|BNSF trains pass by about every 15 minutes|
Monday, August 11, 2014
TUNNEL SPRINGS TRAIL
TUNNEL SPRINGS TRAIL
The multi-faceted hiking network of the Flagstaff Urban Trails System (FUTS) is the perfect complement to the hundreds of miles of wilderness and national forest trails surrounding the city.
FUTS (say, "foots") uses sidewalks, gravel roads and dirt single tracks for a seamless web of hiking/biking routes that link in-town strolls and meanders through suburban wetlands to more rigorous peripheral trails. Although many of the system's offerings appeal to those looking for a quick way to burn some energy without having to drive miles to a trailhead, several routes located at the
urban-woodland interface mimic the feel of more remote locations. Tunnel Springs Trail is sort of a city-rural-wildland hybrid hike melding the convenience of easy access just off busy Route 66 with a moderate climb through Ponderosa pine forests. Passing under and above BNSF railroad tracks, the trail's companion cacophony of metal-on-metal screeching and mournful freight car rumbling is the hike's signature characteristic. The clamor of wailing rails fades as the trail ascends Observatory Mesa along a smooth, gravel road.
Trail signs are few and unmarked crossroads can cause confusion. Here's the plan. From the trailhead, follow the walkway between the private homes down to a road paralleling the railroad tracks. Turn left here, pass through the tunnel and veer left again. Pass a gate and go right to stay on the widest road heading uphill. At the green tanks (Lowell Tanks), go left and continue to another gate at the (unsigned) Mars Hill Trail junction. Return the way you came or continue 1.6 miles to Thorpe Park.
LENGTH: 1.9 miles one-way
ELEVATION: 7014' - 7404'
From Flagstaff, travel west on Route 66 to Railroad Springs Blvd. (just before mile post 194,Chevron station on corner), turn right and go 0.4-mile to a "T" intersection with Adirondack Ave. The trail begins on a path between two residences directly ahead. Park along the street.
City of Flagstaff