Hidden Gems in Arizona

There are a ton of Hidden Gems in Arizona that are completely FREE. Most people know Arizona to be a destination for golfing, hiking, spring training games, and other professional sporting events. What most people fail to realize is there is much more to the state beyond the big city of Phoenix. Arizona is home to many hidden gems that are free! Here are just 9 of those hidden gems you can check out throughout the state. 

***Disclaimer, some of these exciting, hidden gems might be temporarily closed due to Covid-19 or they may have additional restrictions. Plan accordingly prior to your visit. 

Navajo Code Talkers Exhibit

Location: Burger King – Kayenta, AZ. 
Believe it or not, there is a very interesting exhibit in a Burger King restaurant in Kayenta, Arizona. Navajo code talkers were essentially bilingual speakers that were recruited by the United States Marine Corp during World War II. 

This hidden gem, which is, of course, free, offers in-depth information on the famed WWII counterintelligence program. The Navajo code talkers were successful because the Japanese could not crack their codes.

So why is there a famed Navajo code talker exhibit at this Burger King? The original owner of this Burger King was the son of Navajo code talker, Richard Mike. He wanted a place to commemorate the importance of the code talkers.

Grand Falls

Location: 30 miles east of Flagstaff, AZ.
Also known as the chocolate falls, Grand Falls is another free, hidden Arizona gem. These muddy falls are a grand sight to see, especially when the snow melts on the White Mountains.

In addition to its unique color, Grand Falls is technically taller than Niagara Falls. Grand Falls stands at 181 feet tall, whereas Niagara Falls is 176 feet tall. There are picnic tables and gazebos to eat a nice lunch and gaze at the natural beauty of these falls.

Lava River Cave

Location: 14 miles north of Flagstaff.
Thousands of years ago this mile-long lava tube was formed from molten rock from the erupted volcanic event in Hart Prairie. You can walk through this cave and explore the small wave-like undulations in the floor with stone icicles hanging from the ceiling.

For this visit, dress in warm clothes and sturdy shoes. Even in the summer months, this cave only reaches a chilly 42-degree Fahrenheit. On certain days, you can find ice inside the cave. Be sure to bring a flashlight to enjoy the wonders of this hidden Arizona gem.

Hackberry General Store

Location: Kingman, AZ.
Nothing is more fun than cruising along Route 66 (which is also free, minus a full tank of gas). A favorite place for many travelers includes the Hackberry General Store. This store has a rustic feel with tin-can billboard, nostalgic gas pumps, souvenirs and snacks.

Horseshoe Bend

Location: Near Page, AZ.
A hidden gem that many people drive right past is Horseshoe Bend. You can take a quick hike to breathtaking views in the natural beauty of Arizona. The bend is a geological spectacle that was sculpted by the Colorado River. Show up in time for sunset for that perfect selfie shot.

Hubbell Trading Post

Location: Ganado, AZ.
A free historical gem, Hubbell Trading Post will take you back in time. This is a homestead of farm animals, Navajo culture, and building furnished with endless artifacts.

St. Anthony’s Greek Orthodox Monastery

Location: Sonoran Desert near Florence, AZ.
Home to over 40 monks, the St. Anthony Greek Orthodox Monastery is an oasis in the desert. Visitors of all faiths are welcome to tour the monastery and enjoy the rich history. Take note of the dress code before your visit.

Rose Garden

Location: Mesa Community College
The desert’s largest rose garden also happens to be a free, hidden gem. With over 9000 bushes, there will be a ton to see and smell. There will be vibrant colors and amazing displays of our nation’s national flower – the Rose.

Roy Purcell Murals

Location: Chloride, AZ.
Chloride, Arizona is definitely not a popular destination and most people probably have no clue where it is. Chloride is a town with a population of just 352. It lies north of Kingman, AZ. 

Named “The Journey,” this 2000 square-foot set of murals is painted across a few boulders. The artist, Roy Purcell, used abstract Modernism to express this artistic design. 

What is most remarkable is that the colors continue to remain vibrant, even after the harshness of weather events. This was due in part to the restoration that took place in 2006.  This is a fascinating and free hidden, Arizona gem.