Backpacking the Amazing Arizona Trail: Schultz Pass to the Dry Lake Hills (Passage 33, Flagstaff)

In the land of Arizona
Through desert heat or snow
Winds a trail for folks to follow
From Utah to Old Mexico

It’s the Arizona Trail
A pathway through the great Southwest
A diverse track through wood and stone
Your spirit it will test

Oh, sure you’ll sweat and blister
You’ll feel the miles every day
You’ll shiver at the loneliness
Your feet and seat will pay

But you’ll see moonlight on the borderlands
You’ll see stars on the Mogollon
You’ll feel the warmth of winter sun
And be thrilled straight through to bone

The aches and pains will fade away
You’ll feel renewed and whole
You’ll never be the same again
With Arizona in your soul

Along the Arizona Trail
A reverence and peace you’ll know
Through deserts, canyons, and mountains
From Utah to Old Mexico

“The Arizona Trail,” Dale R Shewalter

Today, day 22 on the AZT and 28 overall, takes me down the entirety of Passage 33 into Flagstaff. I leave my camp here and hike into town in order to resupply and visit a friend, then I plan to continue on the main Arizona Trail route around Flagstaff to east, possibly using the town as a base so I don’t have to carry as much weight as I do so, until I reach the south side of the town and continue south toward Mormon Lake.

The day starts among the towering ponderosas of the lower slopes of the San Francisco Peaks, around 7500 ft in elevation. I know I’ve said this before, by I do love ponderosas – they have an incredible vanilla/butterscotch aroma, a great way to start a visit to any park or forest that have them, After a short distance, the trail splits. The main Arizona Trail – my route for the future day – heads left towards Schultz Pass between the Peaks and Dry Lake Hills. I take the trail to the right, which quickly drops past more gambel oaks in peak foliage, along with some more aspens as well. The trail crosses the road and turns to the southwest along a creekbed running through the pass. Hiking on, there’s a low foundation made of concrete visible along the trail after a moderate distance. No marker for what it was, but there is a sign regarding the Antiquities Act nearby, encouraging visitors to protect their American heritage by not disturbing archeological sites nearby. Perhaps the foundation is one of those? It would be nice to have some kind of interpretive sign here regarding the significance of the site, and why the foundation has obviously been left as a reminder of whatever used to be here.

Heading out through the ponderosa forest of the San Francisco Peaks
Arizona Trail (Passage 34, San Francisco Peaks)
Coconino National Forest
Aspens along the Arizona Trail hiking in Schultz Pass
Arizona Trail (Passage 33, Flagstaff)
Coconino National Forest
AZT backpacking in Schultz Pass
Arizona Trail (Passage 33, Flagstaff)
Coconino National Forest
AZT hiking in Schultz Pass
Arizona Trail (Passage 33, Flagstaff)
Coconino National Forest
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AZT backpacking in Schultz Pass
Arizona Trail (Passage 33, Flagstaff)
Coconino National Forest
AZT hiking in Schultz Pass
Arizona Trail (Passage 33, Flagstaff)
Coconino National Forest
AZT backpacking in Schultz Pass
Arizona Trail (Passage 33, Flagstaff)
Coconino National Forest
AZT hiking in Schultz Pass
Arizona Trail (Passage 33, Flagstaff)
Coconino National Forest
AZT backpacking in Schultz Pass
Arizona Trail (Passage 33, Flagstaff)
Coconino National Forest
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AZT backpacking in Schultz Pass
Arizona Trail (Passage 33, Flagstaff)
Coconino National Forest
AZT hiking in Schultz Pass
Arizona Trail (Passage 33, Flagstaff)
Coconino National Forest
AZT backpacking in Schultz Pass
Arizona Trail (Passage 33, Flagstaff)
Coconino National Forest
Hiking the AZT in Schultz Pass
Arizona Trail (Passage 33, Flagstaff)
Coconino National Forest
Backpacking the AZT in Schultz Pass
Arizona Trail (Passage 33, Flagstaff)
Coconino National Forest
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Hiking the AZT in Schultz Pass
Arizona Trail (Passage 33, Flagstaff)
Coconino National Forest
Antiquities Act resources along the Arizona Trail in Schultz Pass
Arizona Trail (Passage 33, Flagstaff
Coconino National Forest

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Backpacking the Amazing Arizona Trail – Pine Mountain (Passage 21), FR 422 to Pigeon Spring Trailhead

Backpacking the Arizona Trail’s Saddle Mountain Passage from near Saddle Mountain to Sycamore Creek at the start of the Pine Mountain passage. More magnificent Arizona mountain views of the central Mazatzal peaks and ridgelines, and a gorgeous Arizona sunset.

Logistics, trail journal, and magnificent mountain scenery.

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Backpacking the Arizona Trail, Day 51: Mazatzal Divide (Passage 23), Part II

Disruptive event today, an F-16 that flew over while I was packing. It flew extremely low and around a mountain – possibly North Peak – and made me think very seriously about why that would be allowed over a designated wilderness area. Still, I manage to knock out a few miles to Chilson Spring before dark, with spectacular views of Deadman’s Canyon, the Verde Valley, and the western Mazatzal foothills along the way. The mountains are jagged and rugged and the trail traces steep slopes nearly the whole way across precipitous terrain.

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Passage 33 (Flagstaff)
Trail SurfaceDirt singletrack
Length (Mi)15.5
SeasonApril-October. Snow can be significant in winter.
Potential Water SourcesN/A
TrailheadsNorth: Schultz Pass
South: Fisher Point
Trailhead AccessNorth: Grade dirt/gravel road
South: Foot/bike access
WildernessNo
Possible resupply pointsFlagstaff
ATA-Rated DifficultyModerate (south end is easier)
Potential campsites (mileages S to N)N/A
Ecosystems TraversedRocky Mountain Montane Conifer Woodland
Sites of InterestHistoric Flagstaff
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Rocky Mountain Montane Conifer Woodland
Common Trees/Shrubs* Ponderosa Pine
* Southwestern white pine
* Subalpine fir
* White fir
* Rocky Mountain maple
* Bigtooth maple
* Grey alder
* Red birch
* Red osier dogwood
* Cliffbush
* Mallow ninebark
* New Mexican locust
* huckleberry
* bilberries



Common herbaceous plants* fringed brome
* Geyer’s sedge/elk sedge
* Ross’ sedge
* Bronze sedge/dry land sedge/hillside sedge/hay sedge/Fernald’s hay sedge
* screwleaf muhly
* bluebunch wheatgrass
* Spruce-fir fleabane
* wild strawberry/Virginia strawberry
* Small-flowered woodrush
* mountain sweet Cicely
* bittercress ragwort
* western meadow-rue
* Fendler’s meadow-rue
Passage 31 & 33 Ecology (source: Arizona Trail Association AZT Guide & NatureServe). Only California and Texas are more diverse ecologically than Arizona.
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