Coconino National Forest Flagstaff, Arizona 86004Official Website
The Painted Desert Vista and the Doney Picnic area are out-of-the-way picnic areas located in the most recently active portion of the San Francisco volcano field. That doesn’t mean they’re dangerous, however. The volcanoes in this vicinity have been dormant for 800 years. What it does mean is that this scenery is some of the most unique in Arizona. Cinder cones and lava flows dot the landscape. Hardy desert plants stand in sharp contrast to the dark volcanic soils in which they struggle for survival. On the horizon, the pastels of the painted desert add a streak of color. There’s even a guided nature trail at the Doney area to help you get a better perspective on the landscape, history, and culture of this colorful land.
Also located on the same road are Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monuments. Sunset Crater features a self-guided nature walk through an extensive lava field and interpretive displays on volcanic activity. The centerpiece of Wupatki National Monument is a four-story stone apartment house created around 900 years ago. Wupatki also has interpretive displays on the ancient cultures that once thrived in this seemingly inhospitable area.
Content from Official Website