Frequently Asked Questions
Animals and Insects
Generally, dogs (pets), are allowed anywhere in the forest provided they are leashed and controlled at all times. Owners must pick up after their pets. DO NOT leave poop from your pet or leave bags of poop from your pet(s) along the trail/trailhead. If your pet defecates, you must bag the poop and take it with you at that moment. DO NOT leave it for picking up later. If you do not want to do this, do not bring your pet on to national forest land.
Please note the following exceptions:
- Pets are not allowed on the grounds of the Red Rock District Heritage Sites (Palatki, Honanki, and Grasshopper Point.
- Pets are not allowed at Red Rock State Park.
- Pets are allowed at Slide Rock State Park, but they are not allowed down by the water.
- Pets are allowed at Elden Pueblo except during "schools" and planned programs.
- The Inner Basin is closed to horses and livestock above the snow shelter cabin at the upper junction of Waterline Road and Inner Basin Trail (Forest Order 04-149).
While a few developed trails on the forest prohibit equestrian use, most roads and trails are open to your use of horses. The prohibited trails include the Humphreys Trail, the Inner Basin Trail in the Kachina Peaks Wilderness, and Elden Lookout Trail.
Hunting units 11M and 7 are fairly high density recreation areas, especially when the fall colors are out, so if you ride your horse in these areas, stay alert. Units 5BN, 5BS, 6A, 5A, and the north end of 6B are much lower density and elk plentiful. These areas also have very good opportunities to "disperse camp" with horses. We ask that all campers, including horse campers, use Leave No Trace camping techniques. For people with horses this includes: using certified weed/seed-free feed, using highlines, hobbles, pickets, or portable corrals (which ever your animals are used to) for containing livestock when not being ridden; raking soil and natural forest litter (kicked up by people and horses) back into place when pulling out of camp; scattering manure piles and remnant hay so they break down naturally and leave the camp ready for the next group; don't tie your horse up to trees for more than 5-15 minutes, especially if your animals have a tendency to paw at the ground or chew on the trees; use a portable toilet or the "cat hole method" for the humans in the group; only collect dead and down wood for campfires and wood stoves or bring wood with you; etc. Also, haul plenty of water as many of our stock tanks are dry.
Literature references indicate that no-see-um species found in Arizona and the southwest are of the genus Culicoides (family Ceratopogonidae). Adult no-see-ums are less than 1/16-inch long, can easily pass through normal window screens, and resemble a smaller, more compact version of the mosquito. They are most active in early mornings and evenings of mid to late summer. Mouth parts are well developed with elongated mandibles adapted for blood sucking. Both males and females feed on flower nectar but only the female feeds on blood. She must consume blood for her eggs to mature and become viable.
Bites of these tiny flies are painful and irritating. The bite usually starts as a small red welt (1/8” or so) or water-filled blister that itches. Once scratched, the welt can break open and bleed, but the itching usually continues. Allergic or sensitive individuals may develop long-lasting painful and itchy lesions. Bite treatments recommended by some dermatologists include topical cortisone creams and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen. Persons having severe reactions should consult a physician or dermatologist.
Called noseeum or cedar gnat... depends on who you talk to.
Information about these biting pests:
- They need a small amount of barely moist soil to breed.
- They usually hatch in early to mid June and last about a month.
- The female is the biter and needs animal blood for the eggs.
- A juniper (what locals call cedar but is not) is a perfect place for them to hatch in the soil.
- Also they have a short range of only about 40 feet and never venture too far out.
Collection of arrowheads or other artifacts is not allowed on National Forests. Doing so destroys the historical significance of the artifacts. If you find any artifacts that you believe have not been discovered, please leave it where it is, take note of the location and then contact one of our Ranger Stations so our archaeologists can document the finding.
The sign at the Bell Trailhead is correct in that we discourage trailers at this Trailhead. That is the reason we constructed the Bruce Brockett Trailhead for trailers and equestrian trailer parking and the trail from this trailhead connects to the Bell Trail.
Cabin reservations (except the Arizona Nordic Village) may be made up to 180 days in advance on-line. Go to our Cabin Rentals page for specific details about cabins located on Coconino National Forest and how to reserve them.
Camping & Campgrounds
Dispersed camping means you are camping out in the forest by yourself at a location of your choosing. When you hike or drive to a location and camp in the middle of nowhere, you are dispersed camping. It may look like a developed campsite because someone may have left a ring of rocks that looks like a good place for a campfire, but if there is no concessionaire and you haven't paid to reserve the spot, you are dispersed camping.
Camping within a "develop campground" or "developed recreation site" means you are camping in a commercially-developed site that has a contracted concessionaire employed to manage the site and has multiple "campsites" that you reserve and pay for. These developed campgrounds typically have established metal fire rings for campfires and designated spots you pay for to camp overnight. To make reservations at one of the developed campgrounds, please visit Recreation.Gov
Campgrounds on the district take cash or Arizona checks, sorry, no credit cards. If you make reservations via the National Reservation System (Recreation.Gov) you can use a credit card.
All of our campgrounds have sites that are available on a "first-come, first-serve" basis. However, some campgrounds have sites that are reservable. If you would like to reserve a site, call (Recreation.Gov) at 877-444-6777 (toll free number), TDD at 877-833-6777. For those who prefer solitude and privacy, dispersed or backcountry camping in allowed anywhere within the forest boundary (with some exceptions). Although there are some restrictions, signs will indicate where those restrictions apply.
No, vehicles, personal property or other objects including tents left on the forest for the purpose of reserving a campsite or storing property is in violation of Title 36CFR 261.10(f)"Placing a vehicle or other object in such a manner that is an impediment or hazard to the safety or convenience of any person". The violation is a Class B Misdemeanor with a fine of $250. In addition leaving property unattended for 72-hours is considered abandon property under Title 36 261.10(e) "Abandoning personal property". Fine is $250 for a vehicle or structure and $100 for other objects. Vehicles and other personal property left unattended over 72-hours may be impounded by the Forest Service.
Forest Officers experience increase violations during busy Holiday weekends and during the hunting season. To avoid a citation and/or impounding of your personal property do not leave property unattended in the forest.
Christmas Tree Permits can be purchased seasonally (usually mid-November to December 24) at Recreation.gov where more information can be found including designated cutting areas, maps, dates, and types of trees that may be cut. Permits will be issued one per household on a first-come, first-served basis until sold out.
Decorating trees is a wonderful tradition, but much more appropriate on private and commercial property than on the National Forest. The Forest Service will be proactively taking steps to prevent tree decorating on the National Forest. Decorations will be promptly removed, and individuals responsible can be issued violation notices under the Code of Federal Regulations CFR 261.11b for "possessing or leaving litter on the National Forest" with a fine of $150 or more.
A closure is a restriction upon certain activities or public use of a defined area on the Forest. For example, vehicular use of certain roads may be restricted when they are wet. The purpose of this type of closure would be to prevent damage to the road itself and subsequent damage to soils or streams from water or mud draining off the damaged road. Closures might also be implemented to help prevent human-caused fires, protect human life, or protect property associated with government activities.
In cases when there is extreme fire danger, sometimes the entire or parts of the National Forest will be closed. You can find more information about "Stage 3 - Forest Closure" in this regard at the bottom of our Fire Restrictions Stages Explained page.
It is the word the Hopi use for Havasupai and Yavapai Indians. The Coconino National Forest was so named because it is located in the central portion of Coconino County. Find more information about Coconino National Forest and how it originated on our About the Area page.
If it is an emergency, please dial 911. If not, please call the Coconino National Forest Dispatch Office at (928) 527-3552 so that a Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer can investigate. If you are on Coconino County land, you should contact the Coconino County Sheriff's Office at (928) 774-4523. In any case, you will need to know the location of the crime or issue at hand, so be prepared to describe where you are or where the activity is taking place. This is usually done by noting what road or Forest Road you are on. It is recommended that you download and use the free Avenza app on your phone, which uses your GPS to show you what Forest Road you are on. Look for and download the latest "Coconino National Forest Travel Map" on the Avenza app, which is free.
Please visit our Drone Use in National Forests page.
The models are pretty consistent in predicting increased temperature and increased greenhouse gasses over the next 40 to 50 years but there aren't any good predictive models for precipitation. That makes it impossible to predict what may happen to the pine forest. One thing to remember is that we regularly experience drought and have experienced severe, prolonged droughts in the past and the pine forest is still here. If the drought persists, we expect to see increased mortality due to bark beetles and some pine trees dying from lack of moisture. We don't foresee losing the entire pine forest. A good resource for information is the Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS) at the University of Arizona.
Employment and Volunteering
Well, since you're obviously an internet user, you can access our job listings on the internet! Go to http://www.usajobs.gov (or link to it from our Employment page). The jobs are posted in alphabetical order by their title (i.e. archaeologist or forestry technician). This is a listing of Forest Service jobs nation-wide.
Yes! The public plays a very important part in managing your National Forests. The Coconino National Forest relies more and more on volunteers to assist with campgrounds, trails and other programs. Concerned citizens help the Forest Service to provide better wildlife habitat, identify and preserve historic sites, and build and maintain trails. We extend a warm welcome to all who wish to volunteer on the Coconino National Forest. Just contact the Ranger Station in the area that you wish to volunteer to find out about opportunities.
Fire restrictions are issued by the Forest Supervisor after coordinating with District Rangers and Fire Management Officers on local conditions. Conditions that could warrant the issuance of fire restrictions include, but are not limited to: high temperatures, low humidities, low fuel moistures, and an increase in the number of fire starts.
When in effect, fire restrictions mean campfires and smoking are not permitted. Charcoal, wood and coal fires outside of dwellings are classified as campfires. However, gas burning stoves and grills are permitted (during Stage 1). Smoking is permitted in designated forest camp and picnic grounds or in a vehicle provided an ash tray is used. Check out our Fire Restriction Stages Explained page for specific details about the different stages of fire restrictions.
Permits authorizing campfires may be issued by designated Forest Officers when local conditions are favorable and/or in some Forest Service developed camp or picnic grounds. It is advised to call ahead to each local district office as restrictions may vary on the forest.
Additional information is available at the Fire page.
In general, visits from the public are up to each lookout. For the most part, they're all pretty receptive to the public's visits. Generally, they'll allow people to climb up, show them around, but, if they're busy or want to spend their down-time alone, they may not allow visitors.
Some post their "visitation hours" at the gates at the bottom of the road, but a good rule of thumb is that if the gate is closed, it's a "No-Go".
Also, when the lookouts aren't staffed, the towers are off-limits to the public.
Down and dead firewood may be gathered around your camping area for use at your campsite but it is illegal to load wood in a vehicle to take out of the Forest without a special permit. (You may not cut standing trees nor can you cut limbs off of standing trees.)
The now-national Wood for Life program was originally born and stood up by the Coconino National Forest and is something we are extremely proud of. More than 20 organizations constitute the Wood for Life partnership, which provides local tribes with sustainable firewood sourced from forest restoration projects. The project is conducted in conjunction with the National Forest Foundation, local tribal governments and communities, and Ancestral Lands Conservation Corps. Please see the National Forest Foundation's page online for more information about the program and how to obtain wood if you are a local tribe.
Please see our Forest Products Permit page for more details.
There are many different places to fish on the Coconino National Forest! Check out our Fishing page to select from some different options.
No. Currently there is no official policy related to geocaching on this national forest. There are, however, federal rules and regulations that pertain directly to geocashing.
Concerns and limitations include unauthorized burying or hiking in the alpine tundra, disturbance (digging and trampling) of sensitive soils (microbiotic crust at lower elevations), disturbance of archeological resources, disturbance of TE&S (Threatened and Endangered Species), and unauthorized use of motorized or mechanized equipment in wilderness areas.
No soil disturbance is permitted for any geocache placement on the Forest. Caches should be covered with leaves or woody debris if the geocacher chooses to screen the cache at the site.
Geocachers must remove their cache if the site receives a large number of visits by others as evidenced by a well-worn trail or path, as this disturbs soil and vegetation.
Caches should be removed after one year regardless of site activity and moved to a new location or removed from the national forest.
Guns and Paintballing
Yes. However, there are regulations and safety precautions that must be followed.
Federal Regulations for firearm use is the following (CFR, Title 36):
- No shooting within a 150 yards of a residence, building, campsite, developed recreation site or occupied area.
- No shooting across a road, trail or body of water, or in any manner or place whereby any person property is exposed to injury or damage as a result of such discharge.
- No shooting in a cave.
- No explosive targets. (261.52(b))
- No tracer rounds/ammunition.
Arizona Restrictions (AZ Hunting Regulations, AZGF):
- No shooting while hunting within one-quarter mile of any residence or building, or any other developed facility.
- No shooting from a vehicle while hunting.
- The sound of gunfire can make people nervous, so stay comfortably away from other forest visitors while shooting.
- Be certain of your target and what is behind your target.
- Know the maximum range of your firearm and ammunition you're using.
- Do not leave targets, shell casings or trash behind.
- Do not use glass objects as targets.
- Establish a "shooting lines" and safety rules if shooting with others.
Paintballing is allowed under the following conditions: you can't shoot across a road, trail or body of water and you can't jeopardize the safety of any person(s) that are not involved in the paintballing. You need to find a remote area to play. You need to pick up any litter and leave the area the way you found it. It is also a violation to shoot any signs or other property with paintballs.
As long as there is no hardware that damages vegetation, temporary hammocks are allowed and welcome for both overnight and day use.
Annually we close our developed campgrounds in September and October as use trickles off and it is no longer cost effective to keep these facilities open. However, most hunters camp near or in the hunt units at sites along Forest Roads - what we called dispersed campsites, not in our developed campgrounds. As such you would be able to camp along open Forest Roads outside of the city limits as marked on most maps and signed on the ground. NO CAMPING inside the city limits.
In terms of open roads - we close roads as they become snow-covered or saturated with moisture for two reasons: for public safety and to protect the road surface from rutting and damage caused by vehicle traffic in wet weather. We anticipate closing roads for the winter as weather conditions change. These roads once closed are closed to ALL MOTORIZED TRAFFIC including ATVs.
In terms of using your ATV or vehicle for game retrieval it is your responsibility to obey posted restrictions, such as any cross-country travel closures as they are signed on the ground. Where cross-country motorized travel is allowed we require that people ride safely and responsibly and attempt to avoid causing any damage to the landscape including ruts and damage to vegetation.
The FY 2007 President's budget proposes to reauthorize the Secure Rural Schools program for another five years. To help fund this initiative, the Administration recommends selling a limited number of acres of National Forest System lands around the nation. Lands that are potentially eligible have been identified. Learn more about available land.
Yes! Please see our Maps & Publications page for more details.
Mining & Metal Detecting
The Coconino National Forest is situated on mainly volcanic geology with very few streams. Gems and other valuable minerals (such as gold) are not known to commonly occur in this area. The few live streams we do have are mostly withdrawn from mineral entry to protect other resources.
All prospecting and mining activity on the National Forests is governed by Forest Service regulations 36 CFR 228. Generally, activities that do not cause surface disturbance (such as picking up rock samples) are allowed without any requirement to notify the Forest Service. For activities that cause surface disturbance (such as hole digging) or that use mechanized equipment (such as suction dredges), you may file a "Notice of Intent" with the local Ranger District. Some activities also require a “Plan of Operation”. You should allow at least 15 days for a response for a Notice of Intent and 30 days for an approval of a Plan of Operations.
It is Forest Service policy that the recreational use of metal detectors and the collection of rocks and mineral samples are allowed on the National Forests. Generally, most of the National Forests are open to recreational mineral and rock collecting, gold panning and prospecting using a metal detector. This low impact, casual activity usually does not require any authorization. However, this policy does not permit the use of metal detectors in or around known or undiscovered cultural or historic sites in order to protect our valuable, non-renewable historical resources.
On some eastern Forests gold panning does require a letter of authorization due to the high clay content of the soils. It is always wise to check with the local Ranger District if you have questions. Some wilderness areas are closed to gold panning and metal detecting.
Metal detecting is a legitimate means of locating gold or other mineral specimens and can be an effective prospecting tool for locating larger mineral deposits. This activity can also be conducted as a recreational activity locating lost coins, jewelry or other incidental metallic items of little historical value. Prospecting using a metal detector can be conducted under the General Mining Laws and is covered under the Forest Service 36 CFR 228A locatable mineral regulations for lands open to mineral entry. Metal detecting for treasure trove or lost items such as coins and jewelry is managed as a non minerals related recreation activity.
Metal detectors may be used on public land in areas that do not contain or would not reasonably be expected to contain archaeological or historical resources. Normally, developed campgrounds, swimming beaches, and other developed recreation sites are open to recreational metal detecting unless there are archaeological or historical resources present. In such cases, forest supervisors are authorized to close the area to metal detecting and the closure would be posted at the site. Such closure notices are not always practical in undeveloped areas, and federal agencies have not identified every archaeological site on public lands. It is possible; therefore, that you may encounter such archaeological remains that have not yet been documented or an area that is not closed even though it does indeed contain such remains. Archaeological remains on public land are protected under law. If you were to discover such remains, you should leave them undisturbed and notify the local District office.
Four forms of metal detector use are recognized:
1. Searching for treasure trove: Treasure trove is defined as money, gems, or precious metals in the form of coin, plate, or bullion that has been deliberately hidden with the intention of recovering it later. This activity requires a Special Use Permit under The Act of June 4, 1897 (16 U.S.C. 551). Forest Service Manual 2724.4 states "allow persons to search for buried treasure on National Forest System lands, but protect the rights of the public regarding ownership of or claims on any recovered property."
2. Prospecting: Using a metal detector to locate gold or other mineral deposits is an allowed activity under the General Mining Laws and is subject to the 36 CFR 228A regulations. A Notice of Intent (36 CFR 228.4(a)) is normally not required for prospecting using a metal detector. A Notice of Intent (NOi) is required for any prospecting which might cause disturbance of surface resources. A plan of operation is required for any prospecting that will likely cause significant disturbance of surface resources. Normal metal detecting does not cause surface impacts that require either a NOi or a Plan of Operation. People who use metal detectors for prospecting should bear in mind that many of the mineralized lands within the National Forests and open to mineral entry have been "claimed" by others who have sole right to prospect and develop the mineral resources found on the mining claim. A search of County and Bureau of Land Management records should be made prior to prospecting to determine if an area has been claimed. Normally, any gold found can be removed and kept. If the removal of the gold, rocks, or minerals might cause disturbance of surface resources, beyond digging a small shallow hole, a NOi may be required.
3. Searching for historic or prehistoric artifacts: Using a metal detector to locate archaeological or historical remains is subject to the Antiquities Act of 1906 and the Archeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 (ARPA) as amended and requires a special use permit. Such permits are granted for scientific research only, however, there are many ways to get involved with organized, scientific research. See below for ways to use metal detectors for this purpose under sanctioned public archaeology programs.
4. Recreational pursuits: The most common form of metal detector use is searching for gold nuggets, lost coins, jewelry, and incidental metal items having no historical value. Such use is common in developed campgrounds, swimming areas, and picnic areas and requires no permit. However, one must assume personal responsibility to notice if the area may indeed contain archaeological or historical resources and if it does, cease metal detecting and notify a Forest Service office. Not doing so may result in prosecution under the Code of Federal Regulations or ARPA.
"NEPA" refers to the National Environmental Policy Act. NEPA provides direction for the planning, analysis and public disclosure of federally-funded project which affect our environment. The Schedule of Proposed Activities (SOPA) contains a listing of currently planned projects and other ongoing analysis related to the Forest's environment.
Paramotoring (aka Powered Paragliding)
Yes, paramotoring is allowed on national forest land, but there are some things to know about. You cannot launch from or land in a designated Wilderness Area (unless the landing is one of an emergency such as an engine out). The FAA is the authorizing agency for all U.S. airspace, so you must follow all the rules and regulations as outlined by the FAA in FAR, Part 103 when it comes to flying. Beyond FAR 103, a good resource to reference is USPPA's FAR 103 website. You may not fly through a TFR, which are common over areas of wildfires, so check your NOTAMS and TFRs if you are flying near an area that has a wildfire, as firefighters use aerial resources to combat wildfires. Do not fly near wildlife as much as you can avoid it.
Passes and Permits
The following acts are prohibited: establishment of monuments, burying a memorial box containing ashes, and commercial entities spreading ashes for another party as a paid service. Please note that group gatherings of more than 75 people require a Special Use permit.
Please see our Permits page for more information.
Please see our Red Rock Pass page for all the details and information.
Yes. Most National Forest roads are constructed and maintained for use by prudent drivers in high clearance vehicles (such as pickup trucks, sport utility vehicles, and commercial trucks) as opposed to ordinary passenger cars. Speed of travel is not usually a consideration in design of "high clearance" roads. Different skills are needed to drive these roads than are needed to drive down the highway in the family sedan.
- Commercial use of a Forest Service road requires authorization in a contract or permit. Commercial operators are required to perform or pay for road maintenance made necessary by their use.
- Snow is generally NOT plowed on Forest Service roads.
- Individual roads may be closed to vehicles to protect resources or simply because need for a road is intermittent in nature.
- Forest Service roads closed to vehicles are usually open to foot travel.
Each Forest Service road exists to serve a specific need or needs identified as necessary for management of the portion of National Forest the road serves. Roads are constructed and maintained with funds appropriated by Congress for management of the National Forests. The Forest Service is the owner of these roads. (By contrast, "public roads" are owned by cities, state, and counties; constructed and maintained with highway user funds such as gas tax and vehicle license fees; and are intended for all uses in the general commerce of the United States.) Thus, while the Forest Service roads are necessary for management of the public's National Forests, the roads themselves may not individually be open to all types of vehicles at all times.
When you visit the Coconino National Forest, you will probably reach your destination by traveling on a Forest Service road. Please drive carefully; paying attention to wildlife crossing the road, other traffic, and surface conditions. Please check our Forest Roads Status page for information on which main Forest Roads are open and which ones may be closed. It does not include all of the Forest Roads on the Forest, but does include the main network of frequently use or popular roads.
New rules for motor vehicle use based on the Travel Management Rule, went into effect on the Coconino National Forest May 1, 2012. The new rules require that motor vehicles stay on designated roads, trails, and areas shown on the Motor Vehicle Use Map (available for free at all National Forest offices). So, if you plan on camping, driving off-highway vehicles, hunting, or exploring the backcountry; please make sure you first get a free Motor Vehicle Use Map. There is more information available on the Travel Management webpage of this website. Know before you go.
San Francisco Peaks
Humphrey's Peak is the highest point in Arizona at 12,633 feet. The San Francisco Peaks are comprised of six main peaks and more details can be found on our History of the San Francisco Peaks page. Some scientists believe the San Francisco Peaks mountain range was actually one mountain with one peak that may have reached upwards of 16,000+ feet before erupting.
This list does not include deciduous (broadleaf) trees, but there several of these interesting and exciting trees that grow in various habitats on the Forest.
- Conifer trees of Coconino National Forest
- Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii)
- Blue spruce (Picea pungens)
- Corkbark fir (Abies lasiocarpa var. arizonica)
- Subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa var. lasiocarpa)
- Bristle cone pine (Pinus aristida)
- White fir (Abies concolor)
- Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)
- Southwestern white pine (Pinus strobiformis)
- Limber pine (Pinus flexilus)
- Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa)
- Pinyon pine (Pinus edulis)
- Single leaf pinyon pine (Pinus monophylla)
- Utah juniper (Juniperus osteosperma)
- Single seed juniper (Juniperus monosperma)
- Red berry juniper (Juniperus coahuilensis)
- Rocky Mountain juniper (Juniperus scopulorum)
- Alligator juniper (Juniperus deppeana)
- Arizona cypress (Cupressus arizonica)
The sticky substance that is causing the sheen on the needles of trees, the sticky film on your vehicle windshields and the goopy mess on sidewalks and roads is caused by aphids. Aphids are tiny insects that feed on tree and plant sap.
Tree stands are legal as long as you don’t leave them in the forest unattended and you don’t damage the tree. Tree stands need to be portable and removed when not in use. You cannot put nails or screws in a tree, or remove limbs, without causing damage to the tree. There are tree stands on the market that meet these requirements.
Bark Beetle Epidemic: Many people have inquired about the large number of dead pine trees they are seeing on the Coconino National Forest and around the City of Flagstaff. The majority of these trees have been attacked by beetles or have fallen victim to drought stress.
No. Failing to dispose of all garbage, including any paper, can, sewage, waste water or material, or rubbish either by removal the site or area, or by depositing it into receptacles or at places provided for such purposes can result in a fine. Please see 36 CFR 261.11(d), Sanitation.
General information about the aquifer under the Mogollon Rim: The primary groundwater aquifer for wells is the Coconino Sandstone. It stretches from the Mogollon Rim northward to the Grand Canyon and is a reliable water bearing strata between Flagstaff and the Rim. At the rim, the depth to groundwater is about 600-700' and this gradually deepens the further north you go. In the City of Flagstaff area, wells in the Coconino Sandstone and groundwater are 1500'-1800' deep. If you are interested in the aquifer feeding the springs in the Rim area, most of those are fed from localized pockets of water in the fissures of the Kaibab Limestone, which is the geologic layer found on the surface of the Rim and sits on top of the Coconino Sandstone.
For more detailed information, please see the USGS publication available online at http://az.water.usgs.gov , click on the recent publication "Hydrogeology of the Mogollon Highlands, Central Arizona..." The document refers to the C aquifer, which is the Coconino Sandstone aquifer.
Water quality in Oak Creek is sometimes affected by rain or snow runoff or by the high concentration of people visiting the area. These disturbances stir up sediment and increase levels of bacteria in the water. If you plan to recreate in the creek, you should call (928) 542-0202 to find out what the quality of the water is.
Yes, at your own risk. The lakes on this forest do not have sandy beaches and therefore are not conducive to swimming. The lake shores will either be very rocky or very muddy on your route to the water. Water quality is NOT monitored (except in Oak Creek Canyon) and there are no lifeguards.
Weddings & Special Events
Please see our Event/Commercial Permits page for more details and information.