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Flagstaff - AZT #33Flagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 11 2015
Hiking17.00 Miles 1,927 AEG
Hiking17.00 Miles   13 Hrs      1.31 mph
1,927 ft AEG
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1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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We hope you enjoy our Housholder Family adventure hiking the 800 mile Arizona Trail from Sonora Mexico to the Utah state-line. We are hiking it together as a family attempting to finish 20 to 30 miles each month; normally taking a two truck shuttle and usually camping overnight for free along the way in our RV trailer (Boondocking).

Our third segment is the Flagstaff direct supply route AZT section # 33. First of all, we enjoyed a fantastic and FREE RV Boondocking camp for 8 days near Route 66 with our Arizona State Trust land access permit. The spot rests up a small hill on State Trust Land near an old cinder pit off Route 66 very near the start of AZT # 32 trail where it crosses Forest Service Road 791. There were fantastic views from the top of the hill next to our camp that stretched into Flagstaff and the San Francisco Peaks....I included pictures with GPS directions in this triplog.

AZT # 33 starts below beautiful Fisher Point. We used Forest Service Road 301 which branches off the Walnut Canyon 303 to make our way by truck out to the somewhat remote Fisher Point trail-head. The trail gently slops and switchbacks down to the floor of Walnut Canyon with nice views northwest towards Flagstaff! We started around 8:30 AM and had lots of shade along the downhill route. On the floor of Walnut we took many pictures of the wave rocks and enjoyed the first cave with its cool shade :) After some snacks we set out in search of "Tibber's Cave", which all 5 of us could not find? Hey Tibber any more clues? We then hiked up Walnut Canyon to a discriptive sign and found a smaller second cave on the south wall. The kids had great fun searching and hunting but were a little bummed they didn't find the gem!

Day One: Starting out on the AZT # 33 in a northwesterly direction towards Flagstaff was flat and enjoyably easy going. The noon day sun was our only concern. We had lots of water with us and made the most of shady snack breaks. There were plenty mountain bikers we would yell out "Biker!" So that the kids would step aside. Many of these mountain biking trails converged at a crossing where we rested enjoying lunch at. Shortly after wards the trail did a big "Zig Zag" due east then back due north. The San Francisco Peaks and mount Elden were now visible and getting closer. The trail started up hill gently then sharply downhill towards the confluence with the Rio de Flag River (water treatment plant) where ducks were swimming to great us! Interstate 40 passed high overhead and paved sections of the Flagstaff Urban Trail System started. The kids enjoyed their tunnel echos underneath the freeway and started getting hungry after passing the Taco Bell and all out "HAngry" along Route 66 where we neared the Dog Haus and our car shuttle with Grandma. It was 2:30 PM and we couldn't treat Grandma to Hot Dogs, so we made hast to Brandy's Restaurant (Breakfast and Bakery) which was featured on the Food Network with host Guy Fieri: ... html Grandma and our HAngry kids absolutely loved the comfort food and I scarfed down my Giant Guacamole Apple-wood Bacon Cheeseburger! Brandy's is a stones throw from Buffalo Park, super close to this AZT hike....please note they close early around 3:00 PM on Saturdays and sadly just breakfast and lunch menu. The "to die for" dinners are gone, but not forgotten!

Day One Total Miles 7

Day two: We started with a car shuttle downhill near the Dog Haus, where there is a Fry's and another grocery store to stock up on all sorts of trail treats and mixes, Beef Jerky fresh fruit, energy bars, plus other delicious eats for the thru backpackers! Our other car was shuttled to Buffalo Park where we started by taking pictures with the Buffalo and at the memorial tribute to Dale Shewalter Flagstaff teacher and AZ Trail Dreamer who put his plans to action in the early 1980's so that we might enjoy the fruits of his lifelong labor! Thank You Very Much Dale :y: The memorial sign and resting bench is located due east of the entrance gate as the AZT winds around the large water tank.

We enjoyed our easy two mile hike downhill from the memorial as it joined Turquoise St. Passed the YMCA a and transitioned into Switzer Canyon. The abundance of wild game we saw along the way to the Dog Haus were quite impressive. I remember they were called some exotic names like Mercedes, Tacomas, Avalanches and Buicks!


Day 3 From Buffalo Park to Schultz Creek Trailhead. August 22, 2015:

We arrived in Flag at 12 noon, first hitting our favorite Crystal Creek Sandwich Co. for some delicious eats. We love the Grand Rapids and have been coming here for the past 24 years! Our goal was to enjoy lunch at the shaded Dale Shewalter Memorial in Buffalo Park, before we hit the open trail. Second we had to park our car shuttle at the Schultz Creek Trailhead, then we made our way over to Buffalo Park. After scarfing down our Grand Rapids under the shady tree by the memorial we hit the trail around 2:00 PM. Buffalo Park was soon behind us and the pine trees became our companions the rest of the way! The kids enjoyed some boulder hopping literally, and we made it in no time to the junction with the Elden Peak Lookout Forest Service Road. This marked the halfway point and the kids once more were climbing all over the huge granite boulders. The Rocky Ridge Trail is rightfully named for it's many, many rocks and beautiful scenery. We could see far off into the distance, including the NAU Sky-dome in Flagstaff. This was the most beautiful section of the trail from Buffalo Park to Schultz Creek. In no time at all we arrived at our truck shuttle waiting for us at Schultz Creek Trailhead and after logging another 5 enjoyable miles on the AZT, we drove back to Buffalo Park then headed out for a delicious dinner at the Arizona Highways Best Restaurant 2013 issue, award winning eatery Pizzicletta! After grabbing some great to go dinner eats we made our way to one of our favorite FREE Camping/Boondocking spots which was thankfully unoccupied and enjoyed the award winning pizza besides our campfire.


Day 4 AZT #34 start to Schultz Creek Trailhead (Downhill) August 23, 2015: We jumped into our trucks and drove around the north east side where the AZT 32 trail follows the 556 Mount Elden Springs Forest Service Road. As we arrived at Schultz Tank Trailhead there were a hundreds of mountain bikers having a race on the AZT 32 section luckily, because we were set to hike the rest of AZT 33 which was the other way! The thunder clouds were building as we parked our truck at the Schultz Creek Trailhead and made our way back up to the AZT 33 ending point as it crossed the Schultz Creek dirt road where we parked the other truck. There is nearby room for 4 vehicles. Two at the trail crossing and two just a bit further north of the crossing. The thunder clouds rumbled and then started an hour long downpour that we waited out safely inside our truck. Then things quieted down enough with just some intermittent sprinkles which enabled us to hit the remaining 4 easy trail miles down hill all the way back to where our other truck was at the Schultz Creek Trailhead. This was our first section of Aspen mixed with pine trees and it was thoroughly soaked from the 10 o'clock thunderstorm. The kids were great spirits along the way and the storms helped to clear out only the die hard mountain bikers and few hikers we passed along the trail. All together these 4 miles were hiked downhill in just around 2 hours which was very good for us! Ending the AZT section 33 and sending us off to the Flagstaff Train Station for a tailgate party! WOHOO!!!
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