In October 2010, the Coconino National Forest announced the formal consolidation of the Peaks and Mormon Lake ranger districts into the Flagstaff Ranger District. The Flagstaff Ranger District now encompasses nearly 850,000 acres of National Forest lands around the Flagstaff area, from Mormon Lake and Anderson Mesa to north of the San Francisco Peaks.
At 12,643 feet, the San Francisco Peaks is not only the dominant feature of the forest area we call the Volcanic Highlands, it's also the highest mountain in Arizona. Three of the summits that ring this dormant volcano's now quiet inner caldera are higher than any other mountain in the state.
This mountain is sacred to the native peoples that live in the area and its soaring profile set against a blue Arizona sky serves as a source of awe to contemporary residents and visitors. Views from the summit of the San Francisco Peaks stretch to the Grand Canyon's North Rim over eighty miles away.
Hiking, sightseeing, wildlife watching and skiing are the predominant recreation activities enjoyed in this land of mountains, forests and lava flows.
Flagstaff Ranger District, extends from north of the Peaks to the south. This rolling highland is a land of ponderosa pine forests and pinyon/juniper woodlands clustered around broad prairies and small lakes. Arizona's largest natural lake, Mormon Lake, is located here. The area is also known for its plentiful wildlife. Large herds of elk roam the forests and edgelands. Bald eagles and ospreys live and hunt around the lakes. Pronghorn antelope graze the prairies.
Principal recreation activities among the lakes and prairies are boating, fishing, camping, and wildlife watching. The area also boasts some excellent cross-country skiing in good snow years.
Recreation Activities for the Flagstaff District shown in tables:
The Mogollon Rim is a rugged escarpment that forms the southern limit of the Colorado Plateau. It extends across the entire forest and provides excellent views within Plateau Country and Desert Canyon Country as well. Dropping as much as 2,000 feet in some areas, the Rim provides some of the most far-reaching scenery in Arizona. Views stretch from its rocky precipice to Four Peaks of the Mazatzals northeast of Phoenix.
Needless to say, sightseeing is a favorite activity along the Rim, but this forest area also boasts a historic system of hiking and horseback trails, a couple of picturesque lakes for boating and fishing, and backcountry skiing for wilderness adventurers. The Mogollon Rim is home to Camp Colley, an outdoor adventure camp at Little Moqui, run by the City of Phoenix, Parks and Recreation.
The photo above (see larger view) was taken by Mark Hickcox, Civil Engineer Tech on the Mogollon Rim District, from the Hutch Mountain Lookout Tower in the summer of 2011. It is looking south-east toward Long Lake.
Recreation Activities for the Mogollon Rim District shown in tables:
The Cabin Loop Trail System is the link between the earliest fire guard cabin network in this area of the Mogollon Rim and has its roots in the beginning of the Forest Service era here. The trail was developed between the General Springs Cabin, Pinchot Cabin, and Buck Springs Fire Guard Station. Administratively, the cabins were part of the Bly Ranger District, now the Blue Ridge Office of the Mogollon Rim Ranger District.
The Bly Ranger District had a winter administrative headquarters at the Old Bly Ranger Station located about 10 miles north of the present Blue Ridge Office. The summer headquarters for the Bly District was the Blue Ridge cabin near Rock Crossing Campground. These two cabins are no longer in existence.
The trail passes through some of the most spectacular country in Arizona and you will encounter a variety of landforms, vegetative communities, and a number of springs and perennial water sources. It is important to remember that trails such as those that make up the Cabin Loop Trail System provide the only access to the country in the early days. These and other trails were used and maintained by early Forest Rangers, ranchers and settlers. Livestock was driven up the Rim from the Tonto Basin and grazed during the summer up on the Rim. Portions of the trails are still used by ranchers for moving livestock. Historic accounts tell us that the old timers who made and used the trails blazed them to a height of 6 or 7 feet so the trails could be followed even after a deep snow. Maintenance and repair of the old telephone line was a priority for the rangers each spring. Their accounts indicate that snow lasted late here and it wasn't uncommon for them to have a ride over 4 foot drifts during spring rounds.
The Forest Service is proud of our history and we hope that you will enjoy your "walk into the past".
The colorful collection of buttes, pinnacles, mesas and canyons surrounding Sedona is famous the world around for its red rock vistas. Over the years, this area has served as the setting of many western novels and movies and has been the subject of uncounted paintings, photographs and other works of art. The remains of ancient wetlands, these crimson cliffs have been carved by the forces of the desert into one of nature's most magnificent masterpieces.
No matter what you do in Red Rock Country, you're always sightseeing. Ways to get even closer to all this scenery include: hiking, horseback riding, taking a scenic drive, sliding down a natural waterslide, picnicking, camping, taking lots of photos and fishing in Oak Creek. The Red Rock District includes some 160,000 acres of magnificent splendor. Some areas require a pass to park, so be sure to check out the information about our Red Rock Pass Program.