From Flagstaff, take the Lake Mary Road exit (339) off I-17 for 9 miles, then turn left (east) on FR 128 at the sign for Marshall Lake. Pass the observatory turnoff, then at 2.2 miles turn left before Marshall Lake (more of a marsh) and park at the AZT sign on the left. If you are coming from the south on Lake Mary Road, the Marshall Lake turnoff is 7.5 miles north of Pine Grove Campground.
Northern Access Point: I-40, Cosnino Road Exit
GPS Coordinates: 35.20249° N, 111.48559° W Note: this point is located across a private property boundary from the I-40 frontage road. No parking is allowed along the frontage road.
Currently, there is not direct access to the Northern boundary of this passage. The closest access to the south 4 miles south at Old Walnut Canyon Road: From Flagstaff, follow I-40 east and take exit 204 toward Walnut Canyon. Follow the paved Walnut Canyon Road (FR 622) south for 2.5 mi to Old Walnut Canyon Rd (FR 303). Turn right. The trailhead is about 1.7 mi west on the left (south) side of the road. There is room for horse trailers.
Trail Route Description
Passage 31 connects Marshall Lake and Walnut Canyon. This section follows singletrack across a gently rolling terrain through pine and oak forest before descending steeply into Lower Walnut Canyon. It passes by interesting red rock cliffs and features impressive vistas with stunning views of the San Francisco Peaks. This section also includes an opportunity to take an alternate trail into the town of Flagstaff – Passage 33 (Flagstaff Urban Route).
In the bottom of Sandy’s Canyon, before the AZT ascends to Fisher Point, the trail comes to a junction where the AZT splits. The fork to the northwest is a resupply route for thru-hikers, heads north into Flagstaff (see Passage 33). The fork to the northeast ascends towards Fisher Point, and then follows the edge of Walnut Canyon.
There are reliable water sources on this passage at the two wildlife water tanks. There is water in the city of Flagstaff and in Walnut Canyon National Monument. Check the online Arizona Trail Water Report for current information at https://aztrail.org/explore/water-sources/.
All water along this passage should be purified prior to use.
The recently completed Walnut Canyon Reroute is officially open! This important initiative to take a few miles of the AZT off old forest roads south of Flagstaff, was a successful collaboration between the Arizona Trail Association, Coconino National Forest, Arizona Conservation Corps, Arizona State Parks & Trails, Flagline Trails, and awesome volunteers. If you haven’t experienced this new ribbon of trail between Fisher Point and Old Walnut Canyon Road Trailhead, get out there and enjoy it on foot, mountain bike or equine. We are proud that this one of the first high priority recommendations from the Flagstaff Trails Initiative Regional Trail Strategy to be implemented! Matt Roberts and Kevin Okon of Flagline Trails used a combination of mini-dozer and mini-excavator to rough in the new singletrack. They worked alongside Arizona Conservation Corps to make the tread absolutely perfect, and obliterated and naturalized 0.65-mile of old trail. Unless you look carefully, you’ll never notice there used to be road and trail there! ATA staff and volunteers then finished nearly a mile of trail with hand tools at a volunteer event in August. The Flagline Trails crew returned to finish the rest of the tread, major brushing and closed the old trail...
Arizona Republic (July 22, 2022) by Mare Czinar Shady and cool, Passage 31 of the Arizona National Scenic Trail is a satisfying respite from summer heat. The 17.9-mile segment of the 800+-mile, state-traversing route southeast of Flagstaff drops off the plateau lakes region of Anderson Mesa and heads into pine-oak woodlands in Coconino National Forest. Also known as the Walnut Canyon Passage for its swing by the finger canyons and periphery of Walnut Canyon National Monument, this close-to-town segment of the Arizona Trail has several access points that make it perfect for day hikes, loop and car shuttle options. One trip to try goes from Marshall Lake to Sandys Canyon. At the Marshall Lake trailhead, hikers get a reality check on the effects of drought. While Marshall Lake is rarely more than a shallow, reed-choked pond, this year it’s bone dry. Still, its elongated, pine-wrapped footprint is a picturesque sight and favorite grazing territory for elk. The hike heads north from the large Arizona Trail sign along a well-defined single track. Thick tree coverage and riffled terrain obscure big vistas, so this hike is more about immersing in the details of forest life. It’s a great place to smell “yellow belly” pines —...
Due to significant precipitation received across the Coconino and Kaibab National Forests of northern Arizona, fire restrictions and certain area closures will be lifted starting at noon on Tuesday, June 28. Fire-related area closures will remain in effect around the perimeters of the Pipeline and Haywire fires but have been reduced in size. The decision to lift fire restrictions was made based on the amount of precipitation both received and forecasted across both forests. While a ban on campfires and smoking has been lifted, visitors are reminded that fireworks are never allowed on National Forest land at any time. Please check National Forest websites before traveling and recreating to learn more about area closures and restrictions, which can change rapidly.
Due to extreme fire danger, the Coconino National Forest has issued a closure order for camping and campfires near Flagstaff. There is no overnight camping permitted along the following passages and mileages (using the FarOut app): Passage 31 (Walnut Canyon) from Sandys Canyon Trail (mile 554.8) to Walnut Canyon Road (mile 565.2) Passage 32 (Elden Mountain) from Railroad Tracks (mile 567.5) to Heart Trail (mile 576.0) Passage 33 (Flagstaff Urban Route) from Sandys Canyon (mile 0) to Fort Valley Trails (mile 12.8) Click here to view the current Camping and Fire Restriction Order.