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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

GRIFFITH’S SPRING CANYON

GRIFFITH’S SPRING CANYON
Flagstaff

Located 23 miles north of Sedona along scenic highway 89A, Griffith Canyon itself is is only mildly impressive.  However, this "little canyon that could"  makes it mark on the map by collecting and funneling water downhill into two of Sedona's major gorges--Pumphouse Wash and Oak Creek Canyon.   From the trailhead, the route seems kind of ho-hum, but hang in there-- good stuff lies ahead if you know how to explore.  The official trail is wide, flat and easy-to-follow, tracing the edge of the cliffs above the marshy-green canyon.  Where the route bottoms out, several obvious spur footpaths leave the main trail and head into a steep-walled riparian corridor.  Richly lined with wildflowers, Virginia creeper, wild roses and  plenty of poison ivy, the exploratory paths wind through a mucky swale dotted with shallow pools, trickling channels and a tiny wetland ringed with cattails before it dead-ends in about 0.25 mile in a bog near a fenced stand of aspen sprouts.  
LENGTH:  1.2 mile loop (plus 0.5 more with optional canyon explore)
RATING: easy
ELEVATION:  6,919’
FACILITIES: restroom, picnic table
DISTANCE FROM PHOENIX:  152 miles one way
KID FRIENDLY?  Yes
TRAILHEAD OPEN: April – October.  Trailhead is closed in winter.
GETTING THERE:
From Phoenix:  go north on I-17 to exit 337 for US 89A south (located roughly 7 miles south of downtown Flagstaff).  From the end of the off ramp (at the entrance to Fort Tuthill Park), turn left (south) and continue 2.4 miles on 89A to the signed turnoff for Griffith’s Spring.  The short, dirt/gravel road to the parking area is rutted but passable by sedan.
From Flagstaff: go south on I-17 to exit 337 and follow directions above.
INFO: Flagstaff Ranger District, Coconino National Forest, 928-526-0866

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