Exploring Riordan Mansion State Historic Park

Riordan Mansion State Historic Park is a great place to spend the afternoon out of the intense sun while appreciating Arizona’s rich history.  Riordan Mansion State Historic Park is located in the famous city of Flagstaff, Arizona, this park showcases a well-preserved early twentieth-century mansion owned by the famous Riordan brothers. 

If you’re interested in visiting Riordan Mansion State Historic Park, you’re in the right place. This article will tell you all about what Riordan Mansion State Historic Park is known for, the top spots to see, hiking trails, park information, and nearby accommodation options. 

1. What is Riordan Mansion State Historic Park known for?

Riordan Mansion State Historic Park compared to many of the other Arizona state parks that serve to showcase the timelessly beautiful Arizona outdoors, this state park is more focused on preserving the human history of Arizona by maintaining an indoor museum that will transport you right back in time. For that reason, Riordan Mansion State Historic Park is most well known for two things: the Riordan Mansion and the Riordan families who lived there. 

Riordan Mansion

Built in 1904 for two Riordan families, the Riordan Mansion is an impressive reminder of how the wealthy used to live in small Arizona logging towns. In fact, this historic home was designed by Charles Whittlesey, who is also famous for designing the El Tovar hotel in The Grand Canyon National Park. 

The early twentieth-century home is built on five acres of land and has forty rooms, over 13,000 square feet of living area, and a servants’ quarters. Most notably, the Riordan Mansion is one of the best examples of American Arts and Crafts-style architecture open to public visitors today. Arts and Crafts-style architecture is famous for incorporating the interior design and art of a home into the full architectural style, rather than just the frame of the structure.

The interior of the Riordan family homes remains practically exactly as they would have been in 1904. Today they are available to be viewed by guided tour only,

The Riordan Families

The Riordan family, spearheaded by two brothers named Timothy and Michael, was very well known in the twentieth century and remains an important part of Flagstaff’s history to this day. The Riordans helped develop the lumber, railroad, cattle, and banking industries in the area. Additionally, the brothers also had an influence on the political environment of Flagstaff at the time.

Timothy and Michael Riordan married two sisters, Caroline and Elizabeth Metz. Timothy and Caroline had two daughters, while Michael and Elizabeth had six children of their own. Together, these two Riordan families built a large mansion. Their mansion contained two separate homes that were ultimately connected by a common area known as the billiard room. Today, visitors are invited to see the inside of this impressive home on guided tours. Visitors are also welcome to look around the outside of the estate on their own guided walk.

2. What are the Top Spots to See at Riordan Mansion State Historic Park?

Since the Riordan Mansion State Historic Park is centered around the Riordan Mansion, it’s highly recommended that all visitors experience a guided tour of the mansion and take a gander through the Riordan Mansion State Historic Visitor Center’s educational exhibits. Plus, if you can, you should totally plan your visit around one of the park’s monthly events. 

Guided Tours of the Riordan Mansion

You’ll find hour-long guided tours of the East House at the Riordan Mansion are offered daily on the hour. These personally guided tours feature information on the Riordan family and Flagstaff history, architecture, and furniture from the time period. The historic home museum contains a unique and authentic collection of original furnishings actually used by the Riordan family themselves.

The first floor of the West House is also included as part of the tour and showcases several displays about the Riordan family, the Arts and Crafts movement, and other local Flagstaff and Arizona interests. No trip to Riordan Mansion State Historic Park is complete without one of these tours! However, reservations are recommended and can be made by calling the park office at +1 (928) 779-4395.

Riordan Mansion State Historic Park Visitor Center Exhibits

The Riordan Mansion Historic Park Visitor’s Center is located in what used to be the Riordan family’s automotive garage. Here, you’ll find many educational exhibits on the history of the Riordan Family, plus an introductory video that’s a great way to get a feel for the park before setting out on a tour, and a children’s “touch table”. 

Monthly Events

Riordan Mansion State Historic Park offers amazing programming every month of the year through the Arizona Historical Society. These programs range from guest lectures to whiskey tasting and parties. All are wonderful and well worth checking out or planning a trip around!  

3) Hiking and Trails Information

There are no true hiking trails at Riordan Mansion State Historic Park, but there is a self-guided tour walk that is a great way to see the area while getting some fresh air! Check out the self-guided walk portion of the Riordan Mansion State Historic Park map for more information.

If you’re hoping to hit some true trails after your time at Riordan Mansion, there are plenty to be found in and around the city of Flagstaff, Arizona. Feel free to inquire with a Riordan Mansion Park Ranger about these trails as well. They know the area well!

4) Park Information

Park and Facility Hours

Riordan Mansion State Historic Park’s hours vary depending on the season. Please note that this park is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Years Day. 

Summer Hours (May through October): 

  • Park open from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm daily
  • Tours begin on the hour from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Winter Hours (November through April):

  • 10:30 am to 5:00 pm from Thursday – Monday
  • Closed Tuesday and Wednesday
  • Tours begin on the hour from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm

Park Tour Fees

  • Adult (14+): $12.00
  • Youth (7–13): $6.00
  • Child (0–6): FREE

Please note that the Riordan Mansion’s tour fee is not included with Arizona State Parks and Trails day-use passes.

Gift Shop

Riordan Mansion State Historic Park has a gift shop located within the Visitor Center that offers everything from beautiful coffee table books on the Arts and Crafts Movement to time period-style toys. Typical souvenirs such as t-shirts, sweaters, lapel pins, postcards, and magnets are also available here.

Picnic Areas

Riordan Mansion State Historic Park offers first-come, first-served picnic tables in their parking area during park hours. This is a perfect spot to eat a quick sack lunch or enjoy the sunshine while waiting for your tour to begin!

5. Where to Stay Near Riordan Mansion State Historic Park

If you’re looking to stay near Riordan Mansion State Historic Park, you’ll be pleased to know that the park is located inside of the famous city of Flagstaff, Arizona. Flagstaff is known for its cultural diversity, beauty, and history and offers a wide array of local and chain restaurants, lodging options, gas stations, and more. Rest assured that you will be able to find hotels, motels, resorts, vacation rentals, and RV/tent campsites all within minutes of the Riordan Mansion. 

We can’t recommend sandwiching your visit to the Riordan Mansion with spending time enjoying the city of Flagstaff enough. However, even if you just stop by the state park for an afternoon to learn about the Riordan family, you’re still sure to feel transported back in time and thankful you made the trip.