Hiking

Craving Color?

We’ve finally made it through the summer!  Do we dare say 100 degree days are behind us?  Maybe we’ll whisper it just to be safe.  As expected, as the weather cools in the desert it’s also cooling in the high country.  This means color!  Fall leaves will soon be decorating the mountainsides with an array of oranges, golds, reds and browns.  Fall in the Arizona mountains is something you don’t want to miss!  In this article by azcentral.com you will find detailed information on areas all over the state that offer amazing opportunities to witness this beautiful time of year.  Keep in mind that depending on the region it could be early October to mid November before some of the leaves begin to turn.  The US Forest Service has provided a website that will give you all the information on when certain regions come alive and how quickly you need to start planning your trip.

Enjoy the cool season everyone!  This is why we live here!

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Fido Friendly Fun Zones in the Phoenix Metro Area

Have you noticed that Fido has a case of cabin fever?  Being cooped up indoors during the summer can leave even our four legged companions antsy to get out and take in some fresh air.  If you’re new to the area or just looking for a new spot to explore, Phoenix is jam packed with dog friendly spots to sniff out this weekend.

1. Love to hike?  If you and your furry companion are hikers there are several trails within the city limits that you can venture out to.  South Mountain, Camelback Mountain, North Mountain and Piestewa Peak just to name a few.  Due to the fact that these are urban areas, you will encounter other hikers and K9’s; therefore, leashes are required.  Also, keep in mind some trails don’t allow dogs.  Check the park websites for information before heading out.

2.  RJ Dog Park at Pecos Park – on the southern end of town you will find a 2 acre off leash dog park for your furry friend.  Named after a police dog killed in the line of duty, RJ Dog Park is a great escape to let Fido run free for a few hours.  Equipped with lots and lots of grass, water, shade, and two fully fenced areas – one for large dogs and the other for the little guys.

3.  Echo Mountain Off Leash Dog Park – on the north side is a 2.3 acre grassy off leash park built with the support of the Echo Mountain Neighborhood Coalition, the park features divided separately fenced areas for large dogs and smaller dogs under 20 pounds, shade, and cool water.  Mutt Mitts are also provided for clean ups.

4.  Steele Indian School Park Dog Park – located in the center of Phoenix, this park offers double gated entrances and cold drinking fountains for you and your pooch.  Also provided are separately fenced turf areas for large and small dogs; one acre for the large dogs and .63 acres for the small ones and solar powered lighted areas.

After an early start to your day either at the mountain, a park or just a stroll down the block don’t forget to stop off at one of our city’s fine dog friendly restaurants for coffee, brunch or an early lunch.  Visit www.bringfido.com to find information on many of the restaurants in town that cater to our canine friends as well.

These are just a few spots to check out in the Valley of the Sun.  As you may already know, Phoenix is a very outdoorsy, dog friendly city and you don’t have to try too hard to find a place to run free or rest your paws. Just remember, even though the weather is cooling down a tad it’s still warm out there folks; so, if you decide to venture out get an early start and take plenty of water!

Have fun this weekend everyone!!!

There’s More to Arizona than Just Desert

When most people think of Arizona they think of dry deserts, temperatures that can match the surface of the sun, cactus and tumbleweeds. Although the southern part of this great state is desert, there are miles and miles of forest areas as well.  State Fact – Arizona has the largest contiguous stand of Ponderosa Pines in the world.  These tall majestic trees stretch from near Flagstaff, all along the Mogollon Rim and into the White Mountain region.  That’s right folks it’s the largest pine forest in the entire world…Arizona  is NOT just a desert!   With the unforgettable scenery, breathtaking views, historical landmarks and an abundance of wildlife, the Arizona mountains are a must see for anyone who loves the outdoors.

It’s going to be hot and humid in the Valley of the Sun again this weekend.  Yes, it’s September.  Yes, the weather should be cooling down.  And yes, we know you’re probably tired of the heat.  However, the fact remains, we’re not through it yet and there are still a few weeks left of summer temperatures.  Great news though…there’s still time to get up into the mountains to enjoy the fresh pine scented mountain air, beautiful scenery and cooler temps!  Take a drive up north into the pines.  Enjoy their beauty, listen to them sing as the wind blows through their needles and relax in their shade.   The great outdoors are calling your name this weekend!

Travel to the Thompson Trail

It’s going to be a hot one in Phoenix this weekend folks – 110!  Unless you enjoy the heat or have a pool, escape to the mountains for some cooler weather on this 3 day weekend.  One of our favorite mountainous areas is the White Mountains located about 3-4 hours outside of Phoenix.  Since most of us have a 3 day weekend ahead of us we thought the White Mountains would be a perfect spot to write about for this weekend’s getaway.  Check out the White Mountains Regional Chambers of Commerce website for all of the activities and lodging in the area.  Also, while you’re up there check out the Thompson Trail hike located near the west fork of the Black River.  It’s an easy 6.5 mile trek amongst some of our state’s most beautiful scenery.  If you’re not up for the full 6.5 miles there’s also an option to cut it down to 4.8.  Below we’ve included more information on the hike originally published by Arizona Highways Magazine.

Thompson Trail

Thompson Trail

Picture a long alpine valley at nearly 9,000 feet of elevation with a blue-ribbon trout stream running its entire length and forested slopes of spruce, fir and yellow-leafed aspen trees ascending to surrounding peaks. Imagine a level trail that meanders with the stream, mostly in sun, sometimes in shadow, never more than a few yards from the stream bank. Add a sunny Arizona fall morning with frost underfoot and a fine mist exhaled from the shallow, fast-moving waters. That’s a description of Forest Service Trail 629 (Thompson Trail) in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests. The trail traces a portion of the West Fork of the Black River near Big Lake in Arizona’s White Mountains. The round-trip length of the hike is either 4.8 or 6.5 miles, depending on whether you hike Trail 628A, the shorter loop that begins where the Thompson Trail meets the West Fork Trail, 628 in the trail system. Because it traverses sensitive riparian habitat, the Thompson Trail 629 is for hikers only. Trail 628, a section of which travels along an old railroad grade above and parallel to the Thompson Trail, is open to both hikers and mountain bikers. Either route offers views of some of Arizona’s most scenic landscapes.

Trail Guide

Length: 6.5 miles, round-trip

Elevation: 8,600 to 8,840 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Directions: From Springerville, drive south on U.S. Route 180/191 to State Route 260 and turn west. After 3 miles, turn south on State Route 261, which joins Forest Road 113 as it loops around Big Lake and becomes Forest Road 249E. To reach the trailhead from Big Lake, drive northwest on FR 249E until it merges with Forest Road 116, then it’s approximately 1.5 miles west to the trailhead at the confluence of Thompson Creek and the West Fork of the Black River at Thompson Ranch. A parking area and information kiosk indicate the trailhead.

Travel Advisory: This hike is best done in late spring, summer and autumn. Be prepared for any type of weather in Arizona’s high country.

Information: Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, Springerville Ranger District, 928-333-4372;www.fs.fed.us/r3/asnf/recreation/trails.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone and happy hiking!!!

 

Worth the Drive

Staying with our Friday theme by highlighting a cooler weekend destination, we’ve decided to showcase the North Rim of the Grand Canyon this week.  Some may argue the North Rim has more spectacular views than the South Rim and with 1/5 of the visitors than on the south side the North Rim is definitely worth the extra 5 hour drive.  The average high temperatures in August hover right around a refreshing 75 degrees and with a variety of hiking and lodging this is a perfect getaway.  Due to the fact that it is about a 6 hour drive from Phoenix we recommend you get on the road early.  Also,  if you can swing it – consider taking a 3 day weekend in order to enjoy all that the area has to offer.

We found a very informative website that highlights the north side of the park and we’ve shared information on the hiking trails below.  This was originally published by Hit the Trail and if you would like more information on the area you can follow this link to their site.

Bright Angel Point Trail

Bright Angel Point brochureHighly recommended as your first hike upon arriving at the North Rim! It is only ½ mile each way, paved, and takes you to one of the most spectacular views at Grand Canyon. A fabulous walk to during sunset to emphasize all the details and dimensions obscured mid-day when the sun is directly overhead. Since it does follow a ridge line for part of its distance, I have seen a few people who were troubled by the drop offs and unable to walk out to the point. Try it before you decide to not to hike to it; it is a sight to behold! The trail begins at the log shelter in the parking area by the Visitor Center or at the corner of the back porch behind the lodge.

To get the most out of your visit to the point, download the park’s brochure for Bright Angel Point in PDF format (1.65 MB).

Transept Trail

Another wonderful hike located right in the village area of the North Rim. The Transept Trail connects Grand Canyon Lodge to the North Rim Campground and follows the rim of a side canyon called Transept. Although not paved, it is an easy trail that doesn’t have any terrible drop offs along its edge to discourage those with a fear of heights. The trail takes you through Quaking aspens and ponderosa pines, making a very pleasant walk that isn’t too demanding for most people.

Uncle Jim Trail

The Uncle Jim Trail begins at the North Kaibab Trail parking lot and is 2.5 each way. It winds through the forest and comes out to a spectacular point that looks out over the canyon and the North Kaibab Trail switchbacks. It is a pleasant enough trail, but since it is used by mules, let’s just say that the scent of pine tress is not the prevalent “fragrance” here!

North Kaibab Trail

The North Kaibab Trail is the only maintained trail from the North Rim that can take you all the way down to the Colorado River. It is 14 miles one way to the river—with over a mile drop in elevation—and NOT a day hike. However, there are several destinations that make great day hikes. Do be aware that the trail begins at 8,000 feet in elevation, and therefore is pretty strenuous hiking back out no matter how you look at it!

In spite of this challenge, I highly recommend a hike to the Coconino Overlook for nearly anyone. To get to this incredible viewpoint is only ¾ mile one way and provides one of the greatest views to be seen from the North Rim. It is one of my favorite spots along the North Kaibab Trail!

Another ½ mile from the Coconino Overlook, two miles from the rim, is the Supai Tunnel. This is the turning around point for the short day mule trips. There are toilets here as well as a water faucet (check availability before counting on water here). This is a common turn around point for day hikers who don’t want to get into much strenuous hiking. Be very careful leaving packs unattended here as the squirrels can destroy them in seconds looking for food!

Nearly five miles and 3050 feet down will take you to Roaring Springs. This is an extremely strenuous hike and takes a full day to do. It can also be extremely hot in the inner canyon, especially when compared to your starting point on the rim, and requires carrying up to one gallon of water per person. I cannot stress enough how important it is to get started as early as possible. I am not exaggerating when I recommend that you start no later than dawn. You can’t know how important this is until you are stuck below the rim in oven-like temperatures! Roaring Springs is the turn around point for the long mule rides. No mule rides go beyond Roaring Springs; Phantom Ranch can only be accessed by mule from the South Rim.

Widforss Trail

Widforss Trail brochureA very pleasant, relatively level hike through the aspen and pine forest. The trail ends at the rim of the canyon, 2½ miles distance one way. A great hike to take a picnic lunch along. To access the trailhead, watch for the dirt road located one mouth south of the Scenic Drive/Cape Royal Road. Drive in ¼ mile to the Widforss Trail parking area.

To get the most out of your hike, download the park’s brochure for the Widforss Trail available in PDF format (1.75 MB).

Ken Patrick Trail

10 mi. / 16 km one-way; 6 hours approximate one-way hiking time. Winds through the forest and along the rim from Point Imperial to the North Kaibab Trail parking area.

Cape Final Trail

4.0 mi. / 6.4 km round-trip; 2 hours approximate round-trip hiking time. A 2-mile walk from dirt parking area to Cape Final. This trail offers a view of the canyon.

Cliff Springs Trail

1.0 mi. / 1.6 km round-trip; 1 hour approximate round-trip hiking time. Meanders down a forested ravine and ends where a chest-high boulder rests under a large overhang. The spring is on the cliff side of the boulder. Please do not drink the water as it may be contaminated. Trail begins directly across the road from a small pullout on a curve 0.3 miles/0.5 km down the road from Cape Royal.

Cape Royal Trail

0.6 mi. / 1.0 km round-trip; 30 minutes approximate round-trip hiking time. An easy walk on a flat, paved trail providing views of the canyon, Angels Window, and the Colorado River. Markers along the trail interpret the area’s natural history. Trail begins at the southeast side of the Cape Royal parking area.

Point Imperial Trail

4.0 mi. / 6.4 km round-trip; 2 hours approximate round-trip hiking time. This easy trail passes through areas burned by the 2000 Outlet Fire and ends at the north park boundary. From there connections are possible to the Nankoweap Trail and U.S. Forest Service roads.

Roosevelt Point Trail

0.2 mi. / 0.3 km round-trip; 20 minutes approximate round-trip hiking time. This trail is a short, secluded woodland loop with spectacular views. Offers benches for relaxed enjoyment of the canyon.

Safe travels and have a great weekend everyone!!!

The Open Road

Sometimes it’s nice to get out of town and just go for a scenic drive.  Arizona offers many beautiful places to view from the road.  This particular drive originally posted in Arizona Highways Magazine is just a short trip north from Phoenix.  You can choose to head out of town for the day or let the open road take you for the weekend…it’s up to you!

Beaver Creek

This drive through Beaver Creek country, northeast of Camp Verde, offers history, rock art, hiking and spectacular views. The route, suitable for passenger vehicles, begins on Beaver Creek Road just off Interstate 17. The first nod to the region’s history takes place at the Montezuma Well section of Montezuma Castle National Monument. The ancient Sinagua Indians formed a thriving farming community there beginning about 900 A.D. A short walk uphill along a paved trail takes you to the well that provided the Sinagua with much-needed water, but that isn’t the only water in the region. Hike down the hill’s back side to lush Wet Beaver Creek, where water spills over terraced boulders that are shaded by sycamore and ash trees. A few miles down the road from the well, three popular trails – Bell, White Mesa and Apache Maid — lure hikers. From that point, the road travels across several one-lane bridges and a country boarding school to the V-Bar-V Heritage Site, where after a short half-mile hike, visitors can see more than 1,300 petroglyphs depicting everything from snakes to humans with walking sticks. From there, drive past the M Diamond Ranch through rolling hills and flat-topped mesas back to State Route 260 that connects to I-17.

 

Tour Guide

Route: From Interstate 17 at McGuireville, Exit 293, turn right onto East Beaver Creek Road and drive 4.2 miles through the towns of McGuireville and Rimrock to the entrance to Montezuma Well. The pavement ends here and the road becomes Forest Road 119. Past Montezuma Well, continue for 3 miles to the intersection with Forest Road 618 and turn right onto FR 618 (paved) and drive another 1.9 miles, past the parking area for the three trails to the entrance of the V-Bar-V Heritage Site. There, you’ll find a modified T-intersection with a small desert island in the middle. Turn right there to go to V-Bar-V. From that intersection, travel 3.8 miles south to the M Diamond Ranch and from there, drive another 7.2 miles to State Route 260 and turn right to go to Camp Verde and I-17.

Enjoy your weekend everyone!  Try to stay cool out there!

Get Outta Town and Cool Off this Weekend!

We thought we’d showcase a little out of town hike for you in this week’s Friday post. Located near Williams, AZ this hike was originally posted by Arizona Highways Magazine online.  Treat yourself to a short scenic drive to the Arizona high country for cooler temperatures and enjoy some ancient scenery.

Keyhole Sink

Gray-black basalt cliffs surrounding three sides of Keyhole Sink guard a small forest glade in the Kaibab National Forest, west of Flagstaff. From the Oak Hill Snow Play Area parking lot, 4 miles west of the tiny town of Parks, cross Historic Route 66 to the Keyhole Sink trailhead. The trail, a 2-mile round trip, is rated as easy. Rocky in spots, it gently slopes down into a small box canyon, where a thousand years ago, ancient Indians carved petroglyphs into the volcanic canyon walls. At an elevation of 7,000 feet, the route makes a cool summer hike, and blue triangle markers nailed to trees guide cross-country skiers along the trail in the winter. The trail gradually descends to the bottom of a small draw covered with wild rosebushes and irises. Over thousands of years, the erosion of a lava flow created this keyhole-shaped canyon. The trail ends at a small pond at the base of the darkest basalt cliffs that stand 30 to 40 feet high. The size of the water hole depends on precipitation and can range from bone-dry to about 4 feet deep.

Keyhole Sink Waterfall

 

Trail Guide

Length: 2 miles, round-trip
Elevation: 7,000 feet
Difficulty: Easy
Directions: From Flagstaff, travel west on Interstate 40 to Exit 178, Parks Road. Leaving I-40, drive north .4 mile on Parks Road to Historic Route 66 and turn left, heading west for 4.2 miles. A brown sign on the right marks the Oak Hill Snow Play Area; the parking lot is on the left just past the sign. The trailhead starts across the highway from the parking lot.
Information: Kaibab National Forest, Williams Ranger District, 928-635-5600;www.fs.fed.us/r3/kai/recreation/trails.

Get out of the heat, soak up some fresh air and take a hike!

Get Away From the Heat This Weekend and Enjoy Some Fresh Mountain Air

Looking for a way to escape the heat this weekend?  A great way to cool off and explore some gorgeous areas of our beautiful state is to get out and take a hike!  Arizona has a reputation of being a desolate wasteland of cactus, rattlesnakes and temperatures that resemble that of the surface of the sun.  This is simply not the case – at least not the entire state anyway!  Fact – “Arizona has the largest contiguous stand of ponderosa pines in the world stretching from near Flagstaff along the Mogollon Rim to the White Mountains region.”

This means there are endless trails throughout these forests just waiting for you to discover.  Whether you only have time for a short day trip or you stay the night and camp, escaping to the high country is the perfect way to enjoy your time during an Arizona summer.  Grab your hiking boots, get the kids and the dog, pack a lunch and head for the hills! Enjoy your weekend away from it all and soak up some fresh mountain air!

Explore Arizona this Weekend

If you’re looking to get out of town this holiday weekend but haven’t decided where to go yet, we’ve got a few of Arizona’s top destinations for you to set out and explore:

1.  Grand Canyon National Park – whether you’ve seen it before or it’s still on your bucket list, every time you visit the Grand Canyon you are sure to see something new and memorable.  It is always an amazing place to visit and once you’ve witnessed it’s glory it is clear to understand why it has been listed as one of the seven natural wonders of the world.  Whether you go for the day and gaze out over the rim, hike in and explore or raft the Colorado River, the Grand Canyon will never disappoint and will leave lasting memories for years and years to come.  Visit Grand Canyon National Park for more information.
Grand Canyon

2. SedoSedonana and the Verde Valley – Towering red rocks, eclectic towns and miles of vineyards.  That’s right, you heard me…vineyards in Arizona!  The Verde Valley is home to a variety of culture, picturesque views and outdoor adventures.  From Sedona’s red rocks to Jerome‘s ghost town history you won’t have a dull moment exploring this part of Arizona.  Conveniently located less than 2 hours from Phoenix this day trip worthy destination is sure to delight all walks of life.  If you visit don’t forget to squeeze in a little wine tasting, AZ wines are mighty tasty!

3.  Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park – One of the most photographed areas in the world.  Located inside the Navajo Nation this area spans the border of Arizona and Utah.  Home to unforgettable sandstone towers that can reach up to 1,000 feet high and crimson colored mesas, this surreal landscape is mesmerizing.  Located just 4 hours northeast of Flagstaff.  See Navajo Nation Parks & Recreation‘s website for additional details.
Monument Valley

4.  Chiricahua National Monument – You don’t want to miss the natural beauty of this southern ArChiricahuaizona destination.  Located just 2 hours from Bisbee, AZ is the “Wonderland of Rocks”  known as one of the National Park Service’s secret treasures.  This unique park offers endless views of astounding rock formations also known as “Hoodoos”.  The area offers an 8 mile paved scenic drive and 17 miles of hiking trails.  Also stop by the visitor’s center to learn more about the flora, fauna, and ancient history of this amazing part of the state.

5.  Flagstaff – Escape the heat by visiting Flagstaff, AZ.  Just 2 short hours north of Phoenix this mountainous destination is loaded with things to do for the whole family.  Whether your interests lead you outdoors or into town, this modern day old west pioneer town has it all.  Hiking, biking, fishing, horseback riding, dining, theater, arts, you name it…they’ve got it!  Visit Flagstaff’s website for all of the details to plan your trip!
Flagstaff

No matter what your plans are for this upcoming 3 day weekend we hope you have a safe and happy one!

Visit Phoenix this Spring!

Are you ready for the summer weather but find that Mother Nature isn’t quite on the same page with you just yet? Guess what? Phoenix is just what you’re looking for! With current temperatures in the 80’s and 90’s it’s one of the best early summer places to visit right now. This time of year is the perfect time to see the desert with comfortable temperatures, beautiful blooming landscapes and a multitude of outdoor activities to entertain all walks of life.

Arizona Spring

 

If you’re looking for a weekend golf getaway, Phoenix is the place for you! The Metro Area has 185 golf courses to choose from! Take your pick from easy 9 hole executive courses to PGA tournament ready, long, beautiful fairways. We’ve got it all!

AZ Golf Course

From fine dining to a casual beer festival this city knows how to do it right. With so much cultural diversity you will find several types of food and drink from all over the world right in our backyard. Come hungry and leave with a full tummy!

Culinary

If you’re the outdoorsy type this is the place to be! Phoenix has several mountain preserves for hiking, biking, bird watching and so much more! If the cold dreary winter is still lingering in your home state and you’re itching to get out…come on down to the desert for some fun in the sun!

Phoenix Hiking

We hope that this article will entice you to come on out for a visit! AvenueWest Phoenix will be happy to accommodate you with your lodging while you’re here. Please visit our website for more information on your new home away from home!