Wupatki National Monument
Wupatki National and the adjacent Sunset Crater Volcano national monuments are often overlooked by tourists in a rush to get to Grand Canyon National Park. But visitors should consider a side trip to these parks, even if it's only taking the scenic loop road without stopping at any of the attractions.
Take U.S. 89 out of Flagstaff a dozen miles north to Sunset Crater and then on to Wupatki. This scenic detour adds about an hour of driving time but the rewards are many. That includes the scenic East Rim Drive and Desert Watchtower.
Wupatki is 104-room pueblo revealed along a trail of a half-mile roundtrip. The pueblos, including Wupatki, Wukoki, Lomaki and Box Canyon, are about 800 years old. Wukoki pueblo is reached by a trail of a few hundred yards. There is no camping at Wupatki.
The 35-mile (56-kilometer) scenic loop road offers views of the San Francisco Peaks, Wupatki Basin and Painted Desert.
It descends about 2,000 feet from Sunset Crater to Wupatki.
Admission is $20 per vehicle, allowing entry to both Sunset Crater and Wupatki national monuments.
Annual visitation: 212,828
Learn about neighboring Sunset Crater National Monument: