In a city brimming with extensive trail networks, Flagstaff offers more routes than one could ever imagine. This particular loop around Buffalo Park is a 6-mile route packed with technical features and interesting terrains, making it a must-ride trail for anyone in Flagstaff. From thrilling descents to challenging climbs, it serves up just about everything an intermediate-level cyclist could ask for.
Key Trail Details
- Distance: 6 miles
- Level: Intermediate
- Route Type: Loop
- City: Flagstaff
- State: Arizona
How to Get There
Navigating from Route 66 in downtown Flagstaff, turn north onto San Francisco Street, leading past the hospital to Forest Avenue. Take a right, and within less than a mile, follow the signs leading to Buffalo Park's trailhead.
Riding the Buffalo Park Loop
- Initial Terrain: Starting at Buffalo Park, the trail is smooth and easy. Head north until the terrain changes, becoming rockier as you approach a descent.
- Easy Oldham vs. Lower Oldham: At the base of this descent, a 'Y' split allows riders to choose between two trails. Easy Oldham to the left offers a smoother ascent with around 500 feet of elevation gain. Meanwhile, taking the right onto Lower Oldham Trail provides a steeper, more technical climb extending almost three miles.
- Finishing the Loop: Both trails eventually meet at Forest Service Road 557. From there, it's about 0.8 miles on Rocky Ridge Trail to complete the loop. Choose either route back to the original Y near Buffalo Park.
Scenery and Atmosphere
- Lava Flows of Mount Elden: The trail offers a close-up view of Mount Elden's ancient lava flows, adding an educational aspect to the ride.
- Extendable Routes: For those looking for more, this route can be extended for longer rides.
- Acclimatization: Flagstaff's elevation is around 7,000 feet. If you're accustomed to lower altitudes, allow a day for acclimatization.
- Technical Skills: This trail features some must-ride technical sections. If technical play is your forte, then don't overlook this trail.
- Navigation: Despite the abundance of trails, the main ones are well-marked. A map may not include all trails, but if you stick to the main, well-signed paths, navigation should be a breeze.
The Buffalo Park Loop is an ideal blend of scenic beauty and challenging features, encapsulating the best of what Flagstaff has to offer for intermediate cyclists. Whether you're into climbing, descents, or technical play, this loop ensures you'll get a bit of everything, all while enjoying the unique backdrop of Flagstaff's natural beauty.