Discovering Flagstaff: Who Knew?

Guest blog by Claudia Carbone.

Flagstaff Astronaut Selfie

My head is spinning after a quick 24 hours in this Arizona mountain town. I learned so many things that I and most people don’t know; for example:

Lunar Legacy

Who Knew. . .that all the astronauts who walked on the moon trained in Flagstaff? That’s why the folks in the town are all atwitter about the 50th anniversary of the moon landing coming up in July, 2019. Not only did the likes of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins train here but much of the prototype equipment like spacesuits, lunar Rover and stereo metric camera were tested here also. You can learn more about Flagstaff’s Lunar Legacy at the Lowell Observatory, where, among events, the planet Pluto was discovered and the mapping of the moon for the Apollo space program was done. Time magazine named Lowell one of “The World’s Most Important Places.”

Pine canyon golf

Pine Forests

Who Knew. . .that Flagstaff sits in the middle of the largest contiguous Ponderosa pine forest in the world? Drive anywhere around the area and you will spot acres and acres of the towering tree with long needles and big pinecones. Because the tree grows only at 6,000 to 8,000 feet, it thrives in Flagstaff’s 7,000-foot elevation. 


National Monuments

Who Knew. . .that Flagstaff is home to three national monuments—Walnut Canyon, Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupatki (wuh-paht-kee), each a short drive from the city (Walnut Canyon, 19 minutes; Sunset Crater, 28 minutes; Wupatki, 53 minutes). They are filled with geological wonders, ancient structures and amazing history - allow enough time to fully explore each one via driving, hiking and touring the visitor centers. 

Starry night sky in Flagstaff, AZ

Dark Sky City

Who Knew. . .that Flagstaff was named the world’s first International Dark Sky City in 2001? The designation is awarded to towns and cities with a commitment to preserving dark skies through specific outdoor lighting. That’s why you see light fixtures that aim light downward and/or are shielded on the sides. Lightbulbs are incandescent and compact fluorescent, yellow in color to minimize glare and sky glow. Look up and you’ll see the stars like you’ve never seen them before! On a clear night, you’ll want to head up to the Lowell Observatory for telescope viewings.

Mural Mice - Mabel Milligan

Haunted Flagstaff

Who Knew. . .that Flagstaff was haunted? Yep. . .there are seven places where spirits and strange happenings have occurred on a regular basis. If you’re interested in the town’s paranormal activity, you can get a self-guided walking tour map at the visitor center. They all are within three blocks of historic downtown Flagstaff. 

Denver to Flagstaff

Who Knew. . .that United Airlines will run twice-daily flights every day from Denver International Airport to Flagstaff beginning March 31, 2019. The non-stop flight will be about an hour and 45 minutes. 

Check out some more fun facts about Flagstaff

To read more on Lunar Legacy and visiting Flagstaff, go to Claudia's recent blog at Celebrate Lunar Landing at Hotel Monte Vista in Flagstaff, AZ.

About the Author

Claudia Carbone

Claudia Carbone is an award-winning travel writer based in Denver, Colorado. Her blog ,Sleepin Around-A Hotel and Travel blog, lives on She also writes regularly for The Denver Post, London Telegraph, Colorado Parent and Villager Newspaper.

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