Flagstaff is peppered with hidden gems, secret running trails, discrete canyons and long dirt roads. We love the solitariness that comes with those hidden gems and as your local outdoor store, we don’t plan on revealing your favorite spots.
However, we do love the idea of making the outdoors accessible to all people! With the goal of better understanding the beautiful and unique place we live, Peace Surplus employees have agreed to share some of our favorite and well known Northern Arizona gems. So if you’re wondering where your next day trip should be, keep reading!
Tonto Natural Bridge State Park
Anaiis, and April, both Peace Surplus Apparel and Footwear Buyers, both recently visited Tonto Natural Bridge State Park! It’s a quick hour and a half drive from Flagstaff. A 1.5 mile trail will take you to what is believed to be the largest natural travertine bridge in the world. “It’s the best of both worlds,” says Anaiis, “It’s a beautiful scene to take in and not something you see everyday, especially in Arizona! I felt like I was in the lagoon in Peter Pan, waiting for the mermaids to swim up! So cool and fun for everyone!”
“It’s not really a crowded area,” says April, “the hike takes you down into a lagoon, and is a little challenging, but when you arrive inside the cave that is the land bridge, it is worth scrambling over rocks. You feel like you are in a secret place that not really many people know about.” You can learn more about the state park here.
Snowbowl Sunset Gondola
Kim, our long time Peace Surplus Buyer, recently rode the Snowbowl gondola to watch the sunset at 11,500 feet! You can grab a drink of choice, hop on the gondola 15-30 minutes before sunset and take a leisurely, beautiful ride to the top of the ski resort. Once at the top, there’s plenty of space to spread out and enjoy the views from the San Francisco Peaks. You can even see the Grand Canyon on a clear day, according to Snowbowl.
Sounds like a mountain town dream, right? Make sure to buy your tickets ahead of time for a discounted rate! Learn more about taking a ride here.
Alyson, a Peace Surplus Receiver, took a trip to Horseshoe Bend this year and was impressed with the popular spot’s beauty. “There’s a reason places like this are so popular,” said Alyson. Located two hours North of Flagstaff in Page, Horseshoe Bend is a spectacular wrapping of the Colorado River around a large pillar of beautiful red and orange rock. With just a short walk to the viewpoint, it’s a rewarding trip. If you’re looking to take your trip to the next level, a company called Wilderness River Adventures offers a half-day boat trip on the section of the Colorado River that runs through Horseshoe bend!
Kendrick Park Watchable Wildlife Trail
Anna, another Peace Surplus Receiver, recommends Kendrick Park Watchable Wildlife Trail, a wheelchair accessible trail that is great for families. “There are two trails, one is a short loop and paved, and the longer loop is unpaved but still flat and an easy hike,” says Anna. The trails have educational opportunities along the way about local animal life, forest and grassland vegetation, wildfire occurrences, historic presence of humans and more!
West Fork of Oak Creek Trail
Mallory, a Sales Associate at Peace, recommends the West Fork of Oak Creek Trail in Sedona. Because this trail is in the northern part of Oak Creek, it’s only 30 minutes from downtown Flagstaff. This popular trail takes you on a flat meander next to the West Fork of Oak Creek, so it’s perfect to cool off in the heat of summer. It’s also a popular fall destination as the trial is in the Coconino National Forest and has beautiful fall foliage. This out and back trail allows you to take a short hike, or hike all day! If you continued for the entire length of the 14 mile one-way trail (a very long day!), you’d hike through Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness and have to spend a lot of the hike in the stream or hopping across borders! Most families walk a short but rewarding distance before turning around. Plan your adventure here.
Bell Rock Trail in Sedona
Jade, the Peace Surplus Sales Floor Lead and Admin Assistant, recommends the Bell Rock Trail in Sedona. “The trail is fairly easy, requires some light scrambling up Bell Rock and has a beautiful view of Sedona,” says Jade. The Bell Rock trail is located at the same trailhead as Courthouse Butte, another iconic Sedona destination. The loop around courthouse butte is 4 light miles and is located in the heart of Sedona’s red rock landscape. Learn more about both trails here.
Where Will You Go Next?
Getting some sunshine and discovering a new favorite spot is a recipe for a good day. We hope you try one of these beautiful locations before summer is over! And before you head there, make sure you know the Leave No Trace Principles!