Day 7: Jerome, Cottonwood and Sedona

Highway 89A

Also known as the most amazing road to drive! If you love driving, and long for a road that seems to be made for a Porsche 911, then this is the road for you. Sadly we were not driving a Porsche 911 but rather a GMC Terrain.

We took it easy yesterday morning and then in the afternoon decided to explore Highway 89A. I had found this route for my Mom and Dan back in September 2011. I looked on Google Maps and saw all the twists and turns and told them, “you gotta drive this road it looks amazing.” They did and were incredibly impressed.

Anyone who’s known me for a while knows I love the Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire. It’s possibly my favorite scenic road to drive, and it’s where Craig engaged to me. This route puts shame to it.

Entering Jerome

You climb out of Prescott, up and up to 5000 feet through switchbacks and hair pin turns, as a passenger you can look back and down to see where you just were. The landscape is sharp mountain sides, pine and cactus. Depending on the turn you may also be granted the incredible view down a notch to where you’re going. All the while way off in the distance is more mountains.

Craig drove so I could be the crazy person snapping photos. I locked the doors and hung out the window several times. As a photographer I was getting so frustrated because there were so many amazing views to take in.

Jerome reminded me of every picture I’ve seen of those little towns on the sides of mountains in Italy. The roads are big enough for horse and cart, but somehow today carry cars. Tiny shops all nestled together, on roads stacked on switchbacks. The entire town seems to be an artist haven, with all different kinds of local wares for sale. We didn’t get a chance to stop, but when we return it’s going to be one of my first destinations.

We descended into Cottonwood also known as Clarkdale which is a more bustling town with luscious green valleys below it, still set high in the mountains but with palm trees. Reminded me more of the California coast minus the ocean.

After Cottonwood we got our best treat yet, Sedona. I’ve heard the hype, didn’t think I’d be too impressed, and I now have to eat those words. Amazing, stunning, incredible, are all adjectives that do not do it justice. The massive rock monuments around the area are breathtaking. We arrived at the perfect time 5-7pm, so we had amazing golden light.

Sedona HDR

I had read up before arriving that driving up to the airport will give you amazing views. It was worth it. We pulled off at the turn out for watching the sunset. The landscape was amazing. I could have stayed there all evening taking photos.

My favorite subject

We decided to head up to Flagstaff for dinner, but before we could we passed the “Shops” at Sedona and there was outdoor seating on a terrace with a view of more of the monuments. We ate at the Wildflower Bread Company which seems to be like Panera Bread but healthier and more upscale. We truly had dinner with a view.

Sedona

After dinner we headed up to Flagstaff through the canyons of the Coconino National Forest. The roads didn’t disappoint, beautiful curves, arching tree cover with sheer rock sides. The sun was setting fast so my photos were getting harder and harder to take.

Coconino National Forest

Leaving the forest we climbed into Flagstaff at an elevation of 6,910 feet. I love Flagstaff, even our first quick lunch stop I fell in love. We hopped back on I-40 and traveled back home to rest up.

If you are ever in Arizona to visit, make sure you drive Highway 89A, you will not be disappointed.

Cactus

Lots of photos on Flickr!