This 5.5-mile loop around Fort Tuthill County Park is perfect for an afternoon trail run or easy mountain bike ride. It is a mix of single and double track on rolling hills through the forest. Other trails intersect with it, offering options for longer or shorter routes. The park is just a short drive from town along I-17, and is also connected with the Flagstaff Urban Trail System for access by foot or bicycle. Other attractions in Fort Tuthill include a high ropes course, mountain bike park, equestrian obstacle courses.
What Makes It Great
Located just a few miles south of Flagstaff is Fort Tuthill County Park with multi-use trails, fairgrounds, horse stables, ropes course, mountain bike park, and an outdoor gear shop. The trail system gets year-round use from hikers, runners, bikers, horses, and winter use from skiers and fat bikers.
Of the three main trails, Soldier’s Trail is the longest and most varied. It is a loop that circumnavigates the park. Bridge Trail makes a short cut across part of this loop, and Highland Trail makes an additional 3.8 loop on tougher terrain. Soldier’s Trail has some rocky spots and some short steep sections, but is generally beginner-friendly. The well-traveled path that leads north from the parking lot and crosses Soldier’s Trail is Sinclair Wash Trail, part of the Flagstaff Urban Trail System that leads toward Woodlands Village and Northern Arizona University.
The scenery along Soldier’s is classic Northern Arizona ponderosa forest, with some brief views over the plateau to the southwest. In summer there are lush ferns and colorful wildflowers along parts of the trail. At any time of year, you may get lucky by spotting wild turkeys, deer, or elk grazing nearby.
Who is Going to Love It
Fort Tuthill is a popular destination for Flagstaffians because of its proximity and variety of family-friendly activities. Though some attractions cost money, the trails are always accessible and always free. For runners, Soldier’s Trail is not overly strenuous but still moderately challenging because of its length. Beginner mountain bikers and families with children can enjoy skill-building rides. Casual hikers can take a leisurely stroll on parts of Soldier’s Trail and other paths in the park. Anyone looking for more mileage can add on the Highlands Trail loop or take the Sinclair Wash Trail toward Flagstaff.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
To get to Fort Tuthill County Park, take I-17 S from Flagstaff and get off at exit 337. Turn right, then continue straight through the roundabout and into the park. Follow the road to the main parking area north of the fairgrounds, near the Extreme Adventure ropes course. To access Soldier’s Trail, either backtrack along the road to where the trail crosses (shorter) or take the Sinclair Wash Trail directly north out of the parking lot until it intersects with Soldier’s Trail (longer). Take a minute to look at the trail map posted next to the parking lot if you are confused about where to go. Once on the trail, it is well marked and easy to follow.