This fast single track is one of the most popular trails in Flagstaff, among riders of all abilities. It is a short drive from downtown, and although the ride is only 4 miles one way, it connects to much more terrain in the surrounding hills. There is some elevation gain, but hardly noticeable as you cruise over rollers and banks the whole way. Pines, spruce, and aspen keep the route shady and cool all summer, and it often stays snowy in winter for snowshoeing and fat biking. This makes a great after work or school ride, or a longer outing if you link it with other trails.
What Makes It Great
This trail is fun. Ups and downs, weaves and bobs, dips and hops deal smiles the whole way. It is typically done as an 8-mile out and back from Schultz Creek Trailhead to Schultz Tank, but you can make longer and more challenging loops with Sunset, Brookbank, or Rocky Ridge trails. Schultz Creek Trail parallels Schultz Pass Road, but stays far enough into the woods, on the other side of the creek, that you will hardly notice if cars drive by.
The trail runs alongside Schultz Creek, which rarely flows with water, but tall grass, ferns, and wildflowers still give the impression of a carpeted streamside. Conifer trees form the canopy of this verdant valley. You may see deer, elk, or even more secretive critters like foxes and coyotes. The Mexican Spotted Owl, a well-known threatened species, lives in this intact forest. It is all within Schultz Pass, between the Dry Lake Hills and the towering San Francisco Peaks. Because it is tucked away on the landscape and rather high elevation, it holds snow for much of the winter. This opens up a whole new range of trail travel.
Who is Going to Love It
Everyone, regardless of skill level, rides this trail. Beginners can build basic skills on pumpy berms and banked turns. Experts can push themselves to go fast. be sure to watch out for others and observe trail etiquette because the direction is two-way and it’s a multi-use trail. Hikers, runners, and horseback riders can enjoy this trail as well. Skiers, snowshoers, and fat bikers take over when it snows. Schultz Pass Road may be closed in winter, however, requiring some extra distance to enter from the gate.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From downtown Flagstaff, take Humphreys St north, then turn at the light onto US-180/North Fort Valley Road. Continue 2.5 miles to the traffic light intersection with Schultz Pass Road, and turn right. Soon this road will fork, keep left. It turns to gravel shortly before a gate, and the parking is down the hill to the right just beyond the gate. This is less than a mile into Schultz Pass Rd.
The parking area at Schultz Tank, on the opposite end of the trail, is 4.5 miles further up the road. This is also the trailhead for Weatherford Trail.
There is no fee to access the trails here, and bikes are allowed everywhere except in the wilderness area that Weatherford Trail accesses.