This long stretch of Flagstaff's Urban Trail network passes through some surprisingly beautiful scenery within the City of Flagstaff and Northern Arizona University. The level gravel surface makes for easy cycling with any type of bicycle, as long as it has tires with good tread. Walking and running are great ways to experience it as well. There are a variety of access points that allow for rides of varying distance and scenery, as well as connections with many other trails. This allows for a customizable outing, whether a leisurely family stroll or an endurance bike ride.
What Makes It Great
Flagstaff has more than 50 miles of path in its extensive Urban Trail System (FUTS), and Sinclair Wash is the single longest trail in the network. It spans 5.7 miles from Fort Tuthill County Park to a junction with the Arizona Trail in East Flagstaff. Along the way, it passes through an impressive plethora of scenery--forests, fields, and canyons that will make you forget you are actually within city limits. The route more or less follows Sinclair Wash, which is a tributary of Rio de Flag.
Shady pine forest characterizes the southern end of the trail at Fort Tuthill before it opens to patchy meadows with summer wildflowers. It then enters a decidedly urban setting in the Woodlands Village commercial area, but quickly passes through this and beneath I-17 into a quiet corridor across Northern Arizona’s South Campus. From here, it climbs a brief hill before dropping back down to the Rio de Flag in a peaceful canyon. Among the greenery and limestone walls, the city quickly vanishes from sight and mind. The final stretch of trail passes some seasonal ponds that attract ducks and herons, then ends at an intersection with the Arizona Trail near I-40 and the water reclamation plant.
Who is Going to Love It
Families with children will appreciate this trail for its ease, accessibility, and scenery. Cyclists and runners like it for the same reasons, and that it connects to so many additional routes in the trail network. Sinclair Wash crosses several roads, so there are multiple places from which to start if you wish to do only a section of the full trail. One notable connecting trail is Ponderosa Trail, which leads to High Country Trail and Flagstaff Airport. Another is Lone Tree Trail, which accesses Coconino Community College. A third is the Arizona Trail, which continues north toward Buffalo Park or south to Fisher Point.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
This is a multi-use trail for bikers, walkers, runners, and dogs. Be courteous to others and yield to pedestrians. There are many places you can access the trail, but a few spots are best for easily parking. To begin from the end of the trail at Fort Tuthill County Park, start from the corner of the parking lot near the mountain bike park and follow signs for Sinclair Wash Trail. For the section through NAU’s campus, park at Walmart on Woodlands Village Blvd or in the large NAU lot next to the interstate. For the easternmost segment of trail, park at Sawmill County Park near the Willow Bend Environmental Education Center.