Shady, flowery hike near Flagstaff is a fun summer outing. Here are 2 ways to try it

Arizona Republic (June 24, 2020) by Mare Czinar

Since prehistoric times, the fertile forests around Mormon Lake have served Native peoples, wildlife, commerce and recreationists. The geologically complex area of volcanic landforms and natural lakes is situated among historic travel corridors that have been used for centuries by early inhabitants, loggers and ranchers.

Gooseberry Springs, which sits at the base of 8,532-foot Hutch Mountain 30 miles south of Flagstaff, offers a glimpse into a time in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when homesteaders ran sheep and cattle in the forests and meadows on the Mogollon Rim.

Today, the area is a prime destination for outdoor enthusiasts interested in camping, riding and hiking. Passage 30 of the Arizona Trail, an 800-mile route from Mexico to Utah, wanders through this beautiful territory and offers hikers, bikers and equestrians a sweet backcountry experience.

While the Arizona Trail passes a few miles to the west of Gooseberry Springs in Coconino National Forest, the site may be visited by way of two under-the-radar routes. The traditional path begins near the summit of Hutch Mountain.

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