Walnut Canyon Reroute Complete
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 at the junctions with brush and opened the new tread after the monsoon rains let up at the end of summer.
This reroute is 3.61 miles long, has beautiful flow through ponderosa mixed-conifer forest and a sustainable side slope alignment which is fun to use and will be maintainable for years to come. Everyone who has ridden or hiked through has commented on the quality of the improvement. This segment is a nice alternative to the steeper and more challenging Mt. Elden Dry Lake Hills segments of the AZT around Flagstaff.
Volunteers will be needed next year to finalize naturalization and return the old trail/road back to the forest by covering with duff, rocks, branches, and replanting native species. The ATA will schedule this opportunity once Flagline Trails has gone through with the mini-excavator to scarify all of the compacted areas first. Please visit www.aztrail.org/volunteer to register for volunteer opportunities and please keep an eye out for this opportunity if you are interested in learning about the art and science of trail obliteration and naturalization.
The ATA is grateful to be able to continue the long history of stewardship of this region of Arizona and acknowledge the Hopi and Puebloan ancestral lands of Walnut Canyon. And we look forward to working with partners to implement other projects identified within the Regional Trail Strategy.