Route 89A – Prescott to Flagstaff
There are so many places to stop to visit along Route 89A between Prescott and Flagstaff.
We climbed to nearly 7000 feet to the Mingus Mountain Recreation Area, but were disappointed that many of the camping areas were either not open for the season, or were opened with just limited spaces. There are so many people wanting to camp given that spring break is starting all over the country, I’m not sure why the USDA doesn’t open these camps sooner in the season.
After reaching the highest point on the road, we began to descend, ending up in Jerome, a mile high city which was originally a city of 15,000 during the copper boom, but is now a city of 500, mostly artists and restaurant owners. Jerome is also the home of the Jerome Historical State Park, housed in an old mansion originally belonging to a copper magnate, where one can learn about the history of the area. In addition, one of the old mines is open for viewing.
We stopped at Red Rock Canyon SP for lunch and a two plus mile hike through the red rocks, pines, oaks, and juniper. It is absolutely stunning, and the hike was very pleasant. I imagine on a weekend that this park is packed. The area was originally privately owned, but after numerous transactions was made a day use only state park. The house of the original owner, the Apache Fire House, sits in an outcrop overlooking the park and mountains beyond. Amazing.
North of the state park is the town of Sedona. Lots of people. Obviously a tourist destination with lots of restaurants, galleries, gift shops, and inns — and yes, an ice cream and fudge shop. There is a company that runs the Pink Jeep Tours to take you out onto the dirt roads to explore the incredible scenery.
After driving up through Oak Creek Canyon we joined interstate 17 briefly before heading east on Interstate 40. Quickly the snow capped mountains, pines, and oaks were replaced by nothingness. Our campground, Homolovi SP is in a flat area where we can see for miles.
This campground has both electric/ water sites and primitive sites. Mostly is is a stopping place for those on Interstate 40 to spend a night before continuing on as it is just a few miles north of the interstate, but it is also the location of a number of ruins, is close to the Petrified Forest National Park, and is just 2 hours from the Grand Canyon. David was initially disappointed with the slow AT&T internet, but it sped up later in the evening.