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Friday, October 7, 2011

FLAGSTAFF FALL COLOR 2011: Peaks are Peaking

Just called the Forest Service Fall Color Hotline.  They report COLOR IS PEAKING in the Coconino National Forest mountains---that means Flagstaff, folks.

FALL FOLIAGE HOTLINE: 1-800-354-4595
(hotline updated once a week on Fridays)

FLAGSTAFF FALL COLOR 2011: LAMAR HAINES MEMORIAL WILDLIFE AREA

These photos were taken October 14, 2010.  I'll be heading up to Flagstaff tomorrow to see how the color is progressing this year.  Stay tuned. 


LAMAR HAINES MEMORIAL WILDLIFE AREA
“Two springs run here”. Although it’s impossible to know for sure, that’s the popular interpretation of the cryptic pictographs painted on the cliffs above the source of Veit and Canadian Springs on the southwest slope of Flagstaff’s Agassiz Peak. The ancient artwork is just one of many interesting sights along this woodsy trail, which is why it buries the needle on the kid-pleasing scale. Allow plenty of time to explore the ruins of homesteader Ludwig Veit’s 1890s cabin, an historical marker commemorating the work of conservationist Lamar Haines and a concrete well and pond for collecting spring water along this aspen rich, 160-acres of wet meadows and old growth forest.
LENGTH: 1.6-mile loop
RATING: easy
ELEVATION: 8,600’ – 8,800’

KID FRIENDLY: yes!!
DISTANCE FROM PHOENIX: 158 miles one way
GETTING THERE: From Flagstaff, go 7.5 miles north on US180 to milepost 223, turn right onto Snowbowl Road and drive 4.5 miles to the Lamar Haines Memorial Wildlife Area trailhead on the right. Parking is very limited.
SITE ADMINISTERED BY: Arizona Game & Fish Department
pictographs above the springs

FOREST SERVICE FALL COLOR HOTLINE: 800-354-4595
Updated weekly from mid-September through mid-
November.
FLAGSTAFF FALL COLOR PRIMER:

PRESCOTT FALL COLOR 2011: NORTH MINGUS MOUNTAIN

View from the top of Mingus Mountain, Oct. 10, 2009.
Surprise!  Flagstaff got snow this week.  Six inches on the peaks and a dusting at the lower elevations.  Although warmer temperatures today and through the weekend are likely to melt the white stuff; for those who prefer hiking without encountering snow, try the Prescott area.  Here's one very scenic fall color hike with excellent views of the Verde Valley, Jerome and Sedona:
Oaks and maples converge on the trail 
Near the top, the trail hugs rock escarpments and crosses a volcanic rock fall
NORTH MINGUS MOUNTAIN,Prescott National Forest An eclectic mix of scenery and forests are the highlights of the North Mingus Trail No.105. Although there are two trailheads for this route, most hikers choose to start at the top of Mingus Mountain and hike downhill. That’s because the route is easier to follow when hiked in this direction. Right from the start, this popular trail will “wow” you with magnificent views from atop a pine-shaded hang glider launch pad. Here, the rugged Verde Valley rolls out 1,600 feet below. The hike begins with a pleasant stroll across the mountain summit under a canopy of warm gold Gambel oaks huddling beneath enormous confirs. After this short “warm up” section, the trail dips downhill along the north face through colorful corridors of Bigtooth maples, boxelders and velvet ash. Soon, the path enters an enchanting passage where a mass of volcanic boulders cascade down a slender slot canyon where vertical stony walls and a stand of aspens thrive in the cooler microclimate. Past the aspen grove, the trail enters a more arid clime with intermittent sections of grasslands, fields of agave and ridgelines studded with whispy mountain mahogany. An abandoned mine marks the point where the trail merges with an old Jeep road that leads downhill to Mescal Spring, the turnaround point for the hike. This trail also can be hiked one-way using a car shuttle at each trailhead. LENGTH: 8.5 miles roundtrip RATING: moderate ELEVATION: 6,000 – 7,800 feet GETTING THERE: Mingus Mountain trailhead: From Jerome, go 7 miles southwest on Highway 89A to Mingus Mountain Road (Forest Road 104). Turn left and continue on FR 104 for 2.4 miles to where it ends at a “T” intersection in the campground. Turn left here and go uphill to the trailhead near the hang glider launch pad. This option starts at the summit and goes downhill-- you'll climb up on the way out. Mescal Spring trailhead: From Jerome, go 4 miles southwest on Highway 89A. Just before sign for Prescott National Forest, between mileposts 339 and 338, turn left onto an unmarked dirt road (Forest Road 338). FR 338 is a very rough 4x4 road so those without appropriate vehicles should park in the turnouts along the highway.  Continue down FR 338 for a half-mile to the cement tank that marks Mescal Spring. From here, veer right (southwest) and go uphill. Bear left at all unmarked junctions until you reach the signed turn off for trail No. 105 on the right. This route adds one mile to the hike description above. This option starts at the bottom of the mountain. INFORMATION: Verde Valley Ranger District, Prescott National Forest, 928-567-4121, http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/prescott/recreation/trails/verde/nomingus105.shtml

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

FLAGSTAFF FALL FOLIAGE 2011: ASPEN NATURE LOOP

Nice crisp weather in Flagstaff over the past few days will coax out the color below the peaks making this  a perfect week for leaf-peeping! Got kids in tow?  Try this short, easy fall foliage trek:

ASPEN NATURE LOOP
Flagstaff
A dusting of snow covers the San Francisco Peaks

For those who want to experience Arizona’s fall foliage on foot but don’t have much time or hiking experience; this scenic loop trail at the base of Flagstaff’s Snowbowl ski area is just the ticket. Although short in length, this trail packs its dance card with views of the San Francisco Peaks and Kendrick Mountain, yawning vistas reaching all the way to Williams, lush meadows and, of course, brilliant aspen “conga lines” adorned in wispy honey-colored crowns.

The view on October 14, 2010
LENGTH: 1.8-mile loop
RATING: easy
ELEVATION: 9,270’ – 9,540’

KID FRIENDLY?: yes!
DISTANCE FROM PHOENIX: 160 miles one way
GETTING THERE:
From Flagstaff, go 7.5 miles north on US180 to milepost 223, turn right onto Snowbowl Road and continue 6.2 miles to the Humphreys trailhead on the left. Hike begins on the northwest side of the parking lot. Roads are paved up to the parking lot.
INFO: Flagstaff Ranger District, Coconino National Forest: 928-526-0866

FOREST SERVICE FALL COLOR HOTLINE: 800-354-4595
Updated weekly from mid-September through mid-
November.
FLAGSTAFF FALL COLOR PRIMER: