Hiking along a Historic Moqui Stage Coach
ATA Overview: This passage begins east of the Moqui Stage Station. There is a short connector trail between the station and trail #101 which is the route of the Arizona Trail. From here the trail heads north, crosses FR 313, and follows Russell Wash. It passes through a gate and then Anderson Tank is on the right. There is another gate and then the trail crosses FR 320. The trail curves to the northwest, then north, then west and then back to the north. There is a gate and then the Russell Tank Trailhead, Russell Tank and then two more gates in close succession. Still following Russell Wash the trail crosses FR 310 (Coconino Rim Road) and then another gate. It comes up on the edge of the rim and turns to the west, following the rim. There is a bike bypass to the left with the main route going right, down through a drainage. Continuing along the edge of the rim the trail crosses a peninsula of the rim and then leaves the rim and parallels FR 310. It crosses FR 307 and then joins an interpretive loop trail that leads to the Grandview Lookout Tower.
Southern Trailhead: Moqui Stage Station - FR 301
Northern Trailhead: Grandview Point - Grandview Lookout
desertgirl Overview: The Coconino Rim segment trends southeast from a trailhead at Grandview Lookout Tower to a crossing of Forest Road 310. The 80ft - Grandview Lookout Tower is a fire lookout tower built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1936. It is worth a climb up the tower for some great views over tree tops to the rim of the Grand Canyon & Coconino Rim. The Russell Wash segment begins at FR 310 and heads south to the Moqui Stage Station. 3rd segment parallels FR 301 from Moqui Stage Station to the southern Forest boundary. The road is part of the stagecoach route that operated between Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon from 1892 to 1901. The trail parallels the road along this historic route. The northern segments of trail pass through ponderosa pine and gambel oak stands. Further south the trail opens to pinyon-juniper, sage, and grassland vegetation as the elevation drops.
Coconino Rim Segment-Grandview Lookout to crossing of FR 310, 10.3 miles: The trail heads east/southeast from the tower. The beginning of the trail traverses through ponderosa pine and Gambel oak forest with very little elevation change. It has an interpretive loop that describes mistletoe and its effects on ponderosa pine forests. The trail crosses FR 307 . Further along at ~ 3 miles from the trailhead there is a great overlook of the Upper Basin, the Coconino Rim, and the Painted Desert. From here the trail winds closer to the Rim, offering more vistas to the north. A short, but steep series of switchbacks begins 7.3 miles from Grandview Lookout Tower TH as the trail crosses a steep drainage. This is the only notable section of any abrupt elevation change on the entire section. There is a bike bypass right before dropping into this drainage, At 10.3 miles the trail meets FR 310. At this point, you are 6.8 miles from Grandview LO via FR 310. The forests looks healthy with mature stands of cinnamon bark ponderosas with open understory with meadows and flowers. This is a very different look that what we are typically used to seeing -- with young growth clustering under the tall pines. The soil/vegetation shows signs of smaller fires in the recent past. This open forest continues along the next segment as well but you see more evidence off logging activity in the past and some logging roads slowly being claimed back by nature. All in all -- you are left with a feeling of walking through some healthy forests.
Russell Wash Segment-FR 310 to Moqui Stage Station, 8.7 miles: This trail begins at FR 310, 6.8 miles southeast from Grandview LO. It heads south, gradually descending a drainage, 1.7 miles to Russell Tank. You pass through a couple of gates and get to Russell Tank TH then and onto Russell Tank. Russell Tank which is the best opportunity for finding natural water on the trail. Water should be treated and/or filtered before drinking. The trail cross another gate as it exits Russell tank area. From the tank the trail winds south and east, eventually rejoining Russell Wash. Just before crossing FR 320 you run into Russell Water tank & a cattle trough. The trail crosses FR 320 3.1 miles from Russell Tank, and continues south another 3.1 miles to FR 313. You cross into a gated area here and pass Anderson Tank and then exit through another gate. This part of the trail passes through cattle country. Up until this time we were walking along in perfect quiet but the last 2 miles were punctuated by bellowing bulls and mooing cows and calves. Interestingly, we ended up herding about 25 heads along the last 2 miles. Oak and pine forest has now changed to open grassland and semi-arid desert with juniper and sage. About 1/2 mile from Moqui stage station, the trail ascends a small ridge, crosses under a power line, then descends to Moqui Stage Station area. A quick 1/4 mile side track takes to the Stage station. Today, the Stage Station is just ruins of what looks to be a building ( just a pile of rocks of what used to be the chimney & some long pinion logs) and a water cistern and a plethora of rusting tin cans mark the site. Along FR 301 there is an interpretive sign that tells the story of the site.
Throughout this passage the trail is well marked with location signs & wooden posts with AZ trail logo on them. The trail is well laid out and easy to follow.
Moqui Stage Station to the Kaibab NF-CO Bar Ranch boundary, 5 miles: From the Stage Station the trail heads southeast through semi-arid grassland with pinyon-juniper and sage paralleling FR 301 to the Bar Ranch boundary. The trail then leaves the Kaibab National Forest.
Water: There may be no water sources along these segments for several months. Russell Tank, the most likely supply, is a very important water source for wildlife and livestock. By law, camping is not permitted within 1/4 mile of stock tanks, trick tanks, ponds, or springs. This area has a lot of livestock. All water sources should be considered unsafe for human use unless properly treated.
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.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
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.