Do you want to be a soldier?
The Soldiers Trail is part of the recreation complex of the Coconino County fairgrounds at Fort Tuthill. The trail makes a nice loop around the perimeter of the fairgrounds and Luke Air Force Base. The majority of the trail is within thick, ponderosa pine woodlands, but also utilizes part of the Sinclair Wash Urban Trail and weaves in and out of an equestrian obstacle course (watch out for horses). But over all, the trail is easy to get to and offers a nice moderate hike in the Flagstaff area.
At the fairground parking lot, the trailhead will be along the east perimeter. There is a sign marking the trailhead with a map. From the trailhead sign you'll head north along the Sinclair Wash Urban Trail for 0.5 miles. You'll come across another sign that describes the Soldiers Trail. At this point you will want to go left or right, for which ever way you go will eventually bring you back to this point for a full loop. I would recommend going left, for the toughest part of the trail will be over after 1.5 miles. You'll notice right away that the Soldiers Trail is well marked with green laths with directional arrows. The trail will take you west along the northern fence line and up a gentle grade. The trail will then turn south, giving you a little rest before the next big incline. At the 1.5-mile point, the trail will fork. You have the option of shortening your hike by 0.75 miles if you turn left. Going left here will take you 1.25 miles south to reconnect with the larger loop. Turning right at this point will take you up a steep canyon to the trail's highest point at mile 2.0. The trail turns north again, then west, then south along the western perimeter of Fort Tuthill. As the trail travels south, you'll notice a distinct difference in forest management. On your right, a heavy thinning allows you to view far into the woods, whereas the non-treated forest on your left is thick and heavily wooded.
Around the 3.25 mile point, you'll cross a graveled road and walk along an old logging railroad. You can see old railroad ties along the side. The trail takes you east at this point and you are at the southern edge of Luke Airforce Base. You'll cross another gravel road and then dip down into a canyon. Soon you'll be hiking north along Highway 89A and crossing through the picnic grounds. You'll wrap around the east edge of the raceway and turn west to reconnect at the Sinclair Wash Urban Trail. Turning south at the junction will bring you back to the parking lot for a total of 6 miles.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.
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.
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