Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Fisher Point run or bike - Flagstaff, AZ

One of my goals for the next year in Flagstaff is to explore some of the trails around Flagstaff for running. When I lived here before I always wanted to run certain loops but I never knew how long they  would actually be and if the terrain would be good for here we go, I explored my first point of interest.


Fisher point can be reached by many different trails. I decided to run from Lake Mary Road (Skunk Canyon Trail) towards Fisher Point, up the 1.2 miles to the top of Fisher point, a mile into Walnut Canyon (turn around at the secret cave) and back via Sandy's Canyon. The entire loop was 12 miles exactly and the terrain was great. The trail to and from Fisher point is soft dirt with the occasional rock. The 1.2 mile up to the top was pretty rocky, but nothing that requires trail shoes. Here is the Garmin map:

Park on Lake Mary Road just about .5 of a mile east of the Water treatment plant.
Run on the only designated trail there is.
After about .75 of a mile stay left and run into Skunk Canyon.
Once Skunk Canyon trail ends turn right (left would take you towards NAU).
Stay on that trail and it will bring you exactly to Fisher Point.
Go up if you want, go straight into Walnut Canyon if you want to go see the cave.
On the way back you have 4 choices, we went with Sandy's is how:
Go back on the trail you came from and do NOT turn left towards Marshall Lake (1st turn off/closest to Fisher Point)
Take the second possible trail that goes left into Sandy's Canyon (this is a trail with horse traffic, you can identify it by the horse shoe prints - DON'T MISS IT)
Follow it until it spits you out at Lake Mary road.
Run west on Lake Mary road until you get to the parking lot.

We ended up running back into Skunk Canyon to get our shirts that we had dropped off earlier.
Without going back it would have been an 11 mile run round trip.

1224 ft elevation gain (and the same amount of loss) including going up/down the 400 ft in 1.2 miles to the top of Fisher Point.

Turn off to the top of Fisher Point.

Now that I had done the route from Lake Mary Road, I wanted to explore the route from the NAU rec center on campus. As it turns out, this route is NOT as ideal for running as it has some really rocky spots...

Here is where we went:

NAU rec center to FUTS (Flagstaff Urban Trail System) - Sinclair Wash/Rio de Flag
Ride along Wash under the interstate to a pond - look ahead for the only trail that goes uphill STEEP
Connect to the Arizona Trail (STEEP ONE) which will lead you to a gate and directly onto the Fisher Point Trail
   ------just make sure you don't go off the main trail :-) ------
Again you end up at Fisher Point and you have the option of going up
Return on the same trail (Fisher Point Trail) until you encounter a trail called LOOP TRAIL (where you turn NORTH/down the hill) - it crosses Fisher Point Trail - don't miss it!!!
This will lead you to Hoffman Tank and through the Rio de Flag valley back to the FUTS by Sinclair Wash/Rio de Flag (there is only one main trail, so the chance of getting lost is pretty slim - but it could happen:-)

The loop from and back to the Rec center is about 13 miles and has lots of steep ups and downs.
Since we didn't go up to Fisher Point (not very good on a bike-better by foot), we ended up with 900 ft of elevation gain and 900 ft of loss.

The second route to Fisher Point is much more rocky and I would recommend running the route through the Rio de Flag valley/by Hoffman Tank BOTH ways to avoid the possible ankle twister trails that the Arizona Trail provides.
If you follow the FUTS/Rio de Flag valley to Loop Trail you will encounter this:

...nice sandy trails with minimal rocky parts.

I hope this post was helpful for all peeps visiting Flagstaff and please email me/connect with me if you have questions or need a running buddy for this trail. The scenery is soooo beautiful on these trails, I am up for the Fisher Point run at ANY time.

Next up: The 8 mile morning loop from downtown!!!

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