Arizona and California Trip: 4 Major Parks and a Monument

ArizonaCaliforniaParksHeaderA few fun facts and some infographics (scroll down) about
the major National Park Service sites we’ll visit:


  • Protects the park’s namesake cactus and the Sonoran Desert ecosystem
  • Contains the Tucson Mountains and Rincon Mountains that flank the city of Tucson
  • A mature saguaro can reach 60 feet in height, but they grow so slowly it can take 50-70 years just to develop the first arm
  • There are an estimated 1.8 million saguaros in the park
  • Between May and September daily highs average more than 100 degrees

Our Lodging: Lodge on the Desert – Tucson, AZ

Petrified Forest

  • Named for its large deposits of fossilized trees that were buried during the late Triassic period when the area had a tropical climate
  • Northern sections of the park cover the Painted Desert, featuring the brightly colored badlands of the Chinle Formation
  • More than 600 archaeological sites have been located
  • Remnants of Route 66 pass through the park
  • Elevation ranges from 5,300 to 6,235 feet

Our Lodging: Wigwam Motel – Holbrook, AZ

Canyon de Chelly

  • Among the most visited national monuments in the country
  • One of the longest continuously inhabited landscapes in North America
  • Preserves ruins of early tribes and the three major canyons that contain them, de Chelly, del Muerto and Monument
  • The most famous landform is a 750 foot spire of red sandstone called Spider Rock
  • Tours of the canyon floor are only allowed when accompanied by a ranger or native guide

Our Lodging: Thunderbird Lodge – Chinle, AZ

Grand Canyon

  • The one-mile deep gorge is often considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world
  • Total length of the canyon is 277 miles and maximum width is 18 miles
  • Second highest visitation of the 59 national parks after Great Smoky Mountains
  • The Colorado River has carved through nearly 2 billion years of geologic history, which is visible in the multi-colored layers of rock in the walls
  • John Wesley Powell led the first successful expedition through the canyon in 1869
  • Weather conditions vary greatly by elevation and season, with everything from blizzards to 100 degree + temperatures during the year

Our Lodging: Maswick Lodge – Grand Canyon Village, AZ

Death Valley

  • Largest U.S. national park outside of Alaska
  • Hottest and driest place in North America, some areas receive less than 2 inches of rain a year
  • Record worldwide observed high air temperature of 134 degrees was recorded in 1913
  • Contains Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America at 282 feet below sea level, while 14,505 ft Mt. Whitney is just 85 miles away
  • Few developed trails mean most hiking in the park is cross-country

Our Lodging: Stovepipe Wells Hotel – Death Valley, CA



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