AZ traveling along route 77 takes you through awe-inspiring Navajo County

Our recent Arizona travels brought us to towering sandstone peaks, untouched Ponderosa pines,  and vast canyons that indulge your spirit.  Grab some adventure and enjoy these photos of Navajo County in Arizona.

State route 77 is an Arizona highway that stretches north from Holbrook to the south junction of I-10.

We ventured north on SR 77 towards Snowflake, AZ enabling us to enjoy the dazzling sites of Navajo County.

Navajo County in Arizona
our dogs love exploring the area

Navajo County is in northeastern Arizona.  The climate varies due to the diversity of the geographic area.  You will experience normal winter weather and delightful summers in the White Mountains.  On the other hand, the lower desert areas are warm with little or no snow.

Navajo County in Arizona
Salt River Canyon in Navajo County, AZ

Indian reservation land makes up approximately 66 percent of Navajo County, AZ.  The 2 main areas are divided by the Mogollon Rim.  North of the Rim is dry and desert like.   On the south side of the Mogollon Rim you will experience mountains and forests overflowing with pine and pinon juniper trees.   Navajo County has the largest continuous stand of Ponderosa Pines in all of North America.

Cedar Canyon in Navajo County, AZ
Cedar Canyon in Navajo County, AZ

Cedar Canyon Valley is in Long Tom Canyon.  Cedar Canyon is one of our regular stops when heading south on route 77.

White Mountains
The White Mountains in Arizona

It is common for people to think of a vast, open desert when describing AZ.  Surprisingly,  Arizona is a state of extremes when it comes to geography.  In the southeast, one can experience some of the hottest temperatures in the world.  A few hours north in the White Mountains of Navajo County, you will experience a true winter with significant snowfall.

Mogollon Rim
Ponderosa Pines view from the Mogollon Rim

When looking at a map of Arizona you will see a jagged ink line making its way across the state.  This giant escarpment of volcanic and sedimentary rock is called the Mogollon Rim, pronounced,  “muggy own“.

Full of beauty and mystery, the Mogollon Rim is surrounded by history that formed from erosion and movements in the earth.  When visiting Arizona it is worth a trip through Navajo County to experience the spectacular white cliffs of the uppermost sandstone stratum of the Mogollon Rim.  These windblown white vertical cliffs are 280 million years old, the Permian Period,  and 350 feet thick.  The thickest on earth.

Mogollon Rim
The Mogollon Rim in Arizona
Mogollon Rim
Pine Trees along the Mogollon Rim

In Navajo County you will also find the Petrified Forest National Park.  Fossil lovers will be thrilled to study the fallen trees that are dated to the late Triassic period, 225 million years ago.  

Petrified Tree
Petrified Forest National Park tree

Navajo County was formed on March 21, 1895 and includes Navajo, Hopi and Apache Indian reservations.

Native American celebration
Native American celebration in Navajo County Arizona

By the time it became Navajo County, the railroad had crossed the county for more than a decade, and North America’s third largest ranch, the Aztec Land and Cattle Company near Holbrook, had been established.

The Hopi Pueblo of Oraibi Indian Reservation is further south and one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in the US.

Show Low Arizona
Show Low in Navajo County, Arizona

Ranching is a major portion of Navajo County’s economy along with coal mining, timber and tourism.  There was an uplifting of the soul as we rode past the curious horses.

Advertisements

What is the Mogollon Rim? – Northern Arizona’s Rim Country

The MOGOLLON RIM (pronounced “muggy-own”) marks the southern limit of the Colorado Plateau and is one of Arizona’s most striking features.  Rim visitors can stand 2,000 feet above the hot desert below and enjoy endless panoramic views from Mogollon’s rocky escarpment across mountainous abuttals.  Arizona’s Grand Canyon is among the top geological wonders of the world; but the Mogollon Rim is Arizona’s most staunch geological feature.

northern arizona place to visit travel
Mogollon Rim Escarpment View of AZ

The Rim’s average elevation is about 7,000 feet and it stretches across the Coconino National Forest.  Daily visitors arrive to see the expansive vistas above thousands of acres of the largest continuous stand of Ponderosa Pines in the world.  On a clear day you can see all the way to Mount Lemmon.

What formed the Mogollon Rim?  Geologists say this rock monster formed by catastrophic upturns and volcanism; followed by flooding and erosion during the Mesozoic Era.  This time period would be approximately 65 to 250 million years ago.  Important to note, Mesozoic Era started near the time of earth’s, well documented, mass extinction aka (the Great Dying) of non avian dinosaurs, most marine, insect and plant life.

travel Arizona sites to see Payson
Pine Trees along the Mogollon Rim

Along the rim, evidence of volcanic activity is prolific and commands the landscape.   Geographers have measured Mogollon’s volcanic, sedimentary rock bastion and found it to be over 200 miles long, reaching across Arizona’s Coconino National Forest.  The uppermost sandstone layer of the rim is called Coconino Sandstone and it forms breathtaking white cliffs.  This stratum of sandstone formed during the Permian Period, over 200 million years ago and is one of the thickest sandstones on earth.

Northern Arizona Mogollon Rim
Panoramic View from the Mogollon Rim

The existence of the Mogollon Rim explains various weather events, drainage and runoff patterns, alluvial soil types, Arizona floods, water recreation and irrigation.  When the warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico reaches the Mogollon Rim it rises up to meet the cold, drier Rim air where it condenses and falls.  Prehistoric cultures thrived and expanded due to the dependable water from the Mogollon Rim.

mogollon rim map chart trails
Map of the Mogollon Rim Forest Road 300 “Rim Road”

A popular scenic drive is along Forest Road 300, aka “Rim Road”.  It is labeled FR 300 on the Mogollon Rim map above and can be accessed from the east, near Show Low, or from the west, just north of Pine and Strawberry.  According to the National Forest Website, all forest roads are gravelled and suitable for passenger vehicles; but are closed in the winter.

arizona Rim Country

View Points and Vista Stops along Mogollon Rim

arizona mountain rim country
Cabin Loop Trail at Mogollon Rim

Forest Road 300 takes you along the rim’s edge with stops near historical cabins and trails, then winding turns through forest and highly populated wildlife areas.  Some travelers stand on Mogollon’s vistas and try to absorb its majesty;  while others spend a few days visiting local museums, learning the history and exploring the trails.  Either way, add the Mogollon Rim to your list of places to visit, it will leave you breathless!

Chevelon Canyon Lake and Ranch in Northern Arizona

When visiting Arizona consider a trip to Chevelon Canyon Lake.  This magnificent fishing lake is part of the Mogollon Rim and situated 15 miles west of Heber-Overgaard in north Arizona.

Chevelon Canyon lake
Chevelon Canyon Lake in Arizona

It is stocked with Rainbow Trout two times a year, in the spring and the fall.  Chevelon is a blue ribbon lake and well known for its trophy size fish.  Make sure you have your trout stamp on your fishing license and pack a variety of flies because live bait is prohibited at Chevelon Canyon Lake.

chevelon lake trout
Chevelon Lake trout

Chevelon Canyon Lake is in a very remote area in a deep canyon.  The drive is entirely on unpaved forest road that leads to a parking area.  After parking at Chevelon you have to carry your items; like a canoe, fishing or camping gear almost a mile down a steep road to get to the edge of the water.

Rest assured, Chevelon is one lake in Arizona that is never crowded. 🙂

chevelon canyon lake
Chevelon Canyon, Arizona Lakes

This lake sets at an elevation just over 6,300 feet.

Chevelon Canyon Creek
Chevelon Canyon Creek

Chevelon Creek flows into Chevelon Canyon Lake.  The surface area of this northern Arizona lake is 208 acres and average depth is just under 40 feet.  Some sections of the lake can reach 80 feet deep.

chevelon canyon
Chevelon Canyon in Arizona

During your visit to this gorgeous Chevelon Canyon area you may stumble upon some of the oldest ancient petroglyphs in the southwestern US.  So far there are over 4,000 rock drawings in Chevelon Canyon that have been studied and documented.

Chevelon Canyon Petroglyphs
Chevelon Canyon Petroglyphs

A large amount of the petroglyphs are unique to Chevelon Canyon only and date as far back as 3,000 B.C.

Snowflake is Arizona’s — Little House on the Prairie

The quaint, little town of Snowflake is located in northern Arizona.  Snowflake was founded in 1878 by two families.  The Snows and the Flakes; hence the town name.

1800 architecture in arizona
historic buildings in Snowflake, AZ
Snowflake, Arizona country store
COUNTRY STORE in Snowflake, AZ  has all your necessities
Snowflake, AZ sign
Snowflake Arizona founded 1878

While we explored up and down most streets, we noticed many areas that reminded us of a charming New England neighborhood.

The town of Snowflake was first settled by Mormon pioneers, Mr. William Flake and Erastus Snow.

Horses in Arizona
Snowflake is in Navajo County, AZ

Gently nestled between Arizona’s Painted Desert to the north and the breathtaking White Mountains to the south is where you will find this charming town.

The elevation ranges from 5,580 to 5,790.  Free-range cattle and horses are seen roaming on open land.

town of Mr. Snow and Mr. Flake
Mr. Snow and Mr. Flake established this town in 1878

The town is a quiet getaway with only 5,000 residents.  Travelers can visit over 100 historic buildings and learn much of Snowflake’s history at the Pioneer Museum.

A note: if you plan traveling to this area:  the local police are very strict with the speed limit We learned the hard way.

museums in Arizona
with historical museum in Snowflake, AZ
northern arizona towns to visit
Snowflake, Arizona
live off grid in Arizona
pioneer spirit in Snowflake, Arizona

I asked a long time resident, “What do you like about Snowflake?”  Without hesitation he said, “Snowflake, Arizona is a Community of Communities.”   “Christians, Farmers,  Environmentalists, Mormons, Homesteaders, etc… all have a place in Snowflake.”

small town with farms in arizona
Snowflake in Northern Arizona

Winter temperatures can get as low as -5 at night but always warm up during the day. There is no shortage of sunshine and many homes are powered by solar energy.

snowflake, az pictures
country homes in Snowflake, AZ

Several of our relatives live in the Snowflake area.  Their reasons for homesteading here are simple:

  • the air has very little pollution
  • living Green and off the Grid
  • warmth during the day and cooler temperatures at night
  • love of friends and nature
  • Valley fever fungus & mold are no problem
  • peaceful lifestyle
  • affordable acreage

Off the Grid living is very familiar to Snowflake and Taylor, Arizona.  Solar and wind powered homes are commonplace.

solar power in Snowflake Arizona
less pollution in Snowflake, AZ

Spring can get windy with gusts over 60mph and that can be a challenge.  Being prepared can help.  The average rainfall is approximately 12 inches a year, received mainly during the summer monsoon.

Snowflake has a sister town, Taylor, bordering it on the south, and these two communities have grown together.

land in snowflake arizona
Snowflake, AZ has dry climate

Other than a mild rise along the edges of the valley and a few sudden pointy hills, the surrounding terrain is pretty flat.  The dry climate makes it difficult for large-scale farming but it is not uncommon to see fields of corn and alfalfa.

towns close to show low arizona
small country town of Snowflake, AZ

Heritage Inn Bed and Breakfast offers a taste of Snowflake’s small-town charm. The inn, a renovated Victorian home from 1890, offers 10 room choices.

Snowflake Arizona Bed and Breakfast
Heritage Inn Bed and Breakfast in Snowflake

We stayed at the Heritage Inn and were overwhelmed with the superb customer service.  Not to mention the delicious home cooked breakfasts!

EHS - electrical hypersensitivity
Snowflake rental homes for people with Environment Sensitivities

For people coping with Chemical and Electrical Hypersensitivity there is a MCS / EHS homesteading community in Snowflake, Arizona.  I’ve listed brief information and a link to their website below.

This website’s primary purpose is to give practical information for people with severe multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) and electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS/ES).  http://www.eiwellspring.org/arizonalocal.html

electrical hypersensitivity community
MCS / EHS community in Snowflake, Arizona

MCS and EHS are closely related illnesses, which together are referred to as Environmental Illness (EI).

Happy Arizona travels and we hope to hear about your visits to Snowflake!