Thursday, July 2, 2009
BROOKBANK TRAIL Coconino National Forest UPDATE: AS OF JULY 2010, THIS TRAIL IS CLOSED INDEFINITELY DUE TO THE SHULTZ FIRE. Built by an early Flagstaff settler to provide a route to the alpine meadows that define the upper reaches of the Dry Lake Hills, this old wagon route is a favorite destination for hikers, mountain bikers and horseback riders. Buried in deep layers of snow in winter, the bowl-shaped meadows become soggy, seasonal lakes in spring. Water lingers in these high-altitude ponds into early summer when they dry out and are transformed into a riot of wildflower color. On the sun-drenched summit plateaus, patches of aspens and whispy, thigh-high grasses frame peek-a-boo glimpses of the San Francisco Peaks. HIGHLIGHTS: Close to town, alpine meadows, conifer forests and up-close views of the San Francisco Peaks. LENGTH: 5 miles round-trip Rating: moderate ELEVATION: 7,700’ – 8,400’s Driving distance from Phoenix: 165 miles one-way GETTING THERE: From Flagstaff, travel 3 miles north on Highway 180 to Schultz Pass Road (Forest Road 420). Turn right on FR 420 and continue for roughly a mile, then veer left on Elden Mountain Road (Forest Road 557). Continue on FR 557 for 3 miles to the signed Oldham trailhead on the right. Park there and hike up the road about a tenth-of-a-mile to the Brookbank trailhead on the west (left) side of the road.