Climb aboard your tour bus in Flagstaff, Arizona and enjoy a circular sightseeing route of the Arizona desert to and from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon with a friendly and knowledgeable step-on-guide. From the San Francisco Peaks to the Grand Canyon, during your Grand Canyon trip Arizona’s natural wonders will paint a unique picture of the region’s geological and Native American past.
San Francisco Peaks
Following a route close to the Sunset Crater National Monument area, a volcano that has been inactive for around 940 years, enjoy views of the San Francisco Peaks. At 12, 633 feet high, not only are the San Francisco Peaks the highest mountain range in Arizona, they are the remains of a stratovolcano which means they are a volcanic mountain range.
Cameron Trading Post and Museum
Just a short distance from the San Francisco Peaks you will come to the Cameron Trading Post and Museum. Opened by brothers, Hubert and C.D. Richardson, the Cameron Trading Post started out as a place where Navajo and Hopi locals would come to barter their wool, blankets and live-stock for dried goods. To this day passersby stop at the Cameron Trading Post to take advantage of their many amenities. Browse through the historic trading post and their art gallery and discover authentic Native American arts and crafts.
From the Cameron Trading Post and Museum you will journey through portions of the Painted Desert. Encompassing over 93,500 acres and stretching over 160 miles, the Painted Desert is a long expanse of badland hills and buttes, but while barren and austere, it is known for its multitude of colors. Lookout for the Painted Deserts’ beautiful landscapes painted in lavenders, grays, vibrant reds, oranges and pinks.
Navajo Nation Indian Lands
As you continue toward the Grand Canyon you will pass through the Navajo Nation Indian Lands. Extending into the states of Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, the Navajo Nation Indian Lands cover over 27,000 miles of unparalleled beauty and are home to national monuments, tribal parks and historical sites. Step back in time and discover how the Native Americans lived thousands of years ago from Monument Valley to the majestic red sandstone walls and lush green valleys.
The Little Colorado River Gorge
Next you will drive through the Little Colorado River Gorge, a river providing the principal drainage for the Painted Desert region. Stop along a unique overlook where Native American artisans display a variety of crafts including brightly colored rugs, pottery and jewelry. Do not get so consumed with the authentic Native American goods that you forget to appreciate the Little Colorado River Gorge. The gorge itself will literally take your breath away as you look hundreds of feet down to the river winding its way along the bottom of the steep and narrow canyon.
The Grand Canyon
Delight in the serenity, open spaces and ever-changing colors of the Colorado Plateau as you continue toward the Grand Canyon. Your first stop at the Grand Canyon will be the Desert View Overlook and Watchtower. Climb the Watchtower’s winding staircase. Once you reach the top, you can appreciate the breathtaking vistas of the Painted Desert, the eastern portion of the Grand Canyon, the Colorado River, the surrounding forested hillsides and the San Francisco Peaks. On a clear day, one can even see over 100 miles north into Utah.
The Grand Canyon Village
Back aboard your Grand Canyon bus tour you will make your way toward the Grand Canyon Village. Situated in the Grand Canyon National Park, the origins of the Grand Canyon Village date back to the railroad completed from Williams, Arizona to the canyon’s South Rim by the Santa Fe Railroad in 1901. Today the village is wholly focused on accommodating tourists visiting the canyon and offers unique opportunities. From the Grand Canyon Village stroll along the rim of the canyon and take the time to appreciate all the features which make it one of the Seven Wonders of the World. If you are lucky, you might even spot an American bald eagle soaring through the sky. Buildings to visit along the canyon’s rim include the Lookout Studio, the Kolb Brothers Studio and a unique museum located in the historic Bright Angel Lodge.
The Grand Canyon Visitor Center
Don’t forget to stop by the Visitor Center during your time in Grand Canyon Village. Displaying information regarding the history and geology of the canyon, it is the perfect place to find answers to questions you might have about the Grand Canyon and the Grand Canyon National Park.
The IMAX Movie
As you leave the Grand Canyon National Park, you will come to the National Geographic Visitor Center where you will stop for a viewing of the IMAX movie Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets. During the IMAX movie brave the wild Colorado River or soar above the walls of the Arizona Grand Canyon, the IMAX experience is an adventure of a lifetime.
Returning to Flagstaff
As you make your way back to Flagstaff, you will cross yet another area of the Colorado Plateau where antelope sightings are often reported, pass through Red Mountain, the location of a red and orange formation somewhat similar to Utah’s Bryce Canyon and through part of the largest ponderosa forest in the continent.