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Monday, April 29, 2019

Kendrick Park Watchable Wildlife Trail

Kendrick Park Watchable Wildlife Trail
Kendrick Peak seen from Kendrick Park
To young children, traveling the stretch of U.S. 180 that runs between Flagstaff and the south rim of the Grand Canyon can feel like being trapped in a careening container with few sights that appeal to kiddie sensibilities.
A  Ponderosa pine tree provides cover for wildlife viewing
Electronic devise-enabled distractions only last so long before cries of ‘are we there yet’ and ‘I have to go potty’ demand a break from the drive that flows between pine forests and the desert plains of the Colorado Plateau. 
Aspen regeneration project along the outer loop.
The fix is a stop at Kendrick Park Watchable Wildlife Trail.  Complete with walking paths and a restroom, the site that sits on 2000 acres roughly 20 miles north of Flagstaff offers a chance to stretch legs, decompress and maybe learn a thing or two.   The U.S. Forest Service property has two short loop trails that explore biologically diverse spaces in alpine meadows, pine woodlands and aspen glens with excellent views of the San Francisco Peaks (12,633 feet) and Kendrick Peak (10,418 feet).  The quarter-mile short loop is paved and suitable for strollers and wheelchairs while the 1.2-mile outer loop follows a flat dirt trail. 
The San Francisco Peaks soar to 12,633 feet.

Many teaching moments punctuate the hike.
Both paths are outfitted with interpretive signs that describe fascinating facts about the area’s plants, animals and history. 
Two easy loop trails explore the property.
The compact system is packed with points of interest. An abandoned potato field, corral and campsite document some of the surprising ways people have used the land in the past.  Along the outer loop, an aspen recovery area at the edge of sprawling grasslands and signs that explain how wildfires have impacted the landscape illustrate the complex forces that continually shape the delicate ecosystems.  Of course, the big draw here is the opportunity for real-time wildlife viewing.  To optimize your chances of seeing animals wandering in their natural habitats, experienced viewers recommend the following tips.
Fremont barberry grows along the trails.
The outer loop passes through a beautiful aspen grove.
The family-friendly 0.24-mile short loop is barrier-free.
Signs invite visitors to immerse in the experience.
Interesting relics at an abandoned camp site.
• Plan your timing. Wildlife is most active at dawn and dusk.
• Be invisible. Stay quiet, wear neutral colors and avoid using scented products like perfume, lotion and strong laundry additives.
• Be patient.  Sit quietly behind a tree or rock and wait for animals to appear.
• Observe from a distance. Keep wildlife wild by giving them their space. Never harass, feed, or handle wildlife.
When explored quietly and with respect, the trails at Kendrick Park extend a rest stop into an entertaining, educational tour of a northern Arizona wildlife stomping ground with tantalizing backstories and myriad mini lessons built in.
LENGTH: 1.5 miles for two loop trails
RATING: easy, the short loop (.25-mile) is barrier-free
ELEVATION: 7862 - 7915 feet
From Flagstaff, go 20 miles north on U.S 180 to the trailhead located between mileposts 235 and 236 on the west side of the road.
There is a restroom, but no water at the trailhead.
Arizona Watchable Wildlife Experience:
Coconino National Forest:
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