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Tuesday, June 28, 2011


 Kaibab National Forest, Williams
Davenport Hill Trail


Trainspotting from  Davenport Hill

Dog Town Lake

Train whistles invoke a haunting, mournful yearning for the days when locomotives were the poster-technology of both the new frontier and old west.  Williams Arizona, with its buckskin-and-rail-tie-hybrid persona is one of few remaining places offering a serious locomotive “fix”. Home to a matrix of train depots and a main drag replete with saloons, malfunctioning neon and leather-clad, wandering “cowboys” spewing booze-addled folklore while engaging in mock shoot outs, Williams is a hot spot of activity in the middle of nowhere. Yup—it’s a loud, crowded, hokey-as-all-get-out slice of Americana anchoring the best preserved stretch of the “Mother Road”---historic Route 66.  People who like trains gravitate to this time warp of a whistle-stop (located 35 miles west of Flagstaff) for its perpetual clamber of metal on rails and diesel fumes.
Although it’s pretty easy to spend a day in town noshing at trackside joints like Cruisers CafĂ©, Doc Holliday’s Steakhouse or Pancho McGillicuddy's, a more alluring way to view the trains (and get some exercise to work off the Grand Canyon Brewing Co. beers that will have seduced you) waits 700 feet above town. To get there, just head a few miles south to Dog Town Lake where three shady trails feature easy hiking and high-altitude train spotting.
A hike up Davenport Hill trail offers aerial views of colorful freight cars gliding over expansive prairies below. Whether hauling human cargo or shipping containers bound for Wal-Mart, the trains put on a good show as they snake through town, cross the flatlands and disappear into forests of Ponderosa pines---a sight that’s impossible to see at street level.
In addition to Davenport Hill, two other routes depart from the same trailhead. Dog Town Lake trail is just a flat path used by anglers to access the best fishing spots along the shores of a pine-rimmed lake. The Ponderosa Nature Trail is a short, self-guided educational loop with signposts that correspond to information in booklets available at the trailhead, making it a good choice for kids and those who want a side order of learnin’ with their hike---or one of the amusing local brews.

Davenport Hill: 2.5 miles one-way
Dog Town Lake: 1.8 mile loop
Ponderosa Nature Trail: 1-mile loop
RATING: easy-moderate
ELEVATION:  7,100’- 7,805’
FEES: none for hikers
FACILITIES:  restrooms, picnic tables, camping, fishing, boat ramp, site host and ranger programs
RULES: no swimming, dogs must be on leash

DISTANCE FROM PHOENIX:  184 miles one-way

From Phoenix, go north on I17 to the I40/I17 interchange south of Flagstaff.  Go 30.3 miles west on I40 to Williams exit #165.  At the off ramp stop sign, go left and follow Railroad Ave. 2.6 miles to Fourth Street (a.k.a. Perkinsville Road, CR 73), turn south (left) and continue 3.8 miles to FR 140. Turn left onto FR 140 and go 2.8 miles to FR 132, go left again and drive 1.2 miles to the boat ramp/campground turnoff on the right.  Park in the boat ramp lot. Davenport Hill Trail begins at the Ponderosa Trail sign at the far, east end of the parking lot. Last few miles are on maintained dirt suitable for passenger cars.

INFO:  Williams Ranger District, Kaibab National Forest, (928) 635-5600



East Webber Trail
Here we go folks, due to recent human-caused fires, our National  Forests are going into shut down mode. Major trails impacted by this closure include: Highline, W. Webber, E. Webber, Pine Canyon, Turkey, Geronimo, Pine View, Oak Trail, Redrock, Donahue, Babe Haught, Horton Springs, See Canyon, Derrick and Sinkhole.

Area closures on Tonto National Forest begin June 17, Fireworks prohibited at all times

Release Date: Jun 16, 2011  
PHOENIX(June 16, 2011) – Public safety concerns due to drought conditions, hot temperatures and increased fire danger have resulted in two temporary area closures on the Tonto National Forest beginning at 8 a.m., Friday, June 17--and will stay in effect until rescinded or August 31,2011 whichever comes first.  The two area closures are within the following boundaries:
1. All National Forest System Lands, roads and trails below the Mogollon Rim and North of the Control Road,  bounded by National Forest System Road 708 at the Fossil Springs Trailhead proceeding easterly along National Forest System Road 708 to the intersection with the power line road at the Southwest edge of the town of Strawberry; following the power line corridor southerly then easterly to the intersection of Forest System Road 583 at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park; continuing easterly on Forest Road 583 to State Highway 87; then northerly following  State Highway 87 to National Forest System Road 64 (The Control Road); thence easterly following  the Control Road to the Intersection with State Highway 260;  easterly along State Highway 260 to the Forest boundary at the top of the Mogollon Rim; and westerly along the Mogollon Rim and Tonto National Forest Boundary to the Fossil Springs Trailhead at Forest Road 708. 
2.  All National Forest System Lands, roads and trails within the Mt Ord, Four Peaks and Three Bar Wildlife Area,  bounded by the eastern edge of Highway 87 on the west beginning at the intersection with Forest System Road 143; on the north  along State Highway 87 to the intersection with State Highway 188; on the south along the western edge of Highway 188 to the Salt River corridor; on the west along the north side of the Salt river corridor including the north shores of Apache Lake, Canyon Lake and Saguaro Lake to Cottonwood Creek; northerly along Cottonwood creek to the intersection with Forest System Road 401, continuing northerly on Forest System Road 401 to the intersection with Forest System Road 143 and  westerly on Forest System Road 143 terminating at the intersection with State Highway 87.
Exceptions to this closure are the RV Dump site on the west side of State Highway 188 at Cholla Bay. The Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, highways 87 and 188 are unaffected by this closure, as are all county roads.
Also, most types of fire or fire-causing activities are prohibited across the Tonto National Forest. 
“Because of ongoing drought, dry forest conditions, and exceptionally low relative humidities, fire restrictions are needed to protect forest users, structures and natural resources from the increased potential for wildland fires,” said Tonto National Forest Deputy Fire Staff Officer Helen Graham. “These precautionary measures are intended to enhance our visitors’ quality recreation experiences. Most areas of the Tonto National Forest remain available for recreation activity, including all the Salt River system lakes.” 
Graham concluded:  “We continue to remind the public that all fireworks are prohibited on the forest at all times.”
Violation of these restrictions is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 for individuals, $10,000 for organizations, and imprisonment for up to six months.  

  Click links below to view closure order and map.


  • For more information regarding forest recreation sites and fire restrictions, please contact the Tonto National Forest at (602) 225-5200, or check online  
    For general information on fire activity and restrictions in Arizona call toll free 877-864-6985, or visit the.Southwest Coordination Center website: or

  • Useful Websites:
    National Incident Information System
    Southwest Coordination Center:
    National Interagency Fire
    National Fire Plan: