|View of Rogers Lake from the Gold Digger Trail|
Monday, July 13, 2015
GOLD DIGGER TRAIL
Rogers Lake County Natural Area
Located 10 miles south of Flagstaff, Rogers Lake County Natural Area is a 2,250-acre, high-elevation wetland within the Colorado Plateau Region. Since its acquisition in 2010 by Coconino County, the site is being managed for the protection of wildlife habitat, preservation of rare native plants, environmental education and scientific research while allowing for low-impact, non-motorized recreation. Two trails for hiking, mountain biking and equestrian use are in the final stages of construction.
The Gold Digger Trail is a 4-mile, single track path that makes a rocky climb on the foothills around Woody Ridge Wildlife Corridor. Although the trail itself is complete and open to the public, the trailhead, map kiosk, bike rack and metal route markers will be finished up this fall. The 2-Spot Trail, which makes a 2-mile loop near the edge of the ephemeral wetlands will be anchored by a wildlife viewing platform when completed later this year. As sustainability is a core objective for the site, recycled engineer mix and asphalt from ADOT and Flagstaff construction projects are being used to build the trails and parking areas. Another example of this goal appears halfway up the Gold Digger trail in the form of a shade ramada and picnic table made of repurposed timber and a roof that harvests rainwater for birds. Major junction trail markers are already in place, but the balance will not be installed until later this year, so, trekkers must pay attention to stay on track. Although the route is obvious to the experienced hiker's eye, there are a few of things to keep in mind. First, the trail is 100% single track. Where the route meets forest roads, it crosses them---you are never hiking on roads. Next, where wildflowers grow into the path, stop and scope out the trail ahead---you'll see it. And finally, at the ramada, the trail picks up south of the structure, to the left of the road.
While hiking here, you'll enjoy cool pine-oak woodlands with magnificent views and ample opportunity to view wildlife. Please be respectful of this sensitive terrain. Travel quietly, leave no trace and obey all posted regulations.
LENGTH: 5.1-mile loop
ELEVATION: 6,878' - 7,650'
DOGS: must be on leash
HOURS: day-use only, no camping
From Flagstaff, go 1.9 miles west on Route 66 to Woody Mountain Road (Forest Road 231), turn left and continue 6.5 miles south to the big Rogers Lake Country Natural Area sign. Continue 1.3 miles past the sign to the trailhead. Parking lot is on the right (west) side of the road and the trail begins at the green gate on the left (east) side (N 35 08.220 W 111 47.239). From the trailhead, hike roughly 50 yards to where 3 metal posts mark the loop junction. Go right for Gold Digger. At the 4-mile point, go left at a post to complete the hike on the east leg of the 2-Spot Loop Trail.
An additional trailhead located at 0.4-mile past the Rogers Lake sign will provide access to the 2-Spot Trail.
Woody Mountain Road is washboard-rough but passable by sedan.
INFO & RULES: Coconino County Parks and Recreation