From LA to Memhis, TN
I am moving from LA to the good ole south. I would like to take the 40 across till I eventually run into Memphis, TN. I don't want to stop in any hotels. I have my tent and hiking boots. I have no time restrictions and am looking to seem some of the Wild West and Southland.
Thanks a bunch,
Not even the TeePee motel in Holbrook? Gee, that's no fun!
Along with the obvious choice (Grand Canyon), you might try the loop trail around the top of the Hualapai Mountains by Kingman AZ. This is good only if the weather is nice -- if winter weather threatens, skip it. The trail is somewhere around 5 or 6 miles, and runs around the top of the mountains in the pines (maybe 8000 feet or so), with magnificent views all around. Also, there are old growth Ponderosa's up there that have trunks 5 or 10 feet in diameter at their bases -- and maybe 400-500 years old. They're worth seeing all on their own merit! From Kingman, take the county road south out to the park, and the trailhead is easy to find -- there's parking nearby.
On the other side of Arizona (east border), take US191 north from I-40 (or if you've been at Grand Canyon, you could take SR264 directly across the Navajo and Hopi Resvervations and see the Hubbel Trading Post at Ganado, and Canyon de Chelly at Chinle. You can camp right outside the Canyon in Cottonwood campground -- it's not first class (the campground) but it's OK. You can do a short hike to Whitehouse Ruins from the rim -- it is the only trail in that Canyon you can hike on your own (without a Navajo escort).
Then, if you want to take a really pretty drive, go out the "back" way -- follow the road from Chinle along Canyon del Muerto (the north side canyon) to Tsaile, and follow the highway south that runs down the NM border past Wheatfields Lake to Window Rock, before getting back on I-40 across NM. My atlas doesn't show the number, but it is Navajo Nation highway number.
Finally, there is lots to do within about a 60 mile radius of Flagstaff, including Jerome and the Sedona area, with LOTS of hiking and sightseeing. Pick up a guidebook on hikes in Arizona, and pick one or two of those Oak Creek Canyon hikes (you can find the books at Borders, there are several of them). If you run a search on this site with Flagstaff or Sedona as your key word, you'll come up with lots of prior posts. Happy planning!
In New Mexico
If you really want to see Wild West places -- be sure to go to Lincoln -- it'll be south and out of your way a little, but it is worth the time in my opinion. Aside from the OK Corral fight and Tombstone, there's probably been more movies about Billy the Kid and the Lincoln County War than any other western topic. Robert Utley wrote a great book about the "War," if you want to read about it before you go! Bob