From the desert to the surf, these three stretches of the old Mother Road have outdoor adventure, high culture, and some of the West’s best road food
Lowell Observatory. Flagstaff is the world’s first International Dark Sky City, and the Lowell Observatory is one of the country’s oldest (founded in 1894). Weather permitting, there’s often nighttime telescope viewing. $11; lowell.edu
Tinderbox Kitchen. Delivers clever riffs on American comfort food like Dr Pepper–braised hog jowls and jalapeño mac ’n’ cheese. $$$; closed Sun; 34 S. San Francisco St.; 928/226-8400.
Flagstaff Ale Trail. Follow this self-guided walking tour of downtown’s breweries, including the Mother Road Brewing Company. flagstaffaletrail.com
Shooting Star Inn (pictured; shootingstarinn.com). Just 20 miles from Flagstaff, the solar-powered Shooting Star Inn is smack in the heart of dark-sky country. Guided by innkeeper Tom Taylor, guests use the telescopes or binoculars, then take home photos from his astrophotography cameras. $225, including breakfast and astronomy session.