Flagstaff Running Trails

Flagstaff Running Trails

Flagstaff, Arizona is a wonderful city, tucked between the pine forests below the peaks of San Francisco Peaks. Famous for its beautiful landscape views, the Lowell Observatory, and its snow swept mountain sides, Flagstaff is also a great place for running.

Whether you’re a visitor to the area or a local wanting to try some new running trails, we have you covered. 

In today’s article, we will be guiding you through some of our favorite and best running trails in and around Flagstaff.

So, strap on those running shoes and get ready for a new adventure!

Best Running Trails In Flagstaff, Arizona

Buffalo Park 

We start our list with the very famous and popular Buffalo Park trail. A stretch of this Flagstaff urban path forms a 2-mile circle around Buffalo Park. Buffalo Park is a big open park on McMillan Mesa.

Although the walk is primarily on wide green grassland, it does descend into a wooded valley, left of the park’s entrance. The hike provides breathtaking views of the San Francisco Peaks, Dry Lake Hills, and Mount Elden, among other peaks.

Buffalo Park is a runner’s dream come true. This loop is simply perfect for a social run or a variety of exercises, and it is even a favorite among US Olympians such as Janet Cherobon-Bawcom.

Quite the advertisement! Furthermore, this trail is just two miles from Flagstaff’s downtown area, so it’s easy to get to when you want.

Schultz Creek Trails 

Our next trail is a single-track route that is a local favorite. It’s the crossroads of the area’s intertwined routes.

If you’re new to this trail, we suggest that you stay around the valley bottom and follow the signage in the area. If not, you could easily get lost

To get here, you need to go from the parking lot, situated below Schultz Pass Road, and then take the Schultz Creek Trail for about four miles up the valley. The trail follows the bed of a ponderosa pine forest watercourse.

You’ll even walk through beautiful rock gardens on your way to the Sunset Trail parking lot. This trail (whether it be for walking, running, or mountain bike riding) is a great alternative.

This is the place to go if you’re seeking for looping ideas or just want to learn more about loops.

Flagstaff Urban Trail System (FUTS)

The FUTS is a network of pathways used by bikes, walkers, runners, hikers, and other users for both enjoyment and transportation.

In Flagstaff, there are just over 50 miles of FUTS trails, but the city has plans for 130 kilometers in the future! Whether you’re a local or a visitor to Flagstaff, chances are you’ll be able to access the FUTS trails within minutes of your home.

Approximately half of the existing trail miles are paved with concrete or asphalt, and the other half have a hard soiled surface. The average width of a FUTS track is eight to ten feet.

FUTS trails offer a wide range of experiences; some run alongside busy roadways, while others travel through lovely natural regions such as canyons, grasslands, luscious green meadows, and tall, domineering forests, all within Flagstaff’s urban area.

Woody Mountain Road

Woody Mountain Road

Woody Mountain Road is a pleasure for any runner, with 32 miles of wide, winding dirt road to enjoy. This trail travels from Flagstaff’s Arboretum to the Mogollon Rim, which gives amazing views of Sedona, which overlook open cattle ranges.

To reach here, travel US Route 66 west toward I-40 west. It’s as simple as following the signs to the Arboretum. Once you come across this trail, you will feel blessed.

The asphalt soon gives way to soil, and you will feel like you’ve entered a new area altogether. About 2 miles down the dirt road from this point is the Arboretum.

If you’re traveling with someone who doesn’t run but wants to see and learn about Flagstaff’s outdoors, this run is great.

Lake Mary Road

For Flagstaff runners, Lake Mary Road is a real gem. The broad shoulder of Lake Mary Road heading south out of Flagstaff is the place to go if you want to put in some miles on a lengthy paved road.

Not to mention the breathtaking environment that surrounds this street.

Want to find it and try this trail for yourself? Lake Mary Road starts near the crossroads of Routes 40 and 17, and continues south for more than 50 miles to Route 87.

However, the best portion of road for running is a 5-mile stretch along the shores of Lake Mary. This begins about 13 miles south of town on the northern side.

Runners will find lots of parking near picnic areas, trailheads, boat launches, and other Flagstaff leisure hotspots.

Downtown Flagstaff/Northern Arizona University Tour

If you prefer to see a bit more hustle and bustle whilst you run, you will certainly love the Northern Arizona University Tour.

This 4-mile route, which includes street art, business districts, and houses, is a wonderful sightseeing tour of downtown Flagstaff and Northern Arizona University.

This is a perfect example of the eclectic scenery you can enjoy when running in Flagstaff. Want to run past rivers? Check! Want to run past mountainous wild areas?

Check! Want to check out some incredible modern architecture and graffiti? Check! You are truly spoiled for choice in Flagstaff! 

Fatmans Loop Trail 

While Fatmans Loop Trail isn’t exactly in Flagstaff, we couldn’t continue our list without mentioning this wonderful trail.

3.86-kilometer of glorious running terrain, this circular trail is located near Flagstaff, Arizona. It takes an average of 1 hour and 21 minutes to accomplish this moderately difficult route.

Because this is a popular hiking, mountain biking, and trail running destination, you’ll very certainly stumble into other people while exploring.

The trail is available all year, but the months of April through November are the greatest for hiking. Dogs are permitted, but they must be kept on a leash.

Old Caves Crater Trail 

We finish our list of running trails with another of Flagstaff’s delights. Whether you want to take a gentle walk or run to your heart’s content, this 5.63-kilometer loop trail has everything you would expect from a running trial in Arizona.

It takes an average of 1 hour 49 minutes to accomplish this moderately difficult route. Because this is a popular destination for hiking, horseback riding, and trail running, you’ll very certainly meet other people while exploring. 

Best of all, the trail is available all year, but the months of March through to November are the finest for hiking. Whilst, dogs are allowed, but they must be kept on a leash.

In Summary 

As you can see from our short list, there are some incredible running trails in Flagstaff. Whether you want to run alone in the wilderness (always tale extra care if so) or you want to join a community of runners, Flagstaff will have you covered.

The running trails we have mentioned above are just a small selection of the many that Flagstaff has to offer. Some of our other favorite trails include:

  • Aspen Nature Lollipop Trail
  • Abineau Trail to Bear Jaw Trail (not as ominous as it sounds!)
  • Lava River Cave
  • Campbell Mesa Loop
  • Kendrick peak Trail 

These are all great spots with busy running communities. Whether you’re a novice runner or vastly experienced, you will find a running trial to suit you in Flagstaff.

Megan Rinzel
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