Find A Trail. Start Your Search Here:

Sunday, May 12, 2013


Inside the canyon

Another in my series of  “who knew” hikes, this one hides behind Flagstaff’s Museum of Northern Arizona.  After shrugging it off for years, I finally made the detour this weekend and was pleasantly surprised.  Instead of the dull “edutainment” trail I was expecting, this one is free of signs and packed with interest.  The trail begins on the rim of a 50-foot-deep, sheer walled canyon, then descends via a set of stone stairs into a beautiful riparian corridor cluttered with arroyo willows, brambles and Rocky Mountain irises.  Winding among enormous volcanic boulders and Ponderosa pines, the route cuts a figure-eight path with a couple of fun detours.  First, look for another stone staircase that leads up to the canyon’s west rim, here, you’ll follow a rambling, leaf-littered path to an aspen-ringed cove and the stony harbor of an intermittent spring.  Also, on the east rim near the museum, a simple path paralleling US180 leads to a wooden observation deck with a pond and green swale fed by the trickling waters of Flagstaff’s only “river”.
Rio de Flag

LENGTH:  0.6-mile loop
RATING:  easy (rocky, uneven surface)
ELEVATION: 7048’ – 7120’

From Phoenix, go north on I17 to Flagstaff.  Continue through town and connect with US180 (Fort Valley Road).  Go roughly 3 miles north on US180 to past milepost 218 and turn left into the parking lot for the Museum of Northern Arizona.  Trail begins near the museum entrance.


No comments: