To reach the starting point, drive on Interstate 17 (or I-40) to downtown Flagstaff, and drive north on Highway 180 (North Fort Valley Road). After you pass the Sechrist School on the right (east), continue 1.5 miles and then turn right (northeast) on Schultz Pass Road (FR 420). Follow this paved road 0.7 mile, turning left (north) at the fork in the road. Continue north for 3.9 miles to a small parking area on the right (south) side of Schultz Pass Road. The AZT can be found on the north side of Schultz Pass Road across from the parking area.
From Flagstaff drive north on US 180 about 33.0 miles and turn right (east) onto FR 417 near mile marker 248 (if you reach the Kaibab National Forest sign, you’ve gone too far by 0.4 miles). Continue 5.2 miles to a point just a short distance north of Cedar Ranch Headquarters, where a side road (FR 9008A) leaves FR 417 to the left. The next passage begins here and follows FR 417 to the west (back along the road you just drove down).
Trail Route Description
Passage 34 skirts the west side of the San Francisco Peaks north of Flagstaff. This passage is long, scenic, and rich with biodiversity. The trail follows a well maintained singletrack through beautiful pine, spruce, and aspen forests at high elevation— briefly reaching 9,000 feet—and then transitions down to typical Arizona high-desert terrain.
This section features fields of ferns with towering aspens and passes through picturesque alpine meadows with fantastic mountain views, most notably Humphrey’s Peak, the high point of the range and Arizona’s tallest summit at 12,633 feet.
The Coconino National Forest has expanded the boundaries of the existing year-round camping and campfire ban located adjacent to the City of Flagstaff in an attempt to lower the hazard from human-caused wildfires. A full map of the expanded camping and campfire ban, which went into effect May 1, 2023, is available on the Coconino National Forest’s website. This information is also on all Arizona Trail navigational resources, including the FarOut app, topo maps, passage maps, website, and other important resources so AZT users know where they can camp outside the restricted areas. For thru-hikers utilizing the Flagstaff Urban Route (Passage 33), the longest distance to cover is 13.5 miles – from Flagstaff to Snowbowl Road. Section hikers have much greater distances to cover to avoid the camping ban area, especially along Passages 32 and 34. In addition to addressing the immediate concern for future large human-caused wildfires, the expansion is part of a long-term risk reduction strategy focused on forest health and resiliency. The change was made in response to public feedback, with support from the Arizona Trail Association. If you're planning multi-day trips on the AZT near Flagstaff, please be aware of where you can and cannot camp.
East Greenwich News (January 31, 2021) by Jonathan Malone It was hot, it was dry, and I was afraid that I was running out of water. I had been hiking through the high plateau desert in Arizona for three days and I had seen only a handful of people, lots of cows, and a few horses. I had heard elk and coyotes, but had not yet seen any of them. I was deep in the wilderness, there were few people, and my water supply was worrisome. I chose to be in this place. In September I backpacked for approximately 100 miles of the wilderness of Arizona. Hiking and backpacking are things I love to do, and I have gone on many solo and group trips in the Adirondack Mountains in New York and the White Mountains in New Hampshire as well as other areas of the Northeast. I love taking time to be in the forest, by the streams and lakes, and surrounded by the mountains. This year I opted for something completely new to me; I decided to hike one small portion of the 800-mile Arizona Trail. I started just north of Flagstaff and headed to the North Rim of the...
Arizona Republic (September 16, 2021) by Mare Czinar Slung between the edge-hugging dirt track of Schultz Pass Road and the sheer foothills below Mount Elden, Schultz Creek Trail rolls out like an emerald half-pipe. Because of its fluid, north-south track, hairpin turns and mild jumps, the historic route in the Mount Elden-Dry Lakes Hills area just a few miles north of downtown Flagstaff is a magnet for mountain bikers as well as hikers who don’t mind sharing the path with swooping wheeled traffic. The pine-cloistered trail clings to ledges above numerous drainages and the course of Schultz Creek. The U-shaped space through which the trail runs is short on mountain views but long on woodland diversity. Throughout the hike, slash piles — pyramids of cut logs and brush — are stacked neatly off to the side. The piles are part of the ongoing Midway portion of the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project, a joint effort of state, city and Coconino National Forest teams to help reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires and post-fire flooding through treatments such as tree thinning and fuels reduction. Forest service contractors will use heavy equipment to move the piles in the vicinity of Schultz Pass now through March. Trail users should...
The Slate Fire has forced a closure of the Arizona Trail north of Flagstaff near Babbitt Ranch. In the interest of public safety, the northern half of AZT Passage 34 (San Francisco Peaks) is currently closed between Kelly Tank (mile 603.3) and Cedar Ranch (mile 616.2). Trail users are discouraged from visiting Passage 35 (Babbitt Ranch) as the fire advances further north. The Slate Fire was first reported on June 7 and has grown to over 11,148 acres (as of June 15). To learn more about the Slate Fire, visit the Inciweb page here.
Please use caution while enjoying the Arizona Trail near Hart Prairie between Aspen Corner and Forest Road 418 during the summer of 2020. The U.S. Forest Service will be cutting and masticating ponderosa pine trees throughout the area to restore the meadow environment. This project allows regrowth of Bebb willow and other alpine meadow species that have been pushed out by the recent growth of pine trees. No trail closures are anticipated, but thinning and processing activities will temporarily impact the scenic resources and natural quiet near the Arizona Trail.
Be aware of a temporary detour between 593.9 (Dog Food Trail Junction) and mile 592.4 (Old Weatherford Road) on Passage 34a of the Arizona National Scenic Trail due to forest thinning activities. Follow Forest Road 6275 (Old Weatherford Road) instead of AZT for 0.5-mile. Look for orange detour signs.
Arizona Daily Sun (November 13, 2019) by Sam McManis Want to start an argument among local trail runners and hikers, get their heart rates zooming as if they've just sprinted up Humphreys Peak? Ask them which section of the Arizona Trail, the segments wending their way through Flagstaff and environs, is the best. By best, we mean the most enjoyable experience for trail users. Challenging, yet reasonably navigable. Vertical, yet not hands-on-knees steep. Verdant and tree-lined, yet diverse enough in foliage and geologic makeup to keep one engaged. Let us, then, offer up an opinion. Our choice is a 6.2-mile stretch of the Arizona Trail that starts at Aspen Corner on the way up to the Snowbowl and ends at the intersection of Forest Road 418. We chose this part — officially called Segment 34c — because it may be the most accessible segment of the AZT around Flagstaff without being, well, boring. To read the rest of the article, click here.