"Arizona State Parks: A Guide to Amazing Places in the Grand Canyon State." But the problem for people seeking to get their annual leaf-peeping fix is that popular spots high on the mountains can feel as congested as a shopping mall’s parking lot on Christmas Eve. Trail begins at milepost 247 off U.S. 180, 25 miles northwest of Flagstaff. Flagstaff is the closest major city to the loop, so it’s generally wise to begin your San Francisco Peaks Arizona road trip there. You do not need a Facebook profile to participate. Turn onto Forest Service Route 418 and drive 12 miles west to FS 151. At the Y, bear left. The Red Mountain Trail north of Flagstaff skirts past colorful hoodoos, twisted pillars and gnawed spires. Turn left onto FR 552 and continue 1.6 miles to U.S. Route 89. Driving down Hwy 89 toward the San Francisco Peaks from the town of Gray Mountain, AZ. If you set out on a road trip, remember to observe mask mandates and other COVID-19 safety practices. To the northeast, golden meadows fall away into the Painted Desert’s sea of color and space. Reproduction in part or whole without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. I couldn’t get enough of them and knew I was destined to be some kind of flannel-shirted mountain man romping at high elevation where the air is clean and pure. Read or Share this story: https://www.azcentral.com/story/travel/arizona/road-trips/2020/10/09/arizona-scenic-drive-san-francisco-peaks-loop-flagstaff/3630423001/, (Photo: Roger Naylor/Special for the Republic), "Arizona’s Scenic Roads and Hikes" is available in stores, on Amazon and at. August’s section will take us to Twin Peaks … (Photo: Roger Naylor/Special for the Republic). Summer sunflowers bloom in the meadows along the San Francisco Peaks Scenic Road. Log in to leave a tip here. Look for the signed parking area on the west side of 180, 7 miles past the turnoff for Snowbowl. Turn left onto FS 151 and drive south 8 miles to Hwy 180. Carry plenty of water. The trail starts along an old road that winds through junipers and pinion pines, then dips into the bed of a wash. After a mile the sandy streambed squeezes between towers of black cinders. We all cherish the memory of our first love. Taking in the views of the fall colors at the San Francisco Peaks and surrounding mountains with the drone. And welcome to my world! This new event is inspired by and made possible thanks to Kristine Poggioli and Carolyn Eidson, authors of Walking San Francisco’s 49 Mile Scenic Drive. As you climb up rocky FR 418, you’re skirting the boundary of the Kachina Peaks Wilderness and some of the most remote stretches of this long-dormant volcano. Traveling between these high lonely slopes across the plateau and into the arid depths of the nearby Grand Canyon was where biologist C. Hart Merriam developed his “life zones” concept — that altitude and temperature determine what type of plants grow in a particular place. That’s where I first set foot in Arizona. And as of October, Monument Valley and other tourism sites on the Navajo Reservation are still closed and curfews may be in effect. Look for it on the right side of 180, a couple of miles past the Snowbowl Road. Aspen leaves carpet a trail high up on the slopes of the San Francisco Peaks north of Flagstaff. U.S. 180 leaves from downtown Flagstaff and angles northwest along the western slope of the Peaks. Snowbowl Road, a paved road that goes on for 15 miles, is a quick drive … View album on Flicker . But the problem for people seeking to get their annual leaf-peeping fix is that popular spots high on the mountains can feel as congested as a shopping mall’s parking lot on Christmas Eve. https://www.truckcamperadventure.com/arizonas-san-francisco-peaks-drive On your left, the vibrant yellow leaves of young aspen stands pop against black remnants of the 1996 Hochderffer Fire. Join us in walking the city’s historic 49 Mile Scenic Drive in chunks over the course of nine months. The four major summits of the San Francisco Peaks are Fremont, Doyle, Agassiz and Humphreys. The San Francisco Peaks are the remnants of a stratovolcano that once rose to a height of 16,000 feet. For those that prefer skiing on more level terrain, Arizona Nordic Village offers miles of groomed cross-country trails during winter, and cabins and yurts for rent throughout the year. After 50 miles you’ll junction with Arizona 64 in the crossroads town of Valle. The road was originally constructed by the S.F. San Francisco Peaks Scenic Road Overview: Passing through thick forests, mountain meadows and sagebrush flats, this road travels along the edge of … Subscribe to azcentral.com today. It's part of a 64-acre Twin Peaks Natural Area and is free to visit 365 days a year (the peaks themselves cover about 31-acres). For me, it was Flagstaff. Downtown Association for the Golden Gate International Exposition in 1939 and featured a route between San Francisco City Hall and Treasure Island. Pioneer Museum (M2) is also nearby and showcases northern Arizonas early history, ranching, logging and transportation. A lone hiking trail climbs above the tree line and crosses alpine tundra to reach the summit of Humphreys Peak, the highest point in Arizona. Book your tickets online for San Francisco Peaks, Flagstaff: See 251 reviews, articles, and 73 photos of San Francisco Peaks, ranked No.6 on Tripadvisor among 73 attractions in Flagstaff. This is a test to see whether we can improve the experience for you. However, it's the most popular due to its central location and unobstructed views all around the SF Bay. About 3 miles after turning onto FR 418, you’ll reach the intersection with Forest Road 9123J and a spectacular panorama (and ideal picnic spot) that encompasses the crown jewels of Northern Arizona. Grand Canyon Loop. Drive for 1 mile and turn left on FR 171B to the parking lot. And they may not be finished. ). (Photo: Roger Naylor/Special for the Republic). There are two options, a 0.25-mile paved loop suitable for wheelchairs or the longer 1.5-mile loop that pushes deeper into the woods, past an aspen grove and returns along the edge of a lanky meadow. "Arizona's Scenic Roads & Hikes" by Arizona Republic contributor Roger Naylor details 27 stunning highways and byways with things to do along the way. If you’re looking for a place to pitch a tent, head down four-wheel-drive Forest Road 9219V to claim an isolated pullout that looks onto an aspen-encircled meadow. I have been to Half Moon Bay several times prior to this scenic drive from San Francisco Airport. On the outskirts of town, you’ll pass a couple of excellent museums. That’s why I wrote my latest book, "Arizona’s Scenic Roads & Hikes.". San Francisco Peaks Scenic Road. The best part of the San Francisco Peaks Drive is the 14-mile-long unpaved stretch of road, linking Highways 89 and 180. It is on the National Scenic Byway list. Share. Taking in the views of the fall colors at the San Francisco Peaks and surrounding mountains with the drone. The entrance requires scrambling over boulders but then the chamber widens. ... Scenic Drive Sedona to Flagstaff Arizona - Duration: 7:16. View album on Flicker . Red Mountain Trail #159: With Grand Canyon beckoning just up the highway, most folks breeze past Red Mountain with barely a glance. These 9 Beautiful Byways In Arizona Are Perfect For A Scenic Drive. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, call ahead to verify hours, and remember to practice social distancing. The next morning I saw the outline of the San Francisco Peaks. It's all about the city's size: 49 square miles. From the Abineau (#127) and Bear Jaw (#26) trails, on the north slope of the San Francisco Peaks, you can see the Grand Canyon seventy miles away. "Arizona’s Scenic Roads & Hikes" covers all 27 of Arizona’s state-designated scenic and historic roads, along with nearby hiking trails, attractions, activities and suggestions on where to eat and stay. 49 Mile Scenic Drive through San Francisco. © 2020 www.azcentral.com. This road is a state-designated scenic road. The Arizona Snowbowl Road north of Flagstaff makes a winding climb up the mountain slopes full of forest vistas and hiking trails. The San Francisco Peaks (Spanish: Sierra de San Francisco, Navajo: Dookʼoʼoosłííd) are a volcanic mountain range in San Francisco volcanic field in north central Arizona, just north of Flagstaff and a remnant of the former San Francisco Mountain.The highest summit in the range, Humphreys Peak, is the highest point in the state of Arizona at 12,633 feet (3,851 m) in elevation. Before leaving Flagstaff, stop at the Museum of Northern Arizona (M1) which celebrates the Southwest with displays on history, anthropology, archaeology and Native American Art. Designed to show off the city, this 49-mile stretch of road is among the best San Francisco drives. Getting To the Peaks. SF’s historic, 49 mile loop around the City has been reinvented as a walking adventure! While the traffic can be challenging, this wonky loop takes you to San Francisco's most iconic attractions and landmarks. Turn right onto FR 151 and continue 1.6 miles to Forest Road 418. Mileage: The scenic road is 31 miles (Milepost 224 to Milepost 255). Post. It is pretty, but if you want to see … If you want to enjoy one of the best fall color displays in Arizona without the crowds, skip Arizona Snowbowl and head to the north side of the Peaks, where the aspens are plentiful but the leaf-peepers are few and far between. Let friends in your social network know what you are reading about. Mogollon Rim Road Scenic Drive. This scenic drive is a nice way to see more of San Francisco than you can on foot. Length: 49.3-mile loop (from Flagstaff)Directions: From downtown Flagstaff, go northwest on U.S. Route 180 for 19 miles to Forest Road 151. Curving around the northeast side of the Peaks, you’ll pass through ponderosa pine forest and meadows burned clean by the Schultz Fire before hitting a “T” intersection with Forest Road 552. On this trip, ... you can loop back to San Francisco by continuing on 92 to 280 (recommended) or 101 (blech! The steep, challenging hike is just under 10 miles round trip, ending with a lung-squeezing slog across treeless tundra. If you see comments in violation of our community guidelines, please report them. At a Glance. On the northwestern horizon, a glim-mering stripe of white limestone marks the Grand Canyon’s North Rim, serving as a yin to the Peaks’ yang. While widely accepted today, it was a controversial notion when he published his findings in 1890. Don’t travel alone, and let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return.Information: Flagstaff Ranger District, 928-526-0866 or www.fs.usda.gov/coconino, Arizona Highways 2039 W Lewis Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85009 602.712.2200. By the first or second weekend in October, aspen stands on the San Francisco Peaks are golden and glorious. Downtown Flagstaff is filled with historic buildings and is known for its shops, restaurants, bars and microbreweries. | Douglas Koepsel. Housed in a building of volcanic rock, the Pioneer Museum covers a wide range of the region’s past. One of the best of these is the so-called San Francisco Peaks Drive, a 44-mile loop that takes about four hours to complete. No tips and reviews. The road begins to descend and the stately ponderosas give way to a scrubby mix of junipers and pinion pines. Coconino National Forest, FlagstaffBy Annette McGivney. Turn right onto U.S. Route 89 and continue 16 miles back to Flagstaff.Vehicle requirements: A high-clearance vehicle is recommended, but four-wheel-drive is not necessary in good weather.Warning: Back-road travel can be hazardous, so be aware of weather and road conditions. Last, but not least, is the famous 49 Mile Scenic Drive in San Francisco. Continuing on FR 418, the rocky road gives way to smooth gravel as you descend through rolling foothills and continue east, toward the Painted Desert. Do not try to cross a wash flowing with lava. "Boots and Burgers: An Arizona Handbook for Hungry Hikers. Lurking beneath the soft facade is an explosive lava-spewing geological hotspot. ... more than one day to do this drive or combine it with one or more of the other scenic drives in the vicinity of the San Francisco Peaks. The 49-Mile Drive may be one of San Francisco's oldest marketing ploys, created in the early 20th century to show off the city to new drivers. ", "The Amazing Kolb Brothers of Grand Canyon. This road is within the Colorado Plateau Region and is distinguished by remarkable canyons and mountain ranges. I flew across the country from Ohio to attend Northern Arizona University. 1.49 Mile Scenic Drive Through San Francisco Buckle up for an urban adventure on the 49 Mile Scenic Drive in San Francisco. It appears to have its side ripped out, exposing a fancifully eroded internal structure that you can enter (see Hiking). Visit ancient Native American villages, chase Old West legends, and get your kicks on Route 66. This new event is inspired by and made possible thanks to Kristine Poggioli and Carolyn Eidson, authors of Walking San Francisco’s 49 Mile […] After 1.6 miles, you’ll reach a fork where FR 151 bends to the right and Forest Road 418 to the left. Why hike to the highest point in Arizona when you can enjoy the views from your car? Create a lifetime of memories while exploring Arizona’s endlessly diverse and amazing scenery. © Copyright 2020 Arizona Department of Transportation, State of Arizona. Geologists believe it once reached a height of 16,000 feet but continued to blast itself apart. ... more than one day to do this drive or combine it with one or more of the other scenic drives in the vicinity of the San Francisco Peaks. Scenic Drives: There are four designated scenic drives. The rolling White Horse Hills unfold to the north. Kendrick Park Watchable Wildlife Trail: This gentle loop moves from pine forest through open grassland. San Francisco Peaks Scenic Drive. This 235 mile loop takes you through old mining towns, spectacular scenery, and exhilarating twists & turns. You've seen the signs around San Francisco -- a seagull looking over one white shoulder into a blue sky, regal as an eagle, and the words: 49 Mile Scenic Drive. The drive to Snow Bowl takes you through the forest at the base of the San Francisco Peaks and then up to the Snow Bowl area. Aspen leaves carpet a trail high up on the slopes of the San Francisco Peaks north of Flagstaff. "Arizona’s Scenic Roads and Hikes" is available in stores, on Amazon and at https://www.rogernaylor.com. I’m not sure what utter collapse of judgment, what failure of common sense led me down the reckless path to become a desert rat but such is my fate. Snow-capped San Francisco Peaks, Kaibab National Forest and the intense colors of light and shadow stretching across the rocks, buttes, and spires of the Grand Canyon await as this scenic drive explores 2 billion years of the earth’s history. Book your tickets online for San Francisco Peaks, Flagstaff: See 251 reviews, articles, and 73 photos of San Francisco Peaks, ranked No.6 on Tripadvisor among 73 attractions in Flagstaff. Roger Naylor is a long-time Arizona Republic contributor and the author of seven books, including "Arizona State Parks," which won a 2020 New Mexico-Arizona Book Award in the Travel category. Continue 3 miles and turn left on FR 171. Check  https://www.navajo-nsn.gov for the latest information. But no matter how much time I spend sweating among saguaros, Flagstaff always holds a special place in my heart. That way you can take more than one day to do this drive or combine it with one or more of the other scenic drives in the vicinity of the San Francisco Peaks. Drive about 15 miles northeast on US 89 from the center of Flagstaff. This road is within the Colorado Plateau Region and is distinguished by remarkable canyons and mountain ranges. Information for all hiking trails: 928-526-0866, www.fs.usda.gov/coconino. The tallest peak is the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff Passing these gentle giants today become witness hints of its volcanic past. The San Francisco Peaks Scenic Road (U.S. 180) is one of the two primary routes leading from Flagstaff, AZ, to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. It was love at first sight. Turning right will take you up to Lockett Meadow and the Inner Basin Trailhead. Basically just assume every hill and mountain you see along this road were volcanoes or mixed up in volcanic treachery. At a Glance. This loop of state-maintained highways through the San Juan Mountains can be done in your own car and at your own leisure, but be aware that various parts of this beautiful, scenic drive do feature steep drop-offs without guardrails. San Francisco Peaks. The San Francisco Peaks (Spanish: Sierra de San Francisco, Navajo: Dookʼoʼoosłííd) are a volcanic mountain range in San Francisco volcanic field in north central Arizona, just north of Flagstaff and a remnant of the former San Francisco Mountain.The highest summit in the range, Humphreys Peak, is the highest point in the state of Arizona at 12,633 feet (3,851 m) in elevation. But you’ve already found your gold. On a late summer evening I stepped off a tiny plane (pretty sure we dusted crops on the final leg from Denver) and smelled the pine-scented air of Flagstaff. Drive 9 miles north of Flagstaff on U.S. 180 and turn left on Forest Road 245 (at milepost 230). The stunning drives are arranged by region and include starting and ending points, mileage, photos, full descriptions and suggestions on locally owned places to eat and sleep. Dress warm and carry at least two sources of light. Welcome to our new and improved comments, which are for subscribers only. The official drive is only about 31 miles but I suggest taking it all the way to Valle for a complete hour and stop by for a snack. San Francisco Peaks: Beautiful Scenic Drive - See 251 traveler reviews, 73 candid photos, and great deals for Flagstaff, AZ, at Tripadvisor. Several hiking trails branch off from this road as well, including the trek to the top of Humphreys Peak. (Photo: Courtesy of Mike Koopsen). And if hot magma is raining down from the sky, put the top up on the convertible and turn around at the first opportunity. Lava River Cave: Explore one of the most unusual volcanic scars of the area when hiking a nearly mile-long lava tube hidden beneath the ponderosa pines. The amphitheater calls to mind a miniaturized Bryce Canyon bristling with colorful hoodoos. The Museum of Northern Arizona tells the history of the Colorado Plateau, from its geologic creation to the peoples who have populated it. Turn left, and before long, you’ll hit the blacktop of U.S. Route 89 for the drive back to Flagstaff. What follows is an excerpt from one chapter of "Arizona’s Scenic Roads and Hikes." In this guide I feature all 27 of Arizona’s state-designated scenic and historic roads, including five National Scenic Byways. It’s only 25 miles to the park entrance. Flagstaff is the closest major city to the loop, so it’s generally wise to begin your San Francisco Peaks Arizona road trip there. As you make your way up FR 151, you’ll quickly see what you’ve come for: the towering Peaks, dead ahead, with their steep slopes draped in cascades of gold. The 49-Mile Scenic Drive is the quickest and most accessible way to explore San Francisco. The San Francisco volcanic field spreads for 1,800 square miles across the southern quadrant of the Colorado Plateau with the first eruptions occurring six million years ago. If there’s anything we can all agree on, it’s that Arizona has some spectacular scenery. A link has been sent to your friend's email address. Desert View Drive at Grand Canyon National Park offers several outstanding overlooks. Driving northwest from Flagstaff on U.S. Route 180, continue past Snowbowl Road and Arizona Nordic Village to the second turnoff for Forest Road 151, and hang a right. Road. These two trails make a scenic loop through forested canyons. Both end at the Waterline Road (FR 146) along the base of a long talus slope topped by Humphreys Peak, Arizona's highest point. Snowbowl Road makes a winding climb up the slopes to a major ski area, offering multiple runs during winter and a scenic chair lift ride in warmer months. As you enter the wide grasslands of Kendrick Park, glance up the slopes of the peaks and you’ll see the shimmering green of fast-growing aspen saplings filling the place where ponderosa pines once stood. Follow him on Twitter @AZRogerNaylor and keep up with him at https://www.facebook.com/RogerNaylorinAZ. Red Mountain still wears visible scars of its violent past. Look in any general direction and you’re bound to find something that will catch your eye. Twin Peaks San Francisco is the second highest summit in the city. You can expect an impressive display of diversity on a road that travels from Arizona’s highest mountains to its deepest canyon. Fine Art Print - San Francisco Peaks, Arizona Panoramic - scenic colorful photograph, gift ideas present home office wall decor furnishings JManjeotPhotography. (Photo: Courtesy of Mike Koopsen). The Hopis believe their kachina gods dwell within the mountains, and they are one of four sacred mountains to the Navajos forming the boundaries of their homeland. Here's how to get a COVID-19 test at Sky Harbor, Americans flying for Thanksgiving, despite CDC plea, Traveling for Thanksgiving? At 12,633 feet, Humphreys Peak is the highest point in Arizona and also where you’ll find the only alpine tundra in the state. ", "Crazy for the Heat: Arizona Tales of Ghosts, Gumshoes and Bigfoot" (fiction), Phoenix, Mesa airports see brisk traffic for Thanksgiving, Rocky, the owl stuck in Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, is released, Why Frontier is expanding at Sky Harbor during a pandemic, Flying? The San Francisco Peaks have considerable religious significance for several American Indian tribes. A ladder climbs over a stone wall and you’re engulfed in a wonderland of gnawed spires, twisted pillars and contorted walls bubbled with trapped gasses. "Arizona's Scenic Roads & Hikes" by Arizona Republic contributor Roger Naylor details 27 stunning highways and byways with things to do along the way. The Red Mountain Trail north of Flagstaff skirts past colorful hoodoos, twisted pillars and gnawed spires. To the west, Kendrick Mountain, a large lava dome, rises above the forest. The Around the Peaks Loop lasts for 44 gorgeous miles (closed in winter). Map link: U.S. Route 180 The images on this website are copyrighted. Each road trip is paired with attractions and activities including nearby hiking trails. Like many of our scenic drives, this one can be done in either direction. It won a 2020 New Mexico-Arizona Book Award in the Travel category. As of October 2020, the Desert View Watchtower (pictured) is closed due to the new coronavirus pandemic. The San Francisco Peaks are the remnants of a stratovolcano that once rose to a height of 16,000 feet. Follow FR 418 as it meanders through the aspens, with the scree-covered (and sometimes snowcapped) slopes of 12,633-foot Humphreys Peak commanding the southern horizon. The 49-Mile Scenic Drive is a designated scenic road tour highlighting much of San Francisco, California.It was created in 1938 by the San Francisco Down Town Association to showcase the city's major attractions and natural beauty during the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition.. Overview: Passing through thick forests, mountain meadows and sagebrush flats, this road travels along the edge of Arizona’s tallest mountains and provides a major route to Grand Canyon. Our scenic drive begins in Alpine and travels to Hon Dah, the Apache word for “welcome”. San Francisco Peaks: Beautiful Scenic Drive - See 251 traveller reviews, 73 candid photos, and great deals for Flagstaff, AZ, at Tripadvisor. Here are more books by Naylor: Support local journalism. Turn left onto FR 418 and continue 11.1 miles to Forest Road 552. A link has been posted to your Facebook feed. Getting To the Peaks. It’s 74 miles from Flagstaff to Grand Canyon National Park. There are some tight spots but the ceiling often soars dozens of feet overhead. Copying and downloading images from this site is strictly prohibited. Around the Peaks Loop. (Photo: Courtesy of Mike Koopsen). Join us in walking the city’s historic 49 Mile Scenic Drive in chunks over the course of nine months. ... Scenic Drive Sedona to Flagstaff Arizona - Duration: 7:16. "Arizona’s Scenic Roads & Hikes" covers all 27 of Arizona’s state-designated scenic and historic roads, along with nearby hiking trails, attractions, activities and suggestions on where to eat and stay. Here's what to expect at Sky Harbor, Your California Privacy Rights/Privacy Policy. Red Mountain looms to the left, a volcanic cinder cone. There are 163 san francisco peaks for sale on Etsy, and they cost $47.02 on average. Roger Naylor is a long-time Arizona Republic contributor and the author of seven books, including "Arizona State Parks," which won a 2020 New Mexico-Arizona Book Award in the Travel category. In my heart the leaf-peeping san francisco peaks scenic loop drive are so thick there on weekends that parking often! Americans flying for Thanksgiving January 12, 1990, by the Kaibab.! Area on the slopes of the fall colors at the San Francisco Peaks I spend among! 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