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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Wild Bill Hill, AZ

no permit
138 18 2
Guide 18 Triplogs  2 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Flagstaff > Flagstaff NW
3.9 of 5 by 8
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Loop 2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 7,600 feet
Elevation Gain 550 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 4.75
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Peak
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
5  2016-07-29 MountainMatt
6  2015-06-23 BEEBEE
1  2014-09-15 hippiepunkpirate
18  2014-06-17 Stoic
12  2013-08-12 Oregon_Hiker
13  2013-08-10 chumley
3  2013-08-10 Barrett
5  2013-08-10 Hippy
Page 1,  2
Author fotogirl53
author avatar Guides 5
Routes 0
Photos 1,229
Trips 181 map ( 570 miles )
Age Female Gender
Location Flagstaff, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   May, Sep, Oct, Jun → 9 AM
Seasons   Early Summer to Late Autumn
Sun  6:15am - 6:24pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Hoodoos anyone?
by fotogirl53

Likely In-Season!
Wild Bill Hill is a cinder cone shaped like a clover leaf overlooking Government Prairie. Between the northern summit and the western summit, the side of the volcano has eroded leaving interesting and picturesque hoodoos.

The roads to Wild Bill Hill range from graded to rough, smooth to rutted, and during monsoon season, dry to deep tracks of water and mud. A high-clearance vehicle is recommended for the last 3 miles. 4 wheel drive might be needed if the area has received alot of moisture.

The road skirts Wild Bill Hill for the last mile and as you come around the cinder cone, you can easily see the trailhead. A sign lets you know that the road is closed to vehicles and its time to hike. This trail doesn't seem to get much visitation, as the old road is quickly becoming a single track. The track goes straight up to a saddle between the western and eastern summits. Get ready to feel the burn as you ascend 550 feet in +/- 2000 feet.

When you reach the top, find the faint trail to the east, which leads to the top of the eastern knob. This bald summit is perfect for a 360 degree panoramic view of Government Prairie, the San Francisco Peaks, and Kendrick Mt. There are 2 markers, for those of you who "collect" them. Wildflowers and cacti can be found up there, too. Go back down the trail to the saddle, and pick up the trail leading to the west, toward the saddle between the western and northern summits. In just a couple hundred yards, surprise! The side of the volcano has eroded leaving a canyon full of hoodoos.

The trail to the right goes up the northern slope of the summit where there are good views of the hoodoos. The erosion has resulted in interesting growth of Ponderosa and limber pines. There isn't a formal trail to the top of the summit.

Back down the trail to the saddle, then continue along a spine that goes out on the rim of the hoodoos. Be very careful as the ground is made up of small gravel that is very slick on the steep slopes.

If you want to summit the western knob, it is very steep from the hoodoos. You might want to backtrack to attack it from the first saddle. The summit is listed at 8189 feet.

However, from the hoodoos, the trail continues south to a smaller hoodoo area, then around the hill back to the trailhead. The trail takes you through s beautiful stand of big, old growth fir trees. As you descend in elevation, the trees thin out to grassland. I lost the trail, but easily continued around the hill until my truck came into sight.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2010-08-01 fotogirl53
    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.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Wild Bill Hill
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Quick evening hike starting from the 2013 Hazfest camp. We started this hike as dusk was setting in. We made quick time and climbed up the old road to the saddle. From there I made a quick summit as darkness set in. We used our headlamps and the light of the moon to return to camp. I’m bummed I missed out on the hoodoos near the summit. Will have to check them out another time when I have more time.
    Wild Bill Hill
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Decided to check this one out as a late-afternoon/sunset hike. Didn't go to the TH as described in the description here on HAZ, just parked at a pullout on the main road just south of the turnoff for the lava tubes. A short walk through the ponderosas and then a nice meadow opened up. Took the northwest ridge up. It was pretty steep but at least it wasn't super loose. Popped up right by the little hoodoo valley. Checked it out for a couple minutes before taking the trail out to the south summit. Nice views out there! Saw the old jeep road coming up the south slopes. Headed back to the hoodoo valley for sunset action. I really wanna come back and hammock camp up there sometime. Headed down as the sunset faded. I was paranoid about walking in circles in the woods after dark trying to get back to the car. Found it pretty easily though. It got dark pretty quick in the trees, so I was forced to use my headlamp. Haven't had to do that in a long while. Great hike, and what a lovely area.
    Wild Bill Hill
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    After a Lazy Morning at HAZfest, it was time to get the circulation going...Alex and Larry were talking about doing the Hill, so it was a no-brainer, especially after hearing about the Wildflowers and Views on top... :DANCE:
    Unlike most people, who elected to drive to the Base, :oplz: [-( We Hiked it from Camp... :wlift: :lol: (Personally, I just think Larry didn't want me to drive, although I think he's used to it now...I didn't even make him sick driving up to Snowbowl... :sweat: )Everyone missed such a great stroll through the Meadow!!!

    Started up to the Saddle and did ok with the Uphill, as long as I didn't have to engage in Conversation, using up what little Oxygen I had... :sweat: Got up to the Saddle and hung a right for the actual "Wild Bill Hill"...Loved it up top! Great Views, and the Wildflowers were gorgeous, especially when Larry wasn't busy stomping them down... :sl: (One of those, "you really had to be there moments"... :sl: ) Took some pictures up top, had one of Larry's "Intruders" take a pic of the three of us and then we were off to the other "unnamed" Peak...

    Somehow, the whole time we were up there, we missed the Hoodoos completely... :tt: Sounds like a Return Trip is needed... :DANCE: Got up to the other Peak. Hardly any views from the Top due to thick Pines, but we found an Outcrop that afforded really nice Views to the South...Spotted a couple of more HAZer Hooligans on Wild Bill Hill and got some shots of them as well... :D

    True to my Nature, I offered up doing a little Loop instead of an Out and Back...True to Larry's Good Nature, he agreed...Alex doesn't know me very well, so his agreement was based strictly on ignorance... :sl: Sooo, down the side of the Unnamed Peak we went, and then around the front...Wasn't bad at all... :D Caught up to another Road on the West side of the Meadow and followed it back to Camp...

    What a great little Hike! Views, Wildflowers, small Workout, and a ton of Laughs with great Company...Most of the Laughs were at Larry's expense, especially when we tried to find his Cell Phone in his Pack, but I know Larry, and he'll get even... :D :lol: :GB:

    Thanks Larry and Alex!! It was a thoroughly Entertaining Jaunt and very Cool!!! : app :

    Light in the Meadows, but Moderate on the Hill with a great Variety....
    Wild Bill Hill
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Toward the end of the afternoon the bulk of the HAZfest crew had gathered round, sunset was just about an hour away, someone was taking a nap, I was stuffing my face with fire heated stir fry and everyone else was lounging around.

    I had the brilliant idea to suggest a trek up Wild Bill but really didn't want to walk the mile to the base...good thing Uncle woke up when he did, we were able to fit a good chunk of the group that gathered for my hike into the Chum-mobile and off we went.

    The hoodoos on the "other side" are great! I got to play around on a few and we ran up the southern most "peak" to watch sunset...this was a PERFECT hiking group, I'm so glad we all got to hang out up on Wild Bill, the hike was steep but fun, wish I'd seen that snake though :-p
    Wild Bill Hill
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Add Madison and Rose to the hiking partners on this one.

    We headed up for sunset via an old road/trail on the west side that leads up the draw to the saddle.

    There is an alternate route that goes up an old road along the southwest ridge to the south peak.

    The south peak is treeless and features the best views. The northwest and northeast peaks are pine covered and feature limited views. The ridge and canyon that run due north feature cool hoodoos and nice views of Kendrick and Government Prairie. (If you look closely you can even see the mall parking lot sometimes referred to Lava River Tube just a mile away.)

    Nice flowers on the south peak.

    I wouldn't drive from Phoenix to hike this, but if you are camping less than a mile away for whatever reason, it's a must. :)

    Primarily on the south peak.
    Wild Bill Hill
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Uncle CHUMS Summer HAZfest 2013
    Another wonderful weekend with wonderful people in a wonderful place...wonderful!

    Really though, it was a pleasure meeting so many new HAZzers and reuniting with old friends as well.
    I was a little disappointed with the campfire situation this time around but...nonot can't be expected to create perfection every time...especially when Uncle Chums didn't provide him with NEARLY enough deadfall...oh well, maybe next year.

    I was very pleased with how ridiculously clean our massive campsite was after our departure, great job everyone and thank you!! :y:
    Wild Bill Hill
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Hannah, Skippy, and I were "History Detectives" again completing sections of the Historic Trail between Flagstaff and westward to Government Prairie. I've been gathering "bits and pieces" of information piecing together the exact route the old wagon road/immigrant trail followed in anticipation of creating a HAZ hike description.

    Today was another combination of off-roading (actually following a variety of city streets and Forest Roads) plus hiking. The maps we used can be found in "A Guide to the Beale Wagon Road through Flagstaff Arizona" and "A Guide to the Beale Wagon Road through the Coconino National Forest", both by Jack Beale Smith.

    I started the day with a 4:45am alarm, picked up Hannah from NAU and we were at the Buffalo Park TH by 8:00am. We located the vandalized remains of a historic marker and commemorative sign near the entrance of Buffalo Park beside the water tank reservoir. Cedar Road has been relocated and the McMillan Mesa Trail now appears to follow some of the original wagon road route.

    We then followed one of the later Beale Wagon Road routes towards the heart of Flagstaff connecting with the Overland Road Historic Trail (see HAZ hike description ).

    We stopped at the Museum of Northern Arizona to view San Francisco Springs presumed to be within the Rio de Flag canyon on the west side of the museum. Unfortunately none of the people on staff today at the museum had any knowledge about the Beale Wagon Road.

    Tom Jonas indicates;
    "Jack Beale Smith tells me that the Beale Wagon Road passed between the museum building and the road at this point. There is a spring immediately behind the museum in a small canyon which was a watering stop for the Whipple expedition and the Beale Wagon Road. Whipple called it San Francisco Spring."

    After our stop at the Museum of Northern Arizona we made our way to Leroux Springs located at the north side of Fort Valley, off FR516 (aka Snowbowl Drive). From Leroux Springs the Beale Wagon Road more-or-less follows the gas pipeline right-of-way until it intersects again with Hwy 180.

    We located one of the historic markers near the intersection of Hwy 180 and FR151 (aka Hart Prairie Road) and another just west of the intersection of Hwy 180 and FR222B. The old wagon road follows FR222B a short distance until it veers northwest along an unmarked 4WD Forest Road. With the path blocked by a substantial mud hole, we doubled back to FR222B and continued west until we reached FR9008N.

    Traveling north on FR9008N to the intersection with FR9009N, we parked the F-150 and located historic markers and blazes where the Beale Wagon Road crosses. We hiked west along the old wagon road encounter elk along the way. Nearby sounds of gunshots and ATV's made us wary of continuing along the route.

    Back at the truck again, we made our way to FR171 and located the historic markers demarcating the Beale Wagon Road crossing near the intersection with FR??? I failed to take note of the Forest Road number, but can report it is the first road north of FR171C along FR171. We hiked both east and west of these markers.

    Later we followed FR??? (first road north of FR171C and south of FR156) in a westerly direction towards Wild Bill Hill. We hiked up this ancient volcano and obtained spectacular views in all directions. Government Prairie was visible to the west, along with Government Knoll and Rain Tank Hill where we finished our previous hike along the Beale Wagon Road.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike
    From Flagstaff there are two approaches to this trailhead:

    1. On Highway 180 north from Flagstaff, travel approx. 14 miles to FR 245, turning left (milepost 230). There is a brown FS road marker on Hwy 180 alerting you to this road. Once on FR 245, follow it approx. 3 miles to the intersection with FR 171. Turn left and continue 2 miles to the intersection with FR 156 where you turn right. FR 156 can be very muddy and rutted in wet weather. After +/- 2 miles, you come to a T intersection. Turn left and go through the barb wire gate onto Babbitt ranch land. Be sure to close the gate, as the CO Bar cattle graze on this land. Follow the road, taking the first left that goes around the mountain. You will see another track to the left, with the Trailhead sign.

    From I-40: Take the Bellemont exit, then follow the access road by the truckstop. This is old Route 66 going west. About 1 mile from the truckstop, turn right on FR 171. Follow this through the forest about 5 miles, turning left on FR 156. Then pick up the directions as listed above.
    page created by fotogirl53 on Jul 31 2010 10:58 pm
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