Coconino National Forest Camping and Hikes

The weather has cooled enough to allow us to venture outside for days at a time ☺. So, we decided to head up North a bit to the Sedona and Flagstaff areas of Arizona.

We set up camp at Cave Springs campground. It is the northern most campground in what is considered Oak Creek Canyon. This is probably not a spot that we will return to. We had not reserved and were fighting full camps due to area schools being on “fall break”. We did however manage to find a pretty nice site with a mountainy backdrop and have a great time in an otherwise blah campground.

The grounds were completely open making it impossible to avoid inviting other campers to see every aspect of your camping experience. This is not an exaggeration, and has nothing to do with the local vegetation as we later found on our hikes. Radios were also not allowed, but generators were okay to loudly hum away. A radio is an essential element to camping, especially when you already spent close to thirty dollars on eight C batteries at a last stop gas station.

And then the skunks came. We either encountered the same one on six separate occasions or, and this is quite possible, the grounds were overrun. I wasn’t scared of them per se, but I vividly remember a skunking that occurred with our pooch Floyd while in Philadelphia. Bathing a dog in tomato juice is not as much fun as you might think. At one point I returned to our site to find my slight intoxicated bf on guard with a handful of small rocks attempting to maintain the boundary to our homestead. I will just say that our bedtime was much earlier than our typical camping adventures due to the invasion.

West Fork Hike

This was our first “real” hike in AZ. The ranger at the visitor center suggested it, and it was only five miles from our campground.
Details: about seven miles, elevation gain 100 ft
Pros: Beautifully well kept trail that crisscrossed the river, red rock walls and cliffs surrounding hike
Cons: Ridiculously populated, 10 dollar fee that is not covered in the 20 dollar Red Rock National Forest Pass

“Devil’s Bridge” Hike

Details: Quick 1.6 mile round trip hike/climb, 400 feet elevation gain
Pros: Absolutely beautiful surrounding views and rock walls, fun climb portion
Cons: Crazy un-maintained road leading to trail, unmarked trails, quite possible that we weren’t even in the right spot

Fay Canyon Hike

Details: About 3 miles round trip, 95 feet elevation gain
Pros: Well maintained trail, Parking area with actual trailhead, easy walk
Cons: Little busy, retired couple seriously spending “quality time” on what they thought was an un-traveled portion.

Humphrey’s Peak Hike

Details: Whew…quite a hike! About 9 miles round trip with 3,300 feet elevation gain. North of Flagstaff.
Pros: Absolutely breath taking views, well maintained trail for most of the way, snow for thirsty pets, lots of rocks and trees available for breaks
Cons: Drinking vodka the night before. Don’t be fooled by the Gatorade mixer ☺


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