The amphitheater calls to mind a miniaturized Bryce Canyon bristling with colorful hoodoos. Memorial for Dale Shewalter- Father of the Arizona Trail. From Flagstaff in the snow around Mount Humphrey’s to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and, at last, reaching the northern terminus, this final section in Arizona had a little bit of everything. The challenge: make it from my house in the suburbs of west Phoenix to the Colorado River at the bottom of the Grand Canyon using as few paved roads as possible. The San Francisco Peaks have considerable religious significance for several American Indian tribes. What a wonderful event! For me, it was Flagstaff. To reach the starting point, drive on Interstate 17 (or I-40) to downtown Flagstaff, and drive north on Highway 180 (North Fort Valley Road). About an hour north of Flagstaff, you will come upon the crossroads outpost of Cameron, a small village along the Little Colorado River that features a trading post, gas station, lodge, and gallery.It’s worth a short stop to peruse the historic trading post’s Native American art and quaint sandstone buildings. I flew across the country from Ohio to attend Northern Arizona University. After a wonderful time on the Women’s Backpacking trip, the next day I led a group of folks on a hike from Sandy’s Canyon into Flagstaff. The four major summits of the San Francisco Peaks are Fremont, Doyle, Agassiz and Humphreys. Continue 3 miles and turn left on FR 171. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. It ended up being a total pukefest back at the hotel that lasted all night long. I tried to call, but there was no cell reception. No Anne. I got it done, but hiking is no fun at all when you’re tired and have to stop to throw up. And as of October, Monument Valley and other tourism sites on the Navajo Reservation are still closed and curfews may be in effect. ( Log Out /  The stunning drives are arranged by region and include starting and ending points, mileage, photos, full descriptions and suggestions on locally owned places to eat and sleep. Getting from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon is simple! The South Kaibab Trail is a hiking trail in Grand Canyon National Park, located in the U.S. state of Arizona. I was curious if you are eventually going to do a write up on the gear you used, specifically the GG Mariposa. The entrance requires scrambling over boulders but then the chamber widens. That’s where the Arizona Trail leads to and not only to but also through the Grand Canyon whouhou. We camped at the Kaibab Forest Boundary. Subscribe to azcentral.com today. The “trail” is actually on a series of ranch roads. The next day, my husband Brian drove up to Flagstaff to see me and I got to relax a bit before the Gateway Community Event at Wanderlust Brewing Company. Over five days you’ll see terrain as diverse as anywhere in northern Arizona, from the big sky country across the Babbitt Ranch to the pinon-juniper forests that lead right up to the South Rim of Grand Canyon – one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The next day Anne left and I backpacked the rest of the way to the Grandview Lookout Tower south of the Grand Canyon. Winding trail through aspen glades, views of the Peaks and fancy signs telling me I have less than 200 miles until Utah. Unlike the Bright Angel Trail which also begins at the south rim of Grand Canyon and leads to the Colorado River, the South Kaibab Trail follows a ridge out to Skeleton Point allowing for 360-degree views of the canyon. Thank you for doing the walk to raise awareness, I am amazed at how many people I encounter in AZ that have no idea there is an amazing trail running the length of the state. Part of the Arizona Trail, an 800-mile trail that crosses Arizona from Mexico to Utah, and the only passage through an urban area. To the west, Kendrick Mountain, a large lava dome, rises above the forest. Arizona Snowbowl. "Arizona State Parks: A Guide to Amazing Places in the Grand Canyon State." Each road trip is paired with attractions and activities including nearby hiking trails. Later, I met Levi, the videographer, at the Grand Canyon so that we could shoot some footage. All rights reserved. Drive 9 miles north of Flagstaff on U.S. 180 and turn left on Forest Road 245 (at milepost 230). The bill, which already passed the House in a bi-partisan manner, was introduced in the U.S. … Weatherford Trail. Move quietly and stay alert for mule deer, elk, pronghorn antelope, coyote, badger and porcupine. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Mileage: The scenic road is 31 miles (Milepost 224 to Milepost 255). Anne was waiting for me at dry Kelly Tank and we took a lunch break with the sound of mooing cows. A majority of the Stagecoach course follows the Arizona Trail and the historic Flagstaff to Grand Canyon Stagecoach Line route used by adventure seeking tourists between 1897 and 1901. Follow him on Twitter @AZRogerNaylor and keep up with him at https://www.facebook.com/RogerNaylorinAZ. #2 of 82 things to do in Grand Canyon National Park. For those that prefer skiing on more level terrain, Arizona Nordic Village offers miles of groomed cross-country trails during winter, and cabins and yurts for rent throughout the year. I reached Russell Tank, also dry this year. Great write up, I’ve been on these sections a few times and they are some of my favorites. Great night for some music, food, and beer at Wanderlust Brewing Company. "Boots and Burgers: An Arizona Handbook for Hungry Hikers. There are some tight spots but the ceiling often soars dozens of feet overhead. Discover the Grand Canyon. Do not try to cross a wash flowing with lava. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. We planned on meeting for camp off of FR 416 near Missouri Bill Hill. Many of today's race-day aid stations are located at the original stage line rest stops and watering holes. From Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon’s South Rim, it’s a short 79 miles or just a 90-minute drive. Since you likely didn’t come all this way to hang out in Valle, turn north on Arizona 64 to continue to Grand Canyon National Park. Change ). The next day was spent traversing the Babbitt Ranch- a landscape like no other on the AZT. Watch for the turnoff to the Arizona Snowbowl, 7 miles northwest of Flagstaff. Micro Chicken is getting ever closer to Utah! It is generally a windy area, but on this day there was a red flag warning on top of it- gale force winds all day long. About the Trail. Why go: In summer take a scenic chair lift to 11,500 feet at this ski area located … I reached a gate on the west side of Missouri Bill Hill and could see the next passage through the Babbitt Ranch to the north. Even had to go throw up a couple times before the night was over (and I don’t even drink!). Those that stop and make the hike (3 miles round-trip) are rewarded with an intimate but otherworldly experience. Just ~100 Miles north of Flagstaff the ground all of a sudden drops about 5000 feet the before rushing Colorado River. Exhibits highlight a history of logging, ranching and transportation. And they may not be finished. I was honored that members of the Shewalter family attended the event. The next day I hiked from Grandview to the South Kaibab Trailhead. As the road continues, evidence of past fires are visible as well as the regeneration process. Flagstaff is a terrific jumping-off place for tours to the Grand Canyon South Rim and Colorado River rafting trips. In the morning, I felt a million times better and one of the ladies from the Women’s trip, Anne McGuffey, came to pick me up to take me to Snowbowl to continue north. What follows is an excerpt from one chapter of "Arizona’s Scenic Roads and Hikes." I’m not sure how you would prepare for such an event if it happens during your road trip other than to exercise caution. It just so happened that the event fell on Dale Shewalter’s birthday, totally unplanned but a fantastic coincidence. I’m not sure what utter collapse of judgment, what failure of common sense led me down the reckless path to become a desert rat but such is my fate. As you enter the wide grasslands of Kendrick Park, glance up the slopes of the peaks and you’ll see the shimmering green of fast-growing aspen saplings filling the place where ponderosa pines once stood. South Kaibab Trail. The Hopis believe their kachina gods dwell within the mountains, and they are one of four sacred mountains to the Navajos forming the boundaries of their homeland. Access. For the last stretch of highway, you’re clear of the forest and rolling across sagebrush prairie. My feet were pretty tired by this time, I’d already gone 21 miles. Geologists believe it once reached a height of 16,000 feet but continued to blast itself apart. The Grand Canyon’s South Rim is a 90-minute drive away, so many of Flagstaff’s outdoor adventures take advantage of … I reached Tub Ranch and saw an antelope dash off and a group of horses milling about. It is … Stage Coach Route- Grand Canyon to Flagstaff is a 56.6 mile point-to-point trail located near Grand Canyon, Arizona that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. Traveling between these high lonely slopes across the plateau and into the arid depths of the nearby Grand Canyon was where biologist C. Hart Merriam developed his “life zones” concept — that altitude and temperature determine what type of plants grow in a particular place. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! In the evening, Brian helped me pack for the next passages. It was a little anticlimactic because this was my view: Posted in arizona trail, Arizona Trail Trek, Backpacking, Hiking, thru-hiking | Tagged arizona trail, Arizona Trail Trek, Babbitt Ranch, Backpacking, Passage 33, Passage 34, Passage 35, Passage 36, passage 37, thru-hiking | 2 Comments. We all cherish the memory of our first love. I figured she was just down the road, but it was a tense couple of miles until I found her camp right before dark. And don’t let the tall pine trees and meadows streaked with wildflowers fool you. Many of todays race-day aid stations are located at the original stage line rest stops and watering holes. A majority of the Stagecoach course follows the Arizona Trail and the historic Flagstaff to Grand Canyon Stage Line route used by adventure seeking tourists between 1897 and 1901. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. But no matter how much time I spend sweating among saguaros, Flagstaff always holds a special place in my heart. If you set out on a road trip, remember to observe mask mandates and other COVID-19 safety practices. The place was packed, the weather was perfect for the patio, and the Diamond Down String Band provided tunes for people to dance to. The itinerary goes from Phoenix to Sedona to Flagstaff to Williams to the Grand Canyon to Prescott to Jerome and back to Phoenix. Follow the historic stagecoach line from Flagstaff to Grand Canyon during this 100-mile adventure. I found a spot to camp and then the next morning hiked the rest of the way to Grandview. I could see the white Coconino cliffbands and the forested North Rim. Located just 90 minutes from the South Rim, Flagstaff's nostalgic Route 66 history and modern college-town vibe come together to give visitors a cozy, urban respite in Northern Arizona… Between the two habitats, you may encounter a variety of bird and animal life. Meadows spread wide through here, a good area to spot wildlife. I took a solemn break at the Dale Shewalter memorial and thanked him for his vision of this fantastic trail that connects the state. After 50 miles you’ll junction with Arizona 64 in the crossroads town of Valle. ", "The Amazing Kolb Brothers of Grand Canyon. The Arizona Trail Association is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization. On a late summer evening I stepped off a tiny plane (pretty sure we dusted crops on the final leg from Denver) and smelled the pine-scented air of Flagstaff. At the Y, bear left. Good thing we didn’t wait for the following day- smoke from the Slide Fire in Sedona had completely obliterated the view. She’s planning on a future thru-hike and was excited to see parts of the trail she hadn’t seen before while running support for me. The cave was formed 700,000 years ago by a river of molten lava blasted from a volcanic vent in nearby Hart Prairie. > Flagstaff to Grand Canyon Stagecoach Line 100-Mile, 55K & Relays and 100-Mile Mountain Bike Race. The Grand Canyon is one of the wonders of the world, and what better way to see it than from its heart, on a Colorado river rafting trip? The home of Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona is well-established as a gateway community not only to Grand Canyon South Rim, but to other scenic and historic treasures like Wupatki/Sunset Crater National Monument, Navajo National Monument, Sedona, Glen Canyon and Lake Powell, Meteor Crater, the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest. The road begins to descend and the stately ponderosas give way to a scrubby mix of junipers and pinion pines. We all cherish the memory of our first love. My feet were pretty sore from the previous two days and I was happy to be back on singletrack again. Discover locally brewed craft beer and enjoy generous discounts on great beer and delicious food here in the Craft Beer Hub of the Southwest. It appears to have its side ripped out, exposing a fancifully eroded internal structure that you can enter (see Hiking). The Flagstaff-Grand Canyon Ale Trail is your self-guided beer tasting adventure in Flagstaff, Williams and Sedona — Arizona's Grand Canyon country. I got to the base of the hill and started to look for Anne’s car. The Peaks got farther away and I entered the White Horse Hills, covered in downed burned trees but still attractive. Only thing to do is keep hiking. Only 80 miles of scenic road between destinations, you can wake up to breakfast in Flagstaff, have lunch at the Grand Canyon Historic Village at South Rim and be back to take the brewery trail that evening. Great pack. Several hiking trails branch off from this road as well, including the trek to the top of Humphreys Peak. Start in Phoenix Begin your adventure in the capital city of our 48th state, known for year-round sunny skies and reliably warm temperatures. In my opinion, the Weatherford trail could easily take the top spot on this list. Look for the signed parking area on the west side of 180, 7 miles past the turnoff for Snowbowl. At 12,633 feet, Humphreys Peak is the highest point in Arizona and also where you’ll find the only alpine tundra in the state. The river company I work for in the summertime, Arizona River Runners, is based out of Flag and I spend quite a bit of time there. "Arizona’s Scenic Roads and Hikes" is available in stores, on Amazon and at. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Here’s our trail recap of the final 250 miles of the Arizona Trail… Day 25. Many of today’s race-day aid stations are located at the original stage line rest stops and watering holes. The trail pleasantly wound through the pinyon and juniper, I skipped the side-trip to Moqui Stage Station as I’d seen the ruins in 2009. After you pass the Sechrist School on the right (east), continue 1.5 miles and then turn right (northeast) on Schultz Pass Road (FR 420). Red Mountain looms to the left, a volcanic cinder cone. In this guide I feature all 27 of Arizona’s state-designated scenic and historic roads, including five National Scenic Byways. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to hike the 10 miles I had scheduled- I was so weak and still felt sick. The Museum of Northern Arizona tells the history of the Colorado Plateau, from its geologic creation to the peoples who have populated it. Cameron And Grand Canyon South Rim. Open country continues until the road climbs back into the forest before it reaches the town of Tusayan, just outside the park. The South Rim is also open year-round while the North Rim is only open for half of the year. If you turn left (north) there, you’ll reach Fisher Point! The San Francisco volcanic field spreads for 1,800 square miles across the southern quadrant of the Colorado Plateau with the first eruptions occurring six million years ago. Grand Canyon National Park. It’s only 25 miles to the park entrance. Visit ancient Native American villages, chase Old West legends, and get your kicks on Route 66. Dress warm and carry at least two sources of light. ... After Russell Tank, the trail reached the Coconino Rim and began heading west. And welcome to my world! ( Log Out /  Check  https://www.navajo-nsn.gov for the latest information. I understand the east entrance to GCNP is closed due to COVID-19. The Peaks receded into the distance and I hiked the dusty, windy road. Housed in a building of volcanic rock, the Pioneer Museum covers a wide range of the region’s past. I’d be interested in your opinion of that pack. Trail begins at milepost 247 off U.S. 180, 25 miles northwest of Flagstaff. It’s 74 miles from Flagstaff to Grand Canyon National Park. Here are more books by Naylor: Support local journalism. This unique trip down the Grand Canyon ranges from running world-class rapids to hiking and swimming in the side canyons to investigating the remains left by the first inhabitants of the Grand Canyon. Flagstaff is located just 80 miles south of the Grand Canyon which makes it an excellent location to begin your trip to this natural wonder of the world! I could see the white Coconino cliffbands and the forested North Rim. Starting our hike into Flagstaff from Sandy’s Canyon TH. Basically just assume every hill and mountain you see along this road were volcanoes or mixed up in volcanic treachery. There are several ways to visit the Grand Canyon; by train, helicopter, river raft, … Arizona Trail Trek – Mormon Lake to Sandy’s Canyon Women’s Backpacking Trip, Arizona Trail Trek – Rim to Rim in the Grand Canyon. The South Rim is also open year-round while the North Rim is only open for half of the year. Giddy with excitement, I had a little on-trail celebration at seeing my favorite place. There are two options, a 0.25-mile paved loop suitable for wheelchairs or the longer 1.5-mile loop that pushes deeper into the woods, past an aspen grove and returns along the edge of a lanky meadow. Search for: … I got my first glimpse of the Grand Canyon and it literally stopped me in my tracks. Snowbowl Road makes a winding climb up the slopes to a major ski area, offering multiple runs during winter and a scenic chair lift ride in warmer months. On the outskirts of town, you’ll pass a couple of excellent museums. I will be doing a gear writeup as soon as I get caught up with the journal entries. Annual Flagstaff to Grand Canyon Ride (FLAG2GC) is a 65-mile ride (not a race) that raised funds for Marine League Charities of Northern Arizona and Toys for Tots. I reached FR 418 and realized that I’d lost my hiking poles! I loved my Mariposa, it was very comfortable and had plenty of room. That’s where I first set foot in Arizona. And if hot magma is raining down from the sky, put the top up on the convertible and turn around at the first opportunity. Overview: Passing through thick forests, mountain meadows and sagebrush flats, this road travels along the edge of Arizona’s tallest mountains and provides a major route to Grand Canyon. ( Log Out /  My friend and co-worker on the river Chelsea was waiting for me at Buffalo Park in the evening and we met some other river folk for dinner. and then my friend Tom came and got me. That’s why I wrote my latest book, "Arizona’s Scenic Roads & Hikes.". Flagstaff’s four distinct seasons and proximity to the Grand Canyon make it extremely popular for many outdoor recreation activities, including hiking, skiing, boating and biking. I climbed the lookout tower (scary but great views!) Thanks! Sandys Canyon Trail ends when you get to the junction where it meets the Arizona Trail, but you can definitely keep going if you’d like! Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Even the mountains the road skirts around, the San Francisco Peaks, are the ragged remnants of a hulking stratovolcano. You can expect an impressive display of diversity on a road that travels from Arizona’s highest mountains to its deepest canyon. The steep, challenging hike is just under 10 miles round trip, ending with a lung-squeezing slog across treeless tundra. © 2020 www.azcentral.com. Back up the trail I went and thankfully they were less than 15 minutes away. For me, it was Flagstaff. It was also helpful to have her around because so many of the water sources I’d normally have relied on were dry. Answer 1 of 4: I’m driving from Phoenix to GCNP early December. A majority of the Stagecoach course follows the Arizona Trail and the historic Flagstaff to Grand Canyon Stagecoach Line route used by adventure-seeking tourists between 1897 and 1901. Travel from sun-kissed deserts to snow-capped mountains, from the cosmic abyss of the Grand Canyon to the red rocks of Sedona and the soaring monoliths of Monument Valley. The next morning I saw the outline of the San Francisco Peaks. So imagine my shock when I eventually fell under the spell of harsh sun-blasted lands filled with cactus and rattlesnakes. I couldn’t get enough of them and knew I was destined to be some kind of flannel-shirted mountain man romping at high elevation where the air is clean and pure. ", "Crazy for the Heat: Arizona Tales of Ghosts, Gumshoes and Bigfoot" (fiction), Your California Privacy Rights / Privacy Policy. My dad met me and after lunch, took me up to Schultz Pass so that I could hike the remainder of the passage and connect my steps back into Flagstaff. It was great to have her support and I ended up hiking through the whole ranch in one 22-mile day. Lava River Cave: Explore one of the most unusual volcanic scars of the area when hiking a nearly mile-long lava tube hidden beneath the ponderosa pines. That’s where I first set foot in Arizona. Red Mountain still wears visible scars of its violent past. This is one of the parts of the trail that wasn’t complete when I hiked it in 2008 and the end result is gorgeous!! She dropped me off around 10:30 and we planned on meeting at Kelly Tank in the afternoon. I was utterly smitten with the mountains. Of course, this meant planning an epic 4-day journey along some of the toughest and most scenic off-road trails in Arizona. Shoot. It was love at first sight. Need to Know There is no cell phone coverage for much of the route. My longest day yet- 23 miles since 10:30. It’s 74 miles from Flagstaff to Grand Canyon National Park. "Arizona’s Scenic Roads and Hikes" is available in stores, on Amazon and at https://www.rogernaylor.com. Not a fan of roadwalking. Unfortunately, about 20 minutes before the end of the event, I started to feel sick. Information for all hiking trails: 928-526-0866, www.fs.usda.gov/coconino. Soon enough I’d be hiking through. Over four days you’ll see terrain as diverse as anywhere in northern Arizona, from the fern and aspen groves of the San Francisco Peaks, to the big sky country across the Babbitt Ranch, and through pinon-juniper forests that lead right up to the South Rim of Grand Canyon. Please join the Arizona Trail Association in urging Senator Martha McSally to protect Grand Canyon by co-sponsoring the Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act (S.3127). We had a great time on the hike into town and reached Flagstaff around noon. Strangely, I saw no cows the entire day. Create a lifetime of memories while exploring Arizona’s endlessly diverse and amazing scenery. Arizona Trail Trek- Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon. View of the Grand Canyon from Grandview Lookout Tower. After Russell Tank, the trail reached the Coconino Rim and began heading west. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. The Grand Canyon truly is Flagstaff’s back yard. Many geologists expect eruptions again in the future. The southern end of the trail follows a rolling alignment through the Ponderosa pine forests south of Flagstaff. As someone who has spent decades rambling around this remarkable state, I know that Arizona is road trip nirvana. The trail starts along an old road that winds through junipers and pinion pines, then dips into the bed of a wash. After a mile the sandy streambed squeezes between towers of black cinders. Anne ended up leapfrogging with me the rest of the day, since she could drive the trail. A ladder climbs over a stone wall and you’re engulfed in a wonderland of gnawed spires, twisted pillars and contorted walls bubbled with trapped gasses. This also seems to be a pretty popular spot for climbers and mountain bikers! It was so exciting for me to reach Flagstaff on foot- it’s like my second home! Dogs are also … Drive for 1 mile and turn left on FR 171B to the parking lot. ( Log Out /  Follow the historic stagecoach line from Flagstaff to Grand Canyon during this 100-mile adventure. Lurking beneath the soft facade is an explosive lava-spewing geological hotspot. While widely accepted today, it was a controversial notion when he published his findings in 1890. The next morning, Brian did all he could to help me out. Yes, you did read it right, Grand Canyon Village. Thankfully a generous trail steward had cached me some water nearby. Kendrick Park Watchable Wildlife Trail: This gentle loop moves from pine forest through open grassland. The remainder of the day was spent hiking on FR 416, a rocky two-track road. I was so glad that he was there to take care of me and that I hadn’t gotten sick when solo deep in the wilderness. Red Mountain Trail #159: With Grand Canyon beckoning just up the highway, most folks breeze past Red Mountain with barely a glance. Look for it on the right side of 180, a couple of miles past the Snowbowl Road. I got my first glimpse of the Grand Canyon and it literally stopped me in my tracks. Helicopter, River raft, … Access by email I wrote my latest book, `` the Amazing Brothers! May encounter a variety of bird and animal life and Mountain bikers your details or... After 50 miles you ’ ll junction with Arizona 64 in the crossroads town of Valle spread wide through,... Northwest along the western slope of the Grand Canyon state. the year arizona trail flagstaff to grand canyon off and a group horses! Can enter ( see hiking ) second home, Agassiz and Humphreys are going. The cave was formed 700,000 years ago by a River of molten lava from! S why I wrote my latest book, `` Arizona state Parks: a guide to Amazing Places the. 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