarks like El Capitan and Half Dome, this national park is one of the most iconic representations of America’s natural beauty. Here, you can partake in any number of outdoor activities, including hiking, skiing, and backpacking.
Make your first stop at Kingman, AZ, and spend a few hours marveling at the ancient Bonelli House that belonged to one of the most famous families in Kingman. The house allows you to peer back in time and see what the house of a wealthy family of the ’80s looked like. Bonelli’s house was built by the couple George A Bonelli and Effie Bonelli.
George was a Swiss immigrant and Effie's father was the Kingman Santa Fe Railroad Station Master. They were prominent cattle ranchers as well as retail shop owners. They first built this house in 1895 where they lived with their nine children. However, the house was burnt to the ground in 1915 and had to be rebuilt. During a tour of the house, you’ll see the house’s original architectural designs as well as furnishings. Artifacts are also carefully preserved in the house which makes for quite a viewing.
Most people head for Las Vegas when driving through Nevada on the I-40. However, there are those who’d much rather prefer the charismatic neighbor of the famous Sin City. In Boulder City, there’s much to do, but one attraction that lures many people is the Historic National Railroad Trail. This trail allows you to both enjoy nature as well as learn about the five old railroad tunnels that lay on this trail.
It’s a surreal experience during the hike when you suddenly find yourself in the cool shade of railroad tunnels that were last used during the 19th century. When you aren't walking through the tunnels, you’ll be surrounded by the beautiful nature here. Keep an eye out for owls, ravens, bighorn sheep, rattlesnakes, and scorpions. If you decide to stay the night then you can approach it from the Alan Bible Visitor Center in Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
Well, when you are in the vicinity of Las Vegas you might as well make the stop. But how about doing something that is often unheard of, such as looking at a piece of the Berlin Wall?
It’s common knowledge that the west side of the 28-mile fortification was covered with graffiti. One of the few remnants of this graffiti-covered wall is now located in the men’s restroom of the Main Street Station Casino, right behind the men’s urinal. Fortunately, it is covered with glass so it remains protected. Turn it into an occasion by enjoying a few drinks at the casino before heading off to see this significant piece of history. Ladies are also escorted to see the wall upon request.
The casino actually has many more collections of antiques that you can explore on your own. Make sure to check out the lamps from Brussels and Buffalo Bill Cody’s railroad car.
Zurich, formerly, the first-ever town south of Laws, CA, is now a ghost town. As your wheels cross the border of California to head towards Yosemite National Park, make sure you make this stop to look at this historical town from the past.
The town’s historical plaque can be seen at California Highway 168 and dates back to 1998. The last person to be born in Zurich was Josephine and she belonged to the last family to reside in Zurich before the town was completely abandoned. Zurich was actually named after Zurich in Switzerland. It got this name when the Swiss wife of the depot master commented on how the Sierras reminded her of home when they were covered in snow. Albeit crumbling, you can still see the station platform, a stockyard with what seems like a scale for weighing livestock, a stock ramp, and many other preserved remnants of the structure.
Your journey so far has taken you from the desert plains of Arizona and Nevada and now it is time to relish in the breathtaking beauty of Yosemite National Park in California. Its giant sequoia trees, granite mountains, and majestic scenery have made it a popular destination that everyone should at least visit once.
If this is your first visit to the national park, you’ll realize that all the hype it gets is every bit deserved. In fact, Yosemite National Park is a destination that is frequented again and again as its beauty surprises you every single time. You can camp here and spend days exploring the deep valleys, grand meadows, and gazing upon the ancient Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias.