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Urban alleyways turned Scenic
The Flagstaff North Urban Trail feels like someone converted a series of alleyways into a trial system. As unpleasant as that sounds, the trail actually has a lot of variety in urban and natural aesthetics. The trail runs along the Rio de Flag, an intermittent stream, and along the back fence lines of private properties. You may experience an unsettling feeling of being a "peeping Tom" as you travel along this trail. You can't help but glance into the backyards of properties as you stroll along the riverbed. The trail is well developed with a well-graded surface and fence rails along the side of the Rio. The other unique feature about this trail is that it crosses many streets. The benefit of this is that it provides runners with a course where you can use the divided sections of trail for various tempo runs. Although this trail does nothing to escape you from urban development, you are pleasantly surprised by the aesthetics and diversity the trail provides. You are constantly in picturesque view of the San Francisco Peaks as you head north. The riparian vegetation along the trail, along with various landscaping ornamental trees and shrubs, make this trail interesting. You also pass by a city dam with a pond rich in waterfowl, an old cabin built in the 1930's by the Boy Scouts of America, the Flagstaff Middle School, several baseball fields, and the Flagstaff Monument - the place where Flagstaff got it's name. The Flagstaff Monument is a tall telephone pole with a rock base flying the American Flag. This was the place the first flag staff was raised on July 4th, 1876.
The trailhead begins near the northeast corner of the Flagstaff Public Library, right by City Hall. The trail runs north along the Rio de Flag and is well marked with "Flagstaff Urban Trail System" signs at the intersection of each street crossing. About 0.6 miles into the trail you come to the old cabin and city dam. This is a nice place to have lunch or a snack and take in the beautiful views of the pond, wildlife, and backdrop of the San Francisco Peaks. About 0.75 miles into the trail you come upon the site of the Flagstaff Monument, which is just off to the left as you come upon yet another street crossing, Thorpe Road. The north end of the trail terminates at Crescent Drive (2.0 miles), just past a park and swimming pool. But from this point you can also choose to continue your adventure as the City has recently extended this trail out towards Fort Valley.
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This hike is listed as One-Way.
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