6 Roadside Attractions on The Way to the Grand Canyon

Visit a utopian community, browse in a bohemian artists' enclave, shop in a trading post, or leave a note on the wall of a tiny mountain chapel.

Experience the historic and eclectic at these convenient stops.

Meteor Crater near Winslow, Arizona

People taking the Guided Rim Tour at the Meteor Crater east of Flagstaff, AZ. Courtesy photo
People taking the Guided Rim Tour at the Meteor Crater east of Flagstaff, AZ. Courtesy photo

A meteorite 150 feet across and weighing several hundred thousand tons formed a 550 ft. deep crater near Winslow, Arizona. The visitor experience includes outdoor observation trails, air conditioned indoor viewing, wide screen movie theater, Interactive Discovery Center, unique gift and rock shop, and Astronaut Memorial Park at the Visitor Center located on the crater rim.

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Arcosanti Arse
Apse at the Arcosanti experimental town by CodyR [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Driving across the high desert north of the Phoenix metro area, you will spot an odd collection of buildings to the east in what looks to be the middle of nowhere. It is Arcosanti, the half-finished utopian community designed by the late architect Paolo Soleri. Arcosanti offers an intimate, unusual glimpse of life in the desert. Learn about Soleri’s vision for deep green living with a free tour of the eco-friendly, uber-hippie complex that is comprised of apartments, workshops (world-famous wind chimes are made here), gardens, walking paths, and a retail store. Located 65 miles north of Phoenix just off I-17, exit 262 Cordes Junction.

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Jerome, Arizona

Jerome Arizona
Jerome, Arizona, as seen from Jerome Cemetery. The hill marked with a \”J\” is Cleopatra Hill. By Finetooth [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

A 19th-century mining boomtown turned bohemian artists’ enclave, Jerome is perched on top of Cleopatra Hill in the Bradshaw Mountains overlooking central Arizona. The small community is full of funky shops, artist studios, antique stores and coffee nooks. Walk down the main street, which is literally carved into a cliff, and appreciate one of the most eclectic and historic towns in Arizona. From I-17, take AZ 260 and then US 89A up the hill to Jerome.

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Cameron Trading Post


Located on US 89 at the turn-off to AZ 64, 32 miles east of Grand Canyon’s East Entrance, the original trading post built in the early 1900s traded goods from the Hopi and Navajo tribes. Today, Cameron Trading Post houses a large gift shop selling Native American crafts as well as souvenirs. The facility also includes an art gallery, ice cream fountain, convenience store, public restrooms, and a shaded grassy lawn. Buy authentic Native jewelry or sit on a bench under large cottonwood trees and eat an ice cream cone.

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Chapel of the Holy Dove

The Chapel of the Holy Dove by Darren Williams
The Chapel of the Holy Dove. Photo by Darren Williams

Located on the north side of US 89 (near milepost 236) between Flagstaff and Grand Canyon, this small building is open 24 hours and is covered with notes people have pinned to the walls about their travels, prayers and bizarre messages.

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Grand Falls

The Grand Falls of the Little Colorado River (April 2010) Photo by Frank Kovalchek [CC BY 2.0 (], via…
The Grand Falls of the Little Colorado River (April 2010) Photo by Frank Kovalchek [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

This waterfall 30-miles from Flagstaff has two nicknames: “Mini Niagra Falls” which is ironic since Grand Falls is taller, and “Chocolate Falls” because of the muddy water. Read a related article, Waterfalls Near the Grand Canyon