Although school has started for human kids, summer temps continue here in the desert not fit for man or beast! My family and I decided to hit higher ground and took off for Flagstaff, Arizona. With an elevation of just under 7,000 feet, Flagstaff is the gateway to the San Francisco Peaks, the tallest mountains in Arizona. Flagstaff is located in northern Arizona and has a population around 70,000 humans. I don’t know how many dogs they have, but I saw a ton of them! Woof! Flagstaff is very friendly to my kind with many restaurants welcoming us. Good humans.
Flagstaff is full of parks and trail systems that connect. Be sure to visit Buffalo Park while in town. It has a two-mile easy loop that is perfect for an evening stroll. Thorpe Park has what they call a Bark Park, a fenced area where dogs can run free. I made an appearance and made the rounds. For a bigger adventure, we chose to hike Sandy’s Canyon to Walnut Canyon. We took Lake Mary Road 5.5 miles to the Canyon Vista Campground sign on our left and turned toward the camp ground. Parking just outside the camp ground is free, and it is a short walk to the trail head. My humans thought the signs were a bit confusing. You’ll have several options to choose from with easy and short to moderate and long. In my opinion, they all smelled great! Woof! Sandy’s Canyon to Walnut Canyon is a 7.2 mile hike (out and back), or you could hike to the top of Fisher’s Point, shorter but steeper.
We chose Sandy’s Canyon to Walnut Canyon, a scenic trail through mountain meadows, lush canyons, cool tree-covered ridges, and cool caves. We were immediately greeted with a view of the San Francisco Peaks. How inspiring! The trail starts at the top of the canyon and meanders down. However far you go, remember you will need to hike back out. Bring plenty of water as the streams will most likely be dry unless you hike right after a rain storm.
The trail has plenty of shade, but it also has some hot spots. I needed to rest a couple of times. Oofda. I am still getting used to the desert heat. Even though we were at high elevations, the temps were still in the 80s. Humans need to look out for their pups. My dad gave me plenty of water from his Camelbak, which he filled with lots of ice to keep it cold. What a good daddy! I stayed hydrated, and downward we went into Sandy’s Canyon on a rocky but relatively easy trail.
Sandy’s Canyon connects with the path to Walnut Canyon, a protected area. The trail narrows, and the grasses get really tall. This is a great place to have lunch and watch for wildlife. Several caves are carved out of the canyon walls, and they make a nice resting spot. The caves were at least 10 degrees cooler. Ahhhh!
After a nice picnic lunch in Walnut Canyon and some cave exploring, we headed back up. The trail isn’t super steep but will be a challenge for your dog with higher temps. Go slow with plenty of water and rest breaks. Between meadows, mountain fields, and canyons, the scenery keeps you motivated. Oh the smells! A lovely breeze was blowing all sorts of scents my way. Woof!
We had a great hike and met many others enjoying the trail. Afterwards, we headed to the Wildflower Bread Company on Piccadilly for a nice meal. They have a dedicated doggy patio in the shade with water bowls. I was fed salmon. Yes, life is good! Flagstaff gets high marks, and I hope you’ll give it a try and head to the hills.
Hi! I am Kumaito (Kuma for short), a multi-tan Shiba Inu. My breed is one of the oldest and purest from Japan. I personally was born in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, moved to Friendswood, Texas, and now call Phoenix, Arizona home. I enjoy running almost every day with my mom, chasing rabbits out of my neighborhood, playing with toys, pestering my brother Edmond, eating, napping … well, I love just about everything and everyone!
My mom, Lorraine Bossé-Smith (Founder of the FIT Leader Formula) is kind enough to help me with my blog where I share my Great Adventures, big and small. My mom is a motivational speaker, corporate trainer, business consultant, executive coach, behavioral-wellness expert, and author of eight published books. More importantly, she’s the best doggy mom ever!
Be sure to visit me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Kumathedog?ref=hl
Get outside! You never know what you’ll discover, and our paths just might cross. Happy tails!