Fisher Point via Sinclair Wash Mountain Biking

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About

Summary

Bike from Flagstaff to an amazing overlook along the Arizona Trail

Written by

Jesse Weber

Distance

11.5 miles

Roughly 5.75 miles one way from Lone Tree Road to Fisher Point along Sinclair Wash and Arizona Trails

Destination Distance From Downtown

0.8 miles

Difficulty

3 of 5 diamonds

Mostly gradual elevation change, until the final steep climb to Fisher Point

Time To Complete

3 hours

Roughly 3 hours on a mountain bike at average speed for an intermediate rider

Seasonality

All Seasons

All seasons, but trails are often snowy in winter.

Dog Friendly

Yes

Fees Permits

No

Topographical Map

Flagstaff Urban Trails map

Review

Intro

This is a nice long ride that starts next to Northern Arizona University’s campus and ends at one of Flagstaff’s coolest overlooks. It starts out as easy double track, and gets progressively steeper and more technical as you leave the city behind. The final climb to Fisher Point is burly, but worth it for the rewarding view, thrilling downhill, and killer workout. This last part of the trail is only about one mile, and can also be hiked rather than biked. The way is well traveled and mostly follows the Arizona Trail.

What Makes It Great

Fisher Point is a classic Flagstaff destination with various routes that lead to it, but it's going to be work. Getting here requires hiking or biking some distance along a steep incline. Though the Sinclair Wash to Arizona Trail route is not the shortest, it is the most convenient to town and it traverses a variety of fun terrain. On a mountain bike, it can still be completed in two hours or less.

The ride begins on the Flagstaff Urban Trails right where Sinclair Wash joins with Rio de Flag, south of the police station and near Lone Tree Road. Here, gravelly double track ducks into a shallow canyon and meanders among lush foliage and limestone rock walls. It joins the Arizona Trail near some marshy ponds with cattails and ducks.

From here, it takes a short but steep climb and enters open ponderosa forest over rolling terrain. The trail is no longer graveled, but dirt and rock. It gradually narrows to single track. At junctions, follow signs for Arizona Trail and Fisher Point. Eventually you will reach an open field in a canyon confluence, this is the head of Walnut Canyon. Fisher Point is directly above on the apparent high point, but getting to it requires another mile of switchbacks on an obvious side trail.

Who is Going to Love It

If you live on or near campus, this is one of the most convenient trail rides, and just happens to be top notch quality as well. You won’t have to drive to reach the trailhead, just bike a short distance on roads before entering Sinclair Wash. Strong mountain bikers or trail runners will have no problem completing this as an afternoon out and back. Beginners may want to allow four hours or more. If you have a whole day, you may want to spend extra time exploring the sandstone caves in Walnut Canyon or venturing up the arm of the canyon that leads to Priest Draw.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

You can access the Sinclair Wash Urban Trail from NAU’s South Campus where it parallels McConnell Drive, or where it crosses Lone Tree Road at the intersection with Paseo del Rio. You can also hop onto it from Sawmill County Park, next to the police station on Sawmill Road. If you are driving to the trailhead, you can park at Sawmill County Park or in a gravel lot at the end of S Elden Street.

This is a multi-use trail that is open to hikers and bikers. You may even encounter horseback riders on the Arizona Trail. Keep dogs on a leash and follow proper trail etiquette when passing other users.

Location

Fisher Point via Sinclair Wash

AZ,
35.186574, -111.64642

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