Red Mountain Trail #159, AZ | HikeArizona
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Red Mountain Trail #159, AZ

Guide 112 Triplogs  1 Topic
  3.9 of 5 
no permit
750 112 1
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 3.15 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,800 feet
Elevation Gain 364 feet
Accumulated Gain 578 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 6.04
 Backpack No
unreported if dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
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4  2021-12-09 DixieFlyer
5  2021-05-15 survivordude
9  2020-07-03 ultrazona
15  2020-03-10
North of Flag Day Trip
19  2020-01-21 Stoic
19  2019-08-24 Nightstalker
23  2018-07-27 cw50must
15  2018-06-05 Alston_Neal
Page 1,  2,  3,  4,  5 ... 8
author avatar Guides 20
Routes 5
Photos 3,177
Trips 443 map ( 3,122 miles )
Age Female Gender
Location Chandler, AZ
Associated Areas
list map done
Flagstaff Region
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar Map
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Preferred May, Jun, Aug, Sep
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  6:56am - 6:24pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimeteracres
🔥 2021 Slate Fire26.0 mi*

Into the heart of a volcano
by desertgirl

Into the heart of a 740,000-year-old volcano....a fascinating look at the geology of AZ.

This is quite an easy hike/walk in the Flagstaff area. It has been one that I have often wanted to stop by on my many trips back and forth from the Grand Canyon but never quite did until now... The trailhead is at Milepost 247 along Highway 180 -- well signed. Turn left onto this good dirt road that will end at the developed trailhead a short distance from the turnoff. There is a parking area right at the turnoff but proceed further to the developed trailhead.

The trail is a fairly easy meander for about 1.25 miles through pinyon and junipers. The trail is a constant rise, but the distance goes by quick -- you are drawn in by the sheared off cliff face with its hoodoos and the path is dotted with a variety of blooms - yellow, orange, pink and red against the red cinders or green pinyons. At about 3/4 mile, the trail drops into a wash and follows it in towards the sheared cliff face. The wash is firm sand with scattered ponderosa pines; narrowing down as you head closer and closer to the mountain. You are now flanked by black cinder slopes dotted by interesting vegetation. As I was hiking in late in the afternoon the vegetation was catching the last rays as the sun sank over the cliff and were adding a slivery glimmer to the black slopes - an eerie glow.

You come upon some black lava formations that act as a gate to the place. You will soon reach a 6 ft high silted-up check dam over which a ladder has been built to allow access to the inner area. The optional route is a scramble up the cinder shoulder to the right and between the "gates" and down the other side. If you are hiking with dogs, this is your route. Once you reach the top, you will have to navigate a short section of exposure and somewhat slippery footing to gain access to the area where you can descend to the inner areas.

Once inside the trail heads a short way in and then you are off exploring among the spires, pillars, and pinnacles. The predominant color is earthy reds punctuated by mustard and black. This is the heart of a million-year-old volcano, and the volcanic tuff has been sculpted into various shapes. You can follow any number of avenues to explore the area. The area has re-vegetated, and you will find pondererosa pines growing out of the tuff. I chose to follow the stream bed back into the curving tuff formations following a trail of a variety of bushes and flowering plants supported by the stream. Interesting formations were at every bend, and the rocks were beautifully sculpted... Looking up at the horizon, you could see the spires extend all the way up to the ponderosa-clad ridgeline. Birds were nesting in hollows along the sheer wall -- marked by splotches of white bird droppings were their favored perches.

Light plays hide and seek among the spires and hoodoos, and so can you. Be watchful as you scramble up these formations -- most are a lot easier going up than down! After a bit of exploring, we returned by way of the cinder hill exit and were quickly back to the trailhead. On the return trip you are treated to some expansive vistas of the Flagstaff mountains.

Note: Water is not available along this trail.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2004-09-07 desertgirl
  • 100 Classic Hikes - 2007
    area related
    100 Classic Hikes - 2007
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

 Permit $$

FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

To hike
Take I-17 North into Flagstaff, then follow Hwy 180 North for about 26 miles. (Follow the signs for the Grand Canyon). You will see a sign for Red Mountain and a dirt road leading off to the west. Follow this a short distance (about a mile) until it ends at a parking area. A sign there marks the start of the trail.

Author writes: Drive North along Highway 180 to MP 247. You will see a sign for Red Mountain. Turn left onto FR, follow the good dirt road to the trailhead.

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